Sixth Class, Level 2 – the Chicken and the Atom Bomb

Turning into an odd week, theatre-wise…I ended up missing a show I’d been planning on last night, and may end up missing another one (at least for this week) tomorrow night.  With all apologies, but I just found out the freaking ZOOBOMBS are hitting the Dominion tomorrow night.  Oh yea…I’m hitting that.

But still not giving up on my raison d’etre, no sir…After all, today was wednesday, my OSSD acting class day, and consequently my fav’rit day of the week.  After a fine day of buying discount Doctor Who dvd’s and Secret-Fringe-Projecting (nothing to see here, move along…), I moseyed on over to Picton Ave. for this week’s installment.  And I admit right off to one spot of concern…Catherine mentioned last week that she’d be missing this class AND next week for a vacation.  And that makes me sad, because…well, I dig ALL my cohorts and all, but…but Catherine’s my GIRL, y’know?  She’s just terribly, terribly awesome, and I love her to bits, and it makes me sad she won’t be here for two whole weeks.  There. I said it.

Moving on!  As class was about to begin it looked for a few minutes like Stefan and me were the only ones willing to brave the modest snowfall that had started up, but another five showed up just after 7 (Sasha, Vanessa, Julie, Daria and Rachel) and we were on our way.  With a slow, steady intro indeed from Big Cheese Brie Barker, involving us all telling him our fav’rit Authours (I went with Tom Robbins, tho Grant Morrison or Robert Anton Wilson might have been more honest), we got things underway.

First we warmed up with another game of keeping-the-ball-in-the-air, this time with a real honest to gosh ball, which it turns out only makes Sasha that much more dangerous (no, Sasha, NO!).  We all emerged unscathed happily, and moved on to a new thing, which was one of the next two things I’m about to mention.  Sorry, sometimes the exact order of things eludes my enfeebled memory.  What I DO remember is Brie telling us all to act like chickens.  Just that, just BE chickens.  And that an atom bomb was going off in one minute.  Seriously, if you DON’T get instructions like this from your teacher..?  You’re in the wrong course.  Trust me.

After (or possibly before) the Chicken experiment, we hit a personal geek-squee high for me in this semester.  We played an Improv game Brie called ‘Should Have Said’, but that I recognized as ‘New Choice’ from several of my recent visitations to CRUSH IMPROV at the Elmdale.  Finally, I would get to try one of the games I’d actually seen on stage, by the likes of Brad McNeil, Cari Leslie, Tim Anderson..!  Intimidating, but I was eager to give it my best go.  Myself and Stefan stepped up first and got into it as a Bank Teller and customer, and I dare say we acquitted ourselves pretty well.  I called an imaginary manager over, Stefan asked me for my phone number, and people seemed to be laughing not completely in a pitying manner.  Thumbs up.

The Coach bade us then get into character, the ones we’ve been slowly building over the course of the semester, whilst he reset the room for a new twist.  We did so, and had the highlight of the class when Sasha saw her reflection in a mirror and TOTALLY freaked out.  It was seriously awesome.  Thanks, Sasha.  You’re a trooper.

As poor Sasha recovered from her fright, Brie finished his work, resetting the classroom into a makeshift Starbucks set.  We were all to simply enter, order, and mill about as regular customers…but in our characters.  After all these weeks, we were finaly going to set about the business of simply being our characters.  Also, I think, known as acting.  Which, as a lot of the readers of this blog already know, is harder than it looks.  My turn to find out.

I struggled more than a bit, I’ll admit…trying to keep my guy ‘centered’ in the head is messing with me.  Sometimes he comes off as intellectual, other times neurotic, and I’m not sure I’m really ‘getting’ him at all, at all.  And getting the ‘talks loud and fast’ bit down without coming off as cartoony is tricky too.  I keep having to remind myself that loud does not mean shouting, and fast doesn’t mean Blurr from Transformers.

Blue isn't even my colour...!

Once Starbucks closed, we came back for a final set of scenes, done in twos.  I started off (I notice I’m volunteering to go up more and more), and Brie walked the both of us through a scenario, music and all, each of us occupying one half of the stage.  They were perfectly ordinary scenes…Myself and Daria started hings off with a waking-up scene, making coffee, having cereal, staring out the window.  On the surface, it’s not the stuff legends are made of, but God is in the details, folks.  And that’s what we were doing…the details.  the everyday, ordinary blah that makes up the entity known as YOU.  Or, in this case, our characters.

We had an uneven number of participants in class today, so I jumped in for a second go-round at the end, because why the Hell not?  Sasha and I finished the excercize as our characters playing hooky from work (and a little online chess), before downing some wine, cleaning the window, and…and the fact that it sounds so boring was exactly the fucking challenge.  And even though I had a tremendous amount of fun with it, and could have carried on all night with these scenes, I’m really not sure I’m DOING it right. Do you ever..?  Don’t answer that.

We ended with a super-special assignment, carried out before we left..the act of actually NAMING our characters, done by secret ballots handed right to Brie.  We’re sworn to secrecy for now, so I can’t tell you what I came up with for my guy yet, but let’s hope it works out.  I’d like to get to know him.  Maybe next week.  And UNTIL that time, I hope you lot will wish me luck in finding out what whatsisname is, in fact, all about.  Shit, I hope he’s cool.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

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