Can’t Do It All

iO Summer Intensive

Week 4

Instructor- Rance Rizzutto

Thursday

We started out with Zip-Zap-Zop but with the same rules as the pattern game yesterday. We were to copy EVERYTHING about the way it was passed, and the circle as a whole. In a way this was more difficult because I “know” how to play the game and I kept ignoring details because they weren’t part of the rules. Except they were. Except I couldn’t seem to remember that.

We then played You-Yes the same way (it’s a game I always heard called Go, but with a slight variation). And then we played Pass the Word the same way. Rance was very specific that we were supposed to mimic the sounds we heard exactly. I’m very bad at that. I kept saying the word we started with, the word I knew it was, instead of the word I heard. Rance said some people are good with words, some with voice, and some with physicality- but that no one is going to be amazing at all three.

He, nicely, pointed out afterward that I kept screwing the thing up because I was forcing the word back to what it had been. Told me my strength is clearly words, now I can work on the others to become more well-balanced. And on my listening, train myself to hear what is actually being said instead of what I “know” is being said.

I’ve gained a lot of knowledge into the kind of player I am over the past four weeks. I’m not naturally gifted with accents or characters- I don’t snap into them quickly or instinctively like some people. I don’t see patterns as fast as many players. I’m not naturally “funny”, I don’t think of puns or plays on words or jokes easily. I struggle with expressing myself emotionally- what I think is a strong emotion isn’t, 99% of the time. My rhyming skills are dismal. I’m not “high energy”, by natural disposition. My default is quiet and watchful, not engaging and active.

But I’m good with making connections between things. I am physical, I move around and do a lot of space work. I can keep a lot of things straight in my head at once- I love the Alphabet Game at CSz because I’m naturally good at it. I tend add details, specific ones, that add depth to characters or places without realizing it (probably why I’m naturally drawn to scene painting, character painting, etc). I’ve been told repeatedly that I am grounded on stage. I’m a natural straight man, and this intensive has shown that even more. I enjoy being the one who says little things to make the scene move forward while other people are bouncing off the walls.

Now I have a double challenge to myself. One, to work on my weaknesses so that I can become an over-all stronger player. Practice my rhyming. Get on YouTube and learn at least a few accents. Learn to roll my R’s! Push myself to show my emotions clearly on stage, and more intensely. To play the crazy character more often. To make high-energy choices on stage. Two, to spend just as much time working on my strengths. Instead of only trying to bring up my weaknesses, as important as that is (since some of them will really hold me back), I want to focus just as much on strengthening things I already do well. To push myself to pay attention to/remember even more things at once. To practice my space work, pushing into new actions. To get into better shape so that I can be even more physical. To practice my deadpan. To practice adding details that are exquisitely nuanced.

Anyway, to get back to class. The next thing we did was run Harold’s from Opening through second game, half of the class at a time. However, each one had a restriction placed on it that was in effect the entire time.

  1. Use the opening to paint three characters that somehow connect. Then use the first in the first beat, the second in the second beat, and the third in the third beat.
  2. Paint a room during the opening. All three first beats take place in that room.
  3. Everyone must stay on stage at all times, even during edits. No sides allowed at all.
  4. Entire thing after the opening had to be in gibberish. No actual dialogue. Or exaggerated miming. Just talk and trust that they understand you.

The afternoon was spent running full length Harold’s. Each of use got to be in two of them. Things got a little off the rails because we got started playing with all of our toys and chasing plot to hold it together. Which just led to a learning experience as we had the chance to see what it feels like from the inside when things get side-tracked. We got confused, and as soon as that happened things would start feeling flat. I wonder how long it takes to develop the sensitivity to feel that right away, as soon as it starts, so it can be headed off before it takes over?

We did props at the end and I got one for the tree I played that turned into a bully, and also for a scene I did where we mapped the scene from the first beat. That scene is probably the scene I am most proud of, out of this entire intensive. The other two guys started out and I suddenly saw what they were doing, and it was magic. We turned “getting a girl” into “getting a job” and it killed.

Snatches from today–

  • Don’t feel like you have to talk about the objects you use so that people will know what they are. Don’t, in fact. It’s a crutch. Just use them.
  • 3rd beat of a Harold is for connecting things. That’s the only rule. One scene, three scenes, eight scenes- doesn’t matter.
  • “Anna, I wanted to see you kill someone. Or all of them.” -Rance. The note I never thought I’d get.
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