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.

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Stage Directions by the Neo Futurists

Here is a beautiful performance of The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neil Vol.1: Long Day’s Journey Into Night Act Two Scene One. It is hilarious and really must be explored by all of us. This has been presented by the Neo Futurists a theatre group based out of New York. http://www.nyneofuturists.org/

empty canvas of a new year!

two things,
two things to look forward to
two things to look forward to this year

plays, stage,
ranga bhumi,
the possibilities,
the fertile possibilities
oh the thrill
of the empty canvas.

Back in the role of the full time theatre teacher from this May,2013.
So wonderful to be in this juicy spot of possibilities and empty canvases.
What can I create,
What can we do together?
So many ideas.

All beginnings are so fertile!!
the possibilities!
the limitlessness of it all.

i can breathe!