Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Simple as a cup of tea
Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.
To prepare for the auditions for the upcoming show, I asked students to find and rehearse a monologue. It could be as short as half a minute, or up to 3 minutes. They could be from plays, television, film, or of their own creation. Almost all of them took the initiative and either found interesting work, or created their own. Most also managed to memorize their pieces, with only a few stumbling through under-rehearsed readings from crumpled papers.
We all sat on the stage together, at the edge of the lit circle. One by one the auditioneers were called into the light to share their prepared works.
Each would enact the monologue once, with all of the nervousness and fear near the surface. Some were unsure what to do with their bodies in space, using their hands and gestures to telegraph the literal meanings of their words. Many would step backward while they spoke, like shy ponies skitting away from their shadows.
After this initial run I would change something, give them a chair, assign a partner, hand them a prop, have them roll around the floor - something that came from the monologue they had chosen to reinforce it, but also to unlock their relationship to the space they inhabit.
For one of the teens it was sitting her down with a tea cup. The tea cup gave her focus, it gave a center to the play-world she was presenting, it unlocked nuance and understanding of the spoken word in ways that only examining the words would never reveal. She knocked it out of the park the second time around, all thanks to a real cup and imaginary tea.
this post originally appeared in Das Drama Coach