Monday, June 25, 2012

It might be Twelfth Night, but it's the first night of table work.

Well, this is a tremendously exciting evning.  We are starting with the first session of table work for the Distracted Globe's summer season, featuring a fantastic cast of very awesome people.  And I hope that through the summer, the 3.5 people who read this blog will become very familiar with their awesomeness.

Tonight, and for the subsequent three nights, the talented Jayce Tromsness will be leading us through text work and table work on this play.  And this will be fun.  I will be your host on the live blog tonight; and since the Rick Connor, the Michele Labar, the Manfriend Boathouse, and several other DG stalwarts are sitting within earshot, the hilarious and sometimes surreal comments will be posted thick and fast (or thickly and fastly).  So, with 15 minutes to start of rehearsal and almost half of the cast assembled, let's begin!

6:52:  Jayce:  "I feel like we're part of a really big, cool, corporation."

6:53:  Rick:  "There are only, like, two actors here."  Andy:  "Yeah.  And both of them are Rick."

6:58:  Manfriend:  "Shut your whore mouth."

6:59:  Evan:  "You've got to choose your kiss-uppers better.  Or kiss-uppees."

7:00:  We discuss the feasibility of Friendster and a MySpace account.

7:00:  Rick was recognized as "the walrus dude."  And chants of "Oosik" start around the table....

7:02:  Jayce opens with a ship metaphor.  I'm not sure how that's going to fit into Twelfth Night....

7:05:  Evan:  "Antonio and the Captain.  My other favorite 50's singing duo.  Remember their songs?  I Love You More than The Barnacles Love the Bottom of the Boat.  And I Love My Dinghy."

7:07:  Stephanie looks at Rick and says, "Buxom."  To be fair, she was reading the Shakespeare lexicon.  Now, she's got the word "brimfulness."

7:10:  Rick:  "I thought we got the good Matt."

7:12:  The mushroom cloud of M&Ms has just been sighted....

7:15:  County square is "a bit of a hoof."  Jayce has always had a way with words.  I think it's the Pacific Northwest in him.

7:20:  Introduction of the 10-minute playwrights:  Reed, Jason, and Stephanie.

7:23:  The history of the Distracted Globe.  Eight years ago, several people were bored in the summer...  We started with improv, but were designed to become a teaching company and started to use scripted shows, classics primarily, based on the skills and talents of the core members.

7:28:  Jayce:  "Why Shakespeare?  It's because we are the odd collectors of relics that nobody else wants.  But I hope that's not really the case.  We are trying to take something that is a little more difficult and make it clear.  We will not dumb down the experience."

7:30:  Rick:  "WWSD?"  In response to Jayce's affirmation that Shakespeare would write in contemporary vernacular.

7:33:  Anne:  "The smaller parts get the bigger costumes."

7:37:  Jayce just said, "Naughty bits."

7:37:  The tools of Shakespeare:  Schmidt's Lexicons, David and Ben Crystal's lexicon (, Cambridge pronounciation, "All the Words on Stage", Edith Skinner's "Speak With Distinction", Shakespeare in Production, Madd Harold's "An Actor's Guide to Performing Shakespeare", "Instant Shakespeare" by Louis Fantastia, Barry Edelstein's "Thinking Shakespeare", and a whole bunch more.

7:43:  Antithesis, juxtaposition, character, conflict.  Language needs to be muscular and visceral.  Nothing in Shakespeare's world can be defined by one adjective.  And Hemingway would have shot Shakespeare on a hunting trip for being too verbose.

7:47:  Image clusters are not coincidence.  Sounds are not coincidence.

7:49:  And Paul just came down off the ladder.

7:49:  Writers get angry when actors don't pay attention to the punctuation.  And Stephanie agrees with a long, low "Amen."

7:51:  Shakespeare is about finding our way to Rick.

7:52:  "Is this about action, or is this about thought?"  Latin versus Saxon.

7:53:  Build into threes.  Fight the temptation to trail off; Americans start at 100 mph and finish at 0.  Need to drive to the end of lines. 

7:55:  Paraphrases.  Close paraphrase:  almost word-by-word.  General paraphrase:  about half the language.  Essential paraphrase:  One word/one sentence.

7:57:  Magic Mamet Moments:  Asking, "So?"  "And?"  "So what?"

7:57:  Operative word theory:  Verbs are king (generic beer-label verbs, naturally), then Nouns, then Adjectives, Adverbs, and pronouns are the worst thing ever.

8:02:  Jayce just used a football analogy in a theatre.  Know your audience!

8:02:  Jayce's pet peeves:  canNOT, sirRAH.  And pronouns.

8:03:  The character is in the diction.  Clues to character are in word choice and in the way they use the words.

8:04:  Thought is the engine; thought is breath.  The breath is the fuel.  Words consume that fuel, therefore the words drive the action.

8:09:  Characters are not super-human; but they are at the highest edge of human experience. They are significant and grander than normal human existence.  It is language as an aphrodesiac.  It is language wearing a lampshade on its head and maybe regretting it in the morning, but it is necessary at the moment.

8:10:  John Barton:  There's nothing sillier than thinking this language is conversation or commonplace.  It's like a one-armed man rowing a boat.

8:11:  And in an hour, we've got a pretty good basic fundamental background of how to work on Shakespeare.  Well played, Mr. Tromsness.

8:12:  Break time.  Back in five.

8:22:  Rick is going from an "O" to now a lowercase "u" and is headed for a "V."  Well done, Rick.  I'm glad you know what that means.

8:23:  Coffee!!!!

8:24:  "Something that causes puckering in certain places."  Umm, really, Jayce?

8:37:  Jayce:  "The meter is the slip.  We don't have to show it..."

9:02:  Was that a line-reading, Jayce?

9:07:  Rain is beginning.

9:08:  Mr. Exposition!

9:21:  Disclosure, Discovery and Decision

9:52:  Feste might be Jewish?  L'Chaim!

9:56:  Jayce:  "They had some sort of 'fool throw-down.'"

10:24:  One more scene, 2.2, and we're done for the evening.  A good bit of table work, lots of good laughs and we'll be back tomorrow night for another night of reading.  Well, let it be....

1 comment:

  1. I really want to dooo thiiiiis wiiiiiith yoooooou guysssss sometime! I learned a lot just from your notes. ;)