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Make graceful and lasting change

Three person scenes

Cindy Tonkin - July 31, 2008

Thank god for air conditioned buses!!

This photo is two people giving their beautifully maintained collie a drink from the bubbler in Lincoln Park. The dog was just so well cared for, its fur just floated!

Afternoon warm up: Play 30 secs of music, walk around while it’s playing, take physicality emotion or point of view from the music (from Enya to ACDC via Mozart).

To prevent over-emotional scenes or prevent emotions from escalating too quickly, do some object work/interact with the environment.

Our exercises this afternoon focused on 3 person scenes. Basically at the end of the course our group of now 14 (one left last Friday) does a 30 minute show. So Shad figured it was an important thing to teach 3 person scene.

So ideas for working 3 person scenes:

Using environment
– 1st one on defines the environment with a generic object (eg oven)
– 2nd personalises the environment (my favourite mug, the curly straw)
– 3rd highlights an emotional trigger in the environment (our anniversary photo, my mother’s china)

Using energy matching:
3 people use the same energy (Alex called these parallel characters)

Another one not named:
– 1 gives out some info about their character which makes them vulnerable
– 2 “assists their pain” and agrees that they are right to be concerned about this
– 3 plays in the environment and chips in occasionally to heighten 1’s anxiety or agree with 2
– the 1 2 3 can shift through the scene

Using the “buddy up” method
– 2 person scene
– 3rd player “buddies up” with one of the players (so the 2 of them become a single parallel character)

Using a swinging door:
– 1 and 2 in a scene
– 3 talks to the back of 2
– 2 stops conversation with 1, turns to talk to 3 (1 freezes)
– then 2 talks to 1’s back and 3 freezes…
Can be initiated by 2 as well (you can “swing your own door” – most effective when you do this half way through a thought or sentence)

In improv we should never resolve a problem, we should assist the pain

And a Del Close one via Shad who never met Del Close:
If ever you are in doubt of confused or have to make a decision in a scene, just fall down. By the time you get up you will have decided what to do next.

My thoughts: I’m wondering what an opera would be like where the rest of the cast did parallel charcter support singing – essentially each scene would be 2 person scene, and the chorus could just support that by mirroring their gesture, physicality, singing along?? Don’t know how or whether it would work. But it would be fun to try!!

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