January 29, 2017

Acting sessions - Bengaluru SHG - 29/01/2017

(We couldnt meet on 28th because of my personal engagement somewhere else)

1) The session started at 8:30. Initially only three of us were there and soon we were joined by the other two. The first four routine exercises:
  • Warm-up: Warming up your body by doing short and small exercises.
  • Voice exercises: As Nishil was new to this exercise, i reiterated about importance of breathing from diaphragm. To start with i added the "kapal bhaati" from Baba Ramdev's yoga exercise. But there was a difference. While pushing the breath out, i decided on adding "ha" sound. All of us tried it. Other than that, "hhhhaaaaa", "hhhheee".. was tried out too.
  • Meditation: We sat down for a few minutes, listening to the chant "OM" played from Mansi's phone.
  • Played a game, "Frog in the pond". Again, a focus game and you can search on internet more about it. It was fun.
2)  First thing we did was to continue the "Yayati" exercise. Some of us didn't do it last time. It started with Rajkumar. Rajkumar, in a senile appearance, added the circumstance of a situation where he is talking to his wife and complaining about the curse of Shukracharya. It was done well but had to be tuned at several place. We tried various ways to get that senile age be portrayed correctly. The same circumstance was also chosen by Nishil. i again added some fine tuning to it. Mansi was next and she had to play Sharmistha. She chose a spot where she is filling the bucket from the well and complaining about her life to her friends. Again there we did some refinements to live that scene truthfully, used gibberish so that lines don't interfere with the performance. After this i brought the exercise to a halt.

3) One of the very important attributes of an actor is using his/her whole body to convey the lines. In the team that we have here, i can see some of us are not opening up so well. It has to come eventually but we need to try it often if we want to become actors. One of the exercise that all of tried was to do something close to "war cry". We chose a spot and placed an imaginary enemy(external or internal) who we need to kill by shouting. All of us tried together, it came out well but still we have some inhibitions that need to be managed. I would continue this one again in some other class just for everyone to be free and not bound by imaginary chains.

4) We started off with "Repetition with concentration" exercise.
  • As a first i started with Rajukmar fine-tuning his Guitar. The circumstance he chose was that he has to give a performance in office within 2 hours. and he is not prepared yet. So he starts off with fine-tuning the guitar. While he is 100% involved, i start to talk to him which he would "listen" and repeat. This starts on. It goes for a few to and fro repetitions but then i had to stop as i could see Rajkumar was not 100% involved. For this exercise to be successful, the person needs to be involved 100%.
  • We moved on to Nishil, to who i gave a kannada book to translate. This made him involve completely 100%. As usual process is, Nishil gave us a situation on why is he doing this and what is the circumstance. I loved the circumstance that he gave because he imagined something which was completely unique. For an actor imagination is the key. With the imagination, Actor gets a lot of inputs on how a scene can be played. Anyway, after that i started this exercise by giving an opinion. I think it went on well and i was happy to see some output of it.
  • Next i moved on to Pramod, who got busy with building a house with lego blocks. Similar to everyone he too had a nice circumstance and purpose chosen. He too had the same task, to listen and respond instinctively, not to bring intellect. I think this too was done well.
  • Next was Mansi, who repeated the task what Pramod was doing. Again we had a circumstance and purpose chosen. I asked Rajkumar to start the exercise. It went on well and then we stopped.
        We continued with almost all sorts of permutation and combination. What i felt was i could see a gradual improvement and interest in doing this exercise. Some of the members liked the exercise. The whole gist of this exercise is to live truthfully. By involved in something 100% and then someone coming and speaking to you, makes your reactions look very truthful. I admit though we have still not achieved that wholly, but soon we will be after re-doing this exercise.

5) The last exercise that we did was about levels and status. Every actor in a play are in a different level. Level 1 meaning extremely submissive and level 10 meaning extremely commanding.
  • We took the famous practical of "Interviewer" and "Interviewee". One of the guys became an interviewer and one became interviewee. I started this one by choosing a specific circumstance and purpose. Then we decided on the level. 
  • All of us took rounds one by one and completed this exercise.
 6) To end the day, we just did an interesting observation exercise which was to portray a dog. All of became dogs, on four legs, and started behaving the like a dog. Mansi, Pramod and Rajkumar figured out their territory and other two dogs(nishil and i) entered into their territory. We did some behavioral imitations. The exercise was good and we will do it again some day.

Finally, for next weeks here is what we have planned:
1) 4th and 5th Feb Voice exercises - Saturday and sunday
2) 11th and 12th Feb - redo some exercises and perform a short piece which i will pick out.

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