Feeling a Little Lost

iO Summer Intensive

Week 3

Instructor- Lyndsay Hailey


I taught the class Super Villain Death this morning before Lyndsay came in. It was taught to me at CSz in MSP by a teacher who was annoyed by the fact that no one in the class would lose. We all wanted to win, to be right, to survive. Very human of us. Just not useful on stage. I changed it a little to make it flow better and make it more fun, so my version is like this-

Someone is an imaginary super villain, something made up on the spot (Dr. Acidica! Ant Commander! Death with Tentacles!), cheesier is better, and then they kill someone else in the circle with an attack that matches their power (Pour a bucket of acid on them, order 10,000 ants to eat them alive, rip them apart with their mutant octopus arms). As that person dies they must choose an avenger in the circle, someone to rise up as the next super villain and avenge them. As soon as there is another death then the first person killed can rise, fueled by the ashes/life force/powers of the latest victim. I love this game because you get to be so over-the-top dramatic, both in the killing and the dying.

Anyway, Lyndsay came in and found us playing. She seems to feel that we are a very violent group, since pretty much all our warm-ups involve all of us dying. She moved us into Openings and Singing Soundscapes.

Spent more time walking around and doing short scenes with whoever we squared off with when she called a stop. We did different characters, ideas, energies, etc. Then we moved into longer scenes, back as ourselves.

After that was doing an opening and trying to find the theme of it as a group (selfishness). Then doing 8 scenes that could be the first scene of a Harold, each one completely different from the others. I got some hard notes during this part. It was frustrating in the moment because I couldn’t figure out what she wanted (nor could my scene partner), but the feedback hit some of my big weaknesses dead center. So that gives me something to work on.

The afternoon was personal feedback and then scenes with a challenge to address a weakness. This was all feedback from Lyndsay, and it was stronger/harder than last week, though a few of the notes were the same. Some were different though, and one, the big one, was the same note I was getting a year ago! I don’t know how to “fix” it. And I know I’m holding myself back, I’ve known it for awhile. I can feel this thing almost all the time when I’m on stage and I know, I KNOW, that if I can deal with it I am going to be shocked by how much better my improv gets. Just a gut intuition. But that doesn’t help me clear it out.

My challenge was to play a bi-polar person with no control, who has crazy mood swings and doesn’t even make sense when they talk. It didn’t happen, but I did chase my partner hissing and trying to bite him, which is a big step forward for me. And then he beat me to death with his pogo stick. So it actually was a fun scene, but I still don’t know how to get out of my own way.

Snatches from today–

  • Any tiny detail can be mined and mined for richness and detail. Nothing is too small.
  • If you put the theme of the show into your character then it can never be lost, no matter where the scenes go.
  • The real “yes” can be to say yes to the conflict.
  • Strong emotions are supportive, even if they feel impolite or nonsupportive.
  • When you don’t know what to do in a scene it means you are circling the subject to justify it with words instead of acting and improvising.
  • Feel things, and show those emotions, instead of using words and making things make sense.
  • Justification strips the magic out of the thing.
  • Emote!

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