February 13, 2017

Acting sessions - Bengaluru SHG - 12/02/2017

(I am adding some bits of  4th Feb session also in it. We did almost similar on 4th as well. I couldnt write it because of time constraints)
Note: - The lines you find below that are within quotes are copied from a book on acting by Lee Strasberg



1) The session started at 8:15. Our routine exercises:
  • Warm-up: Warming up your body by doing short and small exercises.
  • Voice exercises:We started with the diaphragm exercises. Spoke vowels with pushing the breath from diaphragm instead of throat. 
2) "The heads and tails of the coin of acting are relaxing and concentrating. You relax in order to show that you have control of yourself. Then you concentrate to have control of the imaginary objects you wish to create. To truthfully convey the ideas that the scene demands, we need the ability to relax at will and to apply inner concentration and awareness"
       So we added two most important exercises - Relaxation and concentration

  •  "The purpose of the relaxation exercises is to eliminate fear, tension, and unnecessary energy, and to awaken every area of the body. When the body is relaxed, it's able to move much more easily and with much less expenditure of effort; only then can you command each area of the body to do what you want it to do" .
  • For relaxation we just sat on the benches of hut. This can be done lying too but best is to sit on a chair and do it. We did this with lying on our backs on 4th Feb. However, this day we just sat comfortably on bench. Sit so comfortably that you could, if you had to, go to sleep. 
  • Start breathing normally. Don't move or fiddle around. Remain in control of your energy and efforts.
  • The actor should be aware of every muscle in the body, so start to check each area separately by moving one specific muscle at a time. 
  • A tightness in the muscles may mean there is some tension
  • Go inch by inch and very slowly. The purpose of the movement is to draw your attention to muscles that are tense to make sure they respond
  • Four important areas that need to be relaxed
    • The sides of the temples where the nerves go to the head
    • Bridge of the nose leading into the eyes. Watch your eyebrow, move your eyelids, move cheek muscles
    • Your mouth area, chin, tongue, jaw
    • The back of the neck. Move the neck slowly. As you rotate try to feel different muscles, and relax and losen them, particularly when they are extended all the way back. The neck muscles connect to our head and that is a key area to relax
  • Normally, the duration of this exercise could be 15-20 minutes.
Sense Memory(Concentration):
       We move to sense memory exercise. "The senses hold the key to life and experience. Sense memory exercises train the actor to utilize all five sense and to respond as fully and as vividly to imaginary objects on the stage as he's capable of doing with real objects in life."
1) To start with we chose any imaginary situation to awaken the mind and stimulate the imagination in order to make contact with sensory memory
  • On 4th Feb, Pramod chose eating Omlette. Closing his eyes, he started to recreate that instance in his mind. Through that he made use of all the senses and relived it truthfully.
  • Similary, Tarunidhar chose drinking coffee. 
  • Tarak chose shaving. His recreation was wonderful and so very convincing.
  • This day, Naman chose drinking coffee. 
  • We did a little tougher sense memory exercise and that was to experience pain. Pramod shared an incident where he had a body ache and he was able to recreate the pain in his body.
  • Naman chose an incident where he hit his head on a glass pane there by hurting it badly.
  • Mansi chose her experience of thigh pain. The pain was very fresh in her memory and we could see that convincing effort from her.
For an actor to grow, the relaxation and concentration are exercises that has to be done every day. Both sense memory and relaxation should be done 15 minutes each day.
Animal exercise
"The animal exercise is our basic foundation for characterizing a role physically. Using this exercise, one can talk, think, move, and feel more naturally and humanly with an inner content, rather than arriving at the character with only an external mask"
These were animals ascribed to each one:
1) Nishil: Crocodile
2) Pramod: bear
3) Mansi - Lion
4) Naman - Rat
Each one of us discussed about their assigned animal. It was interesting to hear from them what the animal is and its characteristics. However, all agreed that it can be further explored.
As a first step,
1) All of them got on their limbs and started imitating the animal they were assigned to
2) They just moved around and i added some situations which they needed to react to

As an exercise, we decided to do this every week, adding layers of characteristics every week. After 3-4 weeks, we will be the same animal but then not portraying any external attributes, rather internal. By being a human and behaving as an animal will add characteristics to our personality.

Play reading
As the last part of the meeting, we started reading the play Taramandal. Through this reading,
  • got to know what an act, scene is. 
  • got to know what happens before starting the scene, or after sending the scene
  • explored the objective and purpose of each character in the scene
  • Discussed on preparing character sketches for the character that we are going to play.

As of now, plan is to perform some bits of Taramandal in front of SHG members. It could be possible on 5th March or 12th March. To be discussed and explored further.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to provide any feedback or comment on any topic.

1 comment:

Satyendra Srivastava said...

Excellent! I can see that everyone was being pushed deeper and deeper into themselves: feelings, thoughts, body, movement.. I think acting in its truest sense is a very Holistic approach to knowing oneself. I wish many more SHGs will adapt these activities..
All the best, friends!