Archive for February, 2008

Feb 19 – Open up and say Ahhhhh.

Posted in Acting, actor, Theatre with tags , , , on February 19, 2008 by actingchick

First I have to apologize for not blogging the past week.  I will blame it on my busy schedule.  This last week was Kangeiko at my Aikido school.  What’s that?  It is a special mid-winter week of training where the goal is to go to class every day, which I did.

I also went to work, to my weightlifting classes, to my Voice classes, attended a celebration for two people who had just gotten there third degree black belts (using me as cannon fodder), dealt with the landlord showing up unexpectedly to rip up the floors in our bathroom and kitchen to replace the ugly torn linoleum with different (a little less ugly) not-torn linoleum.

So though blogging was on my mind, it got placed on the back burner, then fell off the stove and landed in the dog hair nest between stove and fridge.

I went to voice class twice.  I have picked out my monologue.  I think it is a good one.  It is a scene that Joan Cusack did in the movie In & Out with Kevin Kline.  I saw the movie when it came out in the mid 90’s, but I only vaguely remember the scene, which is good.  I don’t want to do it like Joan Cusack, although I think she is cool, and it was her name that drew me in to look at the monologue in the first place.

We spend a lot of time in class working on relaxing our mouths, jaws, throats, tongue, rib cages, oh, and everything else as well.  Apparently, when you are tense you don’t breathe as much, and tight vocal cords and lack of air make it hard to be loud and clear.

I hold a lot of tension in my throat and tongue (and everywhere else for that matter). Last class we focused on the tongue, which I think is my most tense spot, which sounds strange to most people I think, but there you have it.  Some people clench their shoulders (oh I do that too), some people clench their jaws.  I clench my tongue.

We spent almost the whole time making our tongue do this contortion or that.  I should say trying to make.  I wasn’t very successful with some (most) of them.  My throat hurt at the end, which is what it does when I talk for a long time.  The point is to learn to relax so this doesn’t happen.

I think I am going to need more than this class to get loosened up.  My teacher also does vocal coaching.  I think I see some private lessons in my future.

Jan 8 – Lift up your voice

Posted in Acting, actor, Theatre with tags , , , on February 8, 2008 by actingchick

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I had my first voice class the other night. I think I am going to like it. I definitely need it. We did the standard say your name and tell us what you want out of this class sort of thing at the beginning. My reasons I want to be able to be heard without my voice box being ripped to shreds, which is what it feels like if I spend to much time talking. I am also a chronic mumbler, not so useful for the stage.

There were a few people in class that I already knew from other classes I have taken. One from Rehearsal and Performance, one from Clown, one from Accent Study, and one from Shakespeare. The teacher is a new one to me, Gin Hammond. I saw her perform a bit from a one person show she does, called the Syringa Tree, where she plays something like 24 different characters. All I can say is, if you can pull that off you must know your stuff.

We have to get a yoga mat for class, apparently we are going to be on the floor a lot. I will go pick one up this weekend. And really, I live in Seattle, shouldn’t I have a yoga mat already?

The other thing we have to do is find a monologue. I hate looking for monologues. I like someone to just hand me something and say you’re doing THIS. Then I don’t have to stress out about whether or not it is a good choice.

I am not very educated in the theater. I am often in class and people will start discussing plays, and many others will nod their heads knowingly, oh yes,yes, that play. Or maybe some will say a name of a playwright, and the heads will nod knowingly again. I feel a bit stupid, so I am going to try and find some play anthologies to start reading. I need one titled, the 100 Plays You Should Know: So You can Nod Your Head Knowingly. Say that five times fast.

We did warm ups and exercises as usual. Nothing to wacky, some stuff I had done in George’s class. I did notice this time that when I messed up, I sort of missed the “punishment” that George used to dole out. It made the stakes higher. Someone just telling you to start over again isn’t the same as being told to do a five second death scene in front of everyone, or the fake hand slapping.

We did a lot of stuff with breathing because apparently that’s where the power comes from when speaking/singing. I actually know this, but I don’t utilize my breathing apparatus efficiently. I hold too much tension in all the necessary areas, from throat to pelvic floor.

So the main goal of the class is to learn how to relax and go back to a more natural and efficient form of breathing and speaking like when we were children. She did point out that babies can get a lot of volume and go on for hours without any apparent signs of wearing out their vocal chords. I think we have all heard that screaming toddler in a restaurant or supermarket and know it’s true.

Jan 5 – Snoozeville.

Posted in Acting, actor, Theatre with tags , , on February 5, 2008 by actingchick

I have finished up my Accent Study class. Now I just have to keep practicing.  I think I am going to buy me a couple of dialog CD’s to practice with, but I am not sure which ones to get.  That and I need to go to England for month or so.

Tomorrow night starts Voice class.  I am really looking forward to this.  I expect it will be a little more interesting than Accent Study.  Not that Accent Study wasn’t interesting, just not a lot of weird stuff to do and write about like some of my previous classes.  Hopefully this will provide more fodder for my quill, and more meat for my adoring fans.

I am going to see a play tonight.  I haven’t been seeing much theater, which is sort of shameful when you are training to be an actor. If only it wasn’t so expensive, or really if I was better with my money, I could go more. Support the arts and all that.  Plus you learn by watching, so they say.

Hopefully I will have more to write that’s interesting soon. Maybe as soon as tomorrow night.