Oct 23 – Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.

I had Stage Combat class this Saturday. We had last week off because our teacher was out of town. I had forgotten to buy batting gloves to wear for working with the swords, so I used some gloves from home. Unfortunately they were fuzzy, which is nice when your hands are cold, but fuzzy translated into slippery when applied to the swords plastic handle. I had to squeeze twice as hard to maintain the same grip. My hands were pretty darn tired near the end there.

We reviewed the punches we had done before, and added a couple. Then we worked on punch combinations, and also punch avoidance techniques (i.e. ducking). We did several short combos. That was fun. It was like 1960’s television western fighting. Yee hah!

We did more sword work, reviewed the basic strikes and blocks, and then we worked on some offensive parries. That was fun. The swords slide together and make cool metallic sounds. Very swashbuckly.

Sunday was my clown class. We have been doing this one exercise for the past few classes with some variations. I don’t know if it has an official name, but I think of it as the Psycho-Emotional Scale exercise. Basically you start out at emotion level 0, which we will call neutral, and then work you way up to (almost) 7, focusing on one emotion at a time.

First, three people go up to the front of the class and sit on some acting cubes spaced a few feet apart. (Ah, acting cubes, where would we be without you?) We all sit with our hands on our laps, our faces emotionally neutral (well, as neutral as we can get anyway). The first time we did this we did joy/laughter.

Person on the left goes up to Emotional Level 1, which visually looks like a small, pleasant smile. A person in a good mood. That first person turns to the middle person, and the middle person takes it up to Level 1. Then they both turn back to the audience to exhibit Level 1. Then the middle person turns to the person on the right, who then takes it up to Level 1. Everyone turns back to the audience. We are all Level 1. Then far right person takes it up to Level 2, and then passes it onto the middle person. The process repeats until it reaches the end person who takes it up to Level 3, then back across to Level 4, etc. etc.

At Level 1, you get a subtle smile. Level 2 is maybe a bigger smile with a small chuckle. Level 3 is something like a laugh with the beginnings of a body movement, say arm waving, knee slapping, or whatever. Level 4 exaggerates everything. Level 5 is even more, and Level 6 is epileptic seizure levels laughter and movement. It is physically exhausting to be at Levels 4 through 6 for any length of time.

So here you are sitting on a cube with two other people, flailing about, cackling insanely while everyone stares at you and laughs. I love acting class.

The next time we did anger. A lot of growling. My throat was very sore afterwards, and I had to stop on the way home to get popsicles, which is the best medicine for a sore throat in my opinion.

The last time we did sorrow. Started out slightly sad, and then morphed into inconsolable grief and wailing, which started to turn back into laughter for me. It’s hard not to feel ridiculous at times flapping about like a madwoman.

I am not sure what other emotions we might be doing. We’ve done the big three: Mad, Sad, Glad. What else is there?

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