Acting class: Liam Neeson

Acting class: Liam Neeson

In my drama class, I use videos to demonstrate how great actors use principles of acting and it almost turns into a master class. While there are many differences between being on the screen and being live on stage, they are great master classes.

I find Rickey Gervais’s webseries Life’s Too Short – like a mine for these master classes on comedy. My middle school children are trying to work on comedy and improvisation. We are beginners at this, and I find that hte hardest to practice is the first and second rule of Improv

  1. Accepting the gift.
  2. Going with the attitude of Yes And!

Quiet often our own personal remarks short ended and end the scene, or worse – lead no where. Liam Neeson is a great example of this.

This whole sketch is full of pregnant pauses. In comedy, a pregnant pause is a technique of comic timing used to accentuate a comedy element. David Letterman (whom I love) has perfected the act of pregnant pause. In this, Ricky Gervais has used it to show discomfort as a character.

Liam shows how even a good improv actor can be dragged down if the basic ideas of improv are not followed.

In class:

  1. Talk to the students about the two rules of improv theatre
  2. Watch the sketch
  3. Discuss the different elements of comedy and identify them
  4. Ask students to identify what elements of improv are being used in the sketch.
  5. How is Liam resisting improvisation.
  6. Discuss what we do to take the story forward or not.

Have a look.

Upcoming in Pondicherry: Actor’s workshop at AdiShakti

AdiShakti has announced the dates for the latest SOPE – in January 2017
3 – 12 January 2017

– – – HOW TO APPLY – – –

To initiate the process of booking please send us a small CV and acceptance letter by email. For further correspondence please write to the following email address:

sopeadishakti@gmail.com

Or call:

Apoorva : +919047530689

Nimmy: +919487514962

As seats are limited, send in your forms early. On hearing from us regarding your selection, book your place by sending an advance of the full fee.

Fee will be INR 45,000/- including lesson fee, accommodation on a twin sharing basis, food, laundry, etc.

For wire transfer / bank transfer the details are given below:

Name of Account Holder: Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Art Research
Account Number: 05640200027975
Account Type: Current Account
Name and Address of Bank: Bank of Baroda, No 58-60 Vellala Street,
Pudhucherry 605001
IFSC Code Number: BARB0PONDIC
MICR Code Number: 605012002
payments by demand draft should be payable to ALTAR or Adishakti and posted to:
Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Art Research, Adwaitam,8 Appavou Nagar, Vazhakulam, Pondicherry 605012,India

We request that foreign nationals contact us at the coordinates below before initiating any payment transaction.

Before making either wire transfer or demand draft payment please intimate us at
the following coordinates:

Email : sopeadishakti@gmail.com

Apoorva : +919047530689

How to reach Adishakti
You can reach Adishakti from Chennai (the nearest airport and main train station) by road. It is a three hour journey by bus and a two and a half hour journey by taxi. From Bangalore there are direct buses to Pondicherry which take approximately seven hours.
The Adishakti Campus is 8 kilometers from Pondicherry and is 100meters off the Chennai-Tindivanam-Pondicherry highway/ the Bangalore-Tindivanam- Pondicherry highway.
Should participants need to be picked up from Chennai we could engage taxis which would meet them and bring them directly to Adishakti. A taxi charge for such a pick up is approximately Rs.2700/-

https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Adishakti/@11.9870941,79.790767,18z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x3a5366d09c954a8b:0xcdafc887f69c9e7d!8m2!3d11.9872884!4d79.7924137?hl=en

Master Class: Girish Karnad on The Structure of the Play

Master Class: Girish Karnad on The Structure of the Play

“A play has to be like a well built house, where every corner – has a solid beam – or a door or a window – Why? Why? Why? You have to go on asking these questions”

Jnanapeeta Award winner Girish Karnad speaks about the struct I am so happy to have come across this video almost by chance. I have been re-reading Girish Karnad’s plays off late and to find this, video where he talks about The Structure of the play was indeed most precious~

Thank you to Sunil Khare who has made this available for all of us.

Karnad ji uses his play Yayati to talk about the straight forward narrative structure of the play.

On the whole, Karnad talks about

  • The differences between dialogue and conversation
  • Persuasion of characters
  • the live nature of play – without a chance to refer back
  • Character motivations

Here are parts of the talk that I found very important for my own study

capture

Writing a play is a very individual activity, every playwright has his own method, different play wrights do it differently…..

We should be clear what a play is… what is a naatak –?

Usually we associate a play with dialogue. A dialogue is not a conversation. When you go in a train you hear two people talking… you hear, and it is interesting, they are talking, they are fighting, they are proposing or whatever ..and then they get down and go and you forget it.

That is just a conversation between, an exchange of ideas between two people that is … it does not give you an idea of where they came from and where they are going… and you are not interested, you are on your own way somewhere else…

The point of the dialogue is that the audience has come there to listen to dialogues being exchanged by the actors, so the dialogue has to tell the audience, who are these people.. the first thing that the dialogue has to tell people is the characters.

If it is A and B, what is A, what is B. Where does A come from, where does B come from? And because of this… play essentially has… although what happens in a play is what happens in front of you…a past and a future… each character brings a past and a future…. and a good playwright should be able to with each sentence bring out this past and future.

1

What does a dialogue do?

This is the second one.. .what are these characters trying to do? Of course they are trying to tell a story. Everyone is interested in a story but, what is actually happening there, in a play ..in any play is .. .one character is trying to persuade the other character to do something. You know there has to be action… people say that there has to be action in a play… but an action doesn’t mean they have to run around on stage, beat each other and this…

The action is in the dialogue, and the action in the dialogue says, that one character should try to persuade, the other character. It may be Manthara trying to persuade Kaikeyi that her son should become a king. It may be someone trying to seduce another person. It may be Lady Mcbeth trying to tell McBeth kill the king, you know.. these are major, well known cases of persuasion, but even in smaller things, little suggestions, little gestures, the whole process of persuasion goes on..

Then there is a second degree of persuasion which happens which is that this dialogue must persuade the audience that it is worth listening to. Otherwise the audience will get bored. So, you know there are two levels of activity going on… the two actors or actresses are trying to persuade each other resisting the persuasion… that is the conflict there. ..the conflict arises because the other person may or may not agree to what persuasion is going on, but even more important is that these two or three characters on stage are trying to persuade the audience, that this scene is worth listening to, the play is worth listening to, and this is important.

That is a basic notion that every playwright has to bear in mind. Then there are other limitations which are typically theatrical limitations. A novel can go on for ever, I mean War and Peace is something – two and a half pages. But a play cant go on forever.

but a play cant go on forever

There was a time when people used to sit through the night to see a play, but then they were allowed to sleep, which is a great advantage which we don’t have, these days. So, today you have to have a play that can go at the most for two and a half hours. You see, because, ultimately what decides the length of a play is the capacity of our bottom muscles. After two and a half hours, the audience wants to go home, to their activity. And this physical thing cannot happen in a novel, or in a poem or in another thing else. You can read it tomorrow. Here (in theatre) it is one continuous activity. So, you have this limitation, that the play has to be two hours long.

Second limitation, is that the play can be seen ideally only by this kind. Say about five hundred and fifty people. It has been decided that after five hundred and fifty or six hundred people, the last man cannot see the facial expressions of the actors. Ultimately people have to be able to see what is going on stage. So what the play has to do is to keep the attention of five hundred people.

They may be children or adults, what ever it is, this concentration of everyone to listen to what is happening – it is not a poem, where you write a poem to one person and that person might like it or reject it or what ever it is.

Third point, if it has to attract someone is, everyone must be interested in – what is the play about?What is the play about.

About play structures he has said:

Structures do not come naturally, you have to work at them. When Bhim Sen Joshi sings an intricate aalap, he does not do it because inspiration comes to him, there has been hours and hours of riyaz… A playwright has to do it too.. read other plays, analyze them and when you write .. write.. question them and so on. 

He ends the class with this crucial tip

Whether a play works or not, apart from the structure – it has to have genuine truth of experience. Fake emotions always show on stage.

……Do they convince you? That is what makes a great play

~~~

 

 

Open Call – Dance and Theatre Festival Rampenlichter 2017

Rampenlichter 2017 – open call

Dear Arts and Culture Innovators,

Rampenlichter Dance and Theatre Festival for Children and Youth is celebrating its ten year anniversary in July 2017 and…

we are looking for young artists to take part in the largest dance and theatre festival to take place in Munich’s Creative Quarter. We are looking for productions large or small, quiet or loud, simple or spectacular featuring children and teenagers from Munich, Germany, and across the globe!

It would be greatly appreciated if you could help us spread the word by sharing our project description and application with interested parties by sharing our open call in newsletters and online.

From July 6 to 16, 2017in Munich’s Schwere Reiter Theater we are proud to present a platform for creative exchange for young artists from Munich, Germany, and beyond.

Featuring a large variety of dance and theatre productions, a series of performances for local school classes, evening performances, a diverse selection of workshops, our KunstSpielRaum (Art-Play-Space) program located on the festival grounds, and—as in other theatre festivals—Rampenlichter facilitates a space for artistic exchange between artists and audiences alike.

  • Rampenlichter provides dance and theatre groups with the opportunity to:
  • Present their artistic work to other groups, school classes, and the general public
  • A full, diverse program of productions throughout the festival
  • The opportunity to witness and learn new performance styles
  • To lead workshops for school classes and other groups
  • To take part in workshops lead by other groups and
  • Take part in an exchange of artistic and stylistic exchange

Our festival is aimed towards groups with full-length evening productions, as well as shorter dance and theatre productions.

More information is available in the attached PDF Call for Applications_Rampenlichter2017.

The application period is open until January 31, 2017 at http://rampenlichter.com/das-festival/bewerbung-2017/

Please contact us with questions or for additional information.

Thank you!

Best regards,

the Team of Rampenlichter

Rampenlichter_Call_for_Application_2017.pdf