* updates -- Spring 2007 & 2008
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Notes"The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working" - Ernest Newman
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Randy S. Griffith, Jr.
Journal Entry #1
Well…It’s back to the good old journals again. Anyways, now onto acting 2 class, except this time it’s a little different though. There are people in the class that have been acting for a long time, have done many play productions whom I will be competing with. Even though I’m not suppose to compete with anyone…right. There is this guy in the class…his name is…Beau. He was the penis in the Lysistrata play, and there is Chip, he was also in the play. Both these guys are good. I don’t know…perhaps if I had more practice and had time to participate in the plays, I could become better. As it is…I would love to be in the Don Juan play. I think I was born to do that play, I mean that’s who I am, sort of. Unfortunately, participating in plays does not pay the bills, bartending does. And it’s one or the other. Unfortunately it has to be work. The time of the play is right when I would be working, and with only me and the two other bartenders, I will not be able to take work off. I know that it would only be for the two, maybe three weeks, but then there is the rehearsal time in which much time and energy would be required of me, in which I don’t have any to give. So please forgive me Anatoly. I really wanted to do this. Have a chance to see what I can do. I will someday…just right now I have too much to deal with.
Journal Entry #2
One thing that is nice about this class is that we have an hour and a half in class time, but unfortunately its only two times a week. Just too bad its so early in the morning. Today we were working on our first monologues. But I don’t know if I should do the monologue from the first semester…I want to do something different. I want to do something more dramatic. Anatoly was wanting to see what I can do, and that is the only way for me to show him, unfortunately, I hate drama pieces. I love comedies. Been lookin online for different monologue pieces, but it’s a pain in the ass trying to find them. Like the scenes…jesus that was a nightmare. Unfortunately I’m gonna have to do that again. But some of the guys in class did their monologue. This one guy Jeff was suppose to use a British accent, and he was havin a hell of a time trying to get it down. So I went up there, and then Rose went up there trying to get him to get the British accent down. It was also funny, Anatoly had me get up and walk around acting like a pimp, for the Don Juan piece. Then all the guys had to act like I do personally, how I walk and everything. That was a little embarrassing having everyone trying to act like me.
Journal Entry #3
We’re still working on the monologues…gonna try and go last. Ya know, save the best for last….just kidding. Noticed some of the people in the class are more advanced than others. This one lady, the older lady, she did this performance in which it brought tears to quite a few people in the class…it was really good. Then there were others such as Honey, in which she was suppose to be a Russian, but she kept bouncing in and out of her accent. And then she brought on the crocodile tears, which was pretty cool. I know that always makes people tear up, evokes an emotion. But is it a real emotion though? I mean people got teary-eyed, but I don’t think it was cause she was that good, just cause they saw tears and that invoked an involuntary response. And then, what good would tears be if they’re on stage and you can’t see them. Then you wouldn’t know that she was sad to cause tears, and that her acting wasn’t that good to cause tears. It would only work on a camera in which she could have a close-up shot. I don’t wanna sound mean or nothing or put her down, just kinda what I thought and felt about that. I think I found a monologue, from the movie Gladiator. It’s a really good movie and it’s a dramatic piece, but it’s from a movie. I want to get away from the movies and stuff…perhaps something someone hasn’t seen yet. Harder than hell trying to find different monologues. I don’t know…we’ll see.
Journal Entry #4
I know from last semester about character inside, character outside and such. And emotional recall. But this whole drama thing is a hell of a lot harder than comedy. I sit here and practice my monologue in the mirror, trying to get the breathing down, getting the voice change down, hell even trying to get tears to form or at least well up. I just have a persona in which I’m funny. I could play serious or what not….but not someone sad. I’m not a sad person. I mean in this scene, I play a character in which he has tried to live up to his father, but has failed. So there really isn’t much of a personal recall on this one. Now I could do sad if it involved a girl I loved leaving me or perhaps dying… I know that if I ever plan on becoming an actor I have to work on this, but how? I wouldn’t want to be type-casted, only doing comedies. Such as Jim Carrey, he tried to do the serious even kind of psycho role…and people didn’t like it. They wanted to see him funny, if they didn’t see that, then they were unhappy. As for me, I’m always the kind of class clown center of attention, and this drama thing is really screwing me up. Also, there is some awkwardness with the other people in class. The fact that they’re better than me…don’t like losing, don’t like being second. I know these guys have had years on me for practice, but it’s hard to see it like that.
Journal Entry #5
Well I did my monologue today, and it was as bad as I thought it was gonna be. On top of trying to do the whole emotional thing, with the voice and the breathing and everything….I FORGOT THE LAST LINE!!! And it was an important line too! Talk about feeling stupid! Didn’t want to do a serious monologue like that, and I know it’s my fault cause I should have chosen a different topic. And then my sister was saying how I had good usage of changing my voice and tone, but it made her want to laugh and not cry. I need to get away from the whole comedy thing. It’s consuming me!!! Just kidding but still. And then on top of it…couple others did theirs, and they were good! Just feel like shit after mine today. I was the last one to go for the first monologues and then it was shit. And Anatoly spent very little time working on it. It was like, ok it sucked, lets move on. Tara didn’t do to bad on hers, but she did Henry Rollins, and there wasn’t much emotion in her voice at all. Nicole did her’s of the little southern girl trying to act, it was so funny though. It fit her personality perfectly. I need to find a scene like that, one that I can fit into perfectly.
Journal entry #6
Today we went over the differences in the roles in which a director plays vs. an actor. One would think one role would be easier than the other, but they both play such a huge part in the final outcome of the piece. There could be one without the other, but it wouldn’t be any good. Ok, well you can have an actor without a director, but with no direction or placement, the actor would be lost and the performance would show it. Such as when we perform and then Anatoly will then go over the performance, offering suggestions in placement, movement, prop usage. Like Troy when he did his boxer monologue in which he was sittin at a bar talking to this bartender or some guy. But he would go and give him suggestions, on what parts to emphasize. Then he had me go up there and sit with him, trying to help him out in having more of a conversational-like quality of it. Tim’s monologue was great in which he played Randy from a movie. Now the only problem was is that he was trying to be drunk, and he’s never been drunk before so he was talking like he had a lisp or something. It was still funny though. He ran around the room, yelling, drooling, and spitting. It was funny. When I do my next monologue, it will be better; it will be a comedy one. Kathryn also did her monologue in which it was Shakespeare. Was a little confused on that one until Anatoly went over it that it made sense. But that’s Shakespeare though.
Sorry but I was sick today.
Well today Bri and I worked on our scene together for the first time in class, it was a cold reading. It didn’t go so bad, for being a cold reading. However it was the first time I had even looked at the script let alone try and remember what happened in the movie in which it is from. So we did the scene standing up in which we should have started off sitting down. One error. Of course we got jumbled up with the lines and there were a lot of lines that could have been omitted unfortunately we never had the time to go ahead and do so before hand. But it gave us some ideas of what to do and what not to do. Then we received some feedback from the audience, perhaps an accent for the girl, might help establish her character. Also, the girl is late for class, so maybe she could have a book bag. Then Rose and Rachel did this dramatic scene in which Rachel was being sexually abused by her father, kind of a weird scene but they did alright for a first time attempt. Sara and Rachel then tried to do a scene from Monty Python’s Family Circus in which the scene did not work. There was not beginning, climax and resolution. It was not a scene.
Have to do the 5W’s for our scene in which I don’t know if we’re gonna do it anyways. Who- My character is Dante, an early twenties kid who works at a convenience store in which he hates his job. He could care less about it, rather be playing hockey. He isn’t going to college right now and his girl constantly pesters him to go to school, she is a college student. Bri’s character is Veronica, around the same age as Dante. Comes from a better family though, higher class. She goes to college, and loves Dante. Where- Takes place in a small town, small suburb of an east coast city in a convenience store behind the counter. When- now time frame, but I’d say in the spring, because he’d rather be out playing hockey instead of working, so its cool enough for hockey to be going on. During the day because Veronica has to go to school and Dante is tired from being up all night and then have to come into work on no notice. What- in the scene, Dante and Veronica are fighting because she just found out how many girls Dante and slept with and he is offended because he just found out how many dicks she had sucked. There is some yelling, some slapping, attempts to makeup and then back to yelling. Its funny. Why- because they love each other, but this a big hurtle that they are having to deal with for the first time and its rough on both of them. But they’ll manage to work it out and end up back together.
Today in class we discussed the A effect, the alienation effect, in which you separate yourself from your character. Now I take notes in class, like simple notes so I can sit there and come back later on and when I’m typing these I can sit there and look back and reflect on what happened that day, so I my notebook, I will actually have diagrams and such. Also today, Jeff, T.C. and Honey performed their scene in which takes place in a bar. Jeff is an obnoxious drunk in which his friend T.C. introduces his girl, Honey, to Jeff. Jeff did a pretty funny job especially for the first time trying to play an obnoxious drunk. Honey, I’m sorry, but just sucks as an actress and I know that’s mean, but its sad. Just like when she did the russian thing…god it was horrible. Like pulling teeth having to sit through it. Its almost like Honey has no emotional recall, like she can’t think of being in a certain situation or doing something and remembering how she felt and reacted when that happened. Oh well.
Just got back from spring break and already I feel like shit…I hate it here! Today in class we discussed the differences in Epic theater between Brecht’s method and Method.
Brecht | Method
Outside (biomechanics) | (inside)
Comedy – grotesque | Drama – psychological realism
direct contact w/ public | 4th wall
Improv | Text Oriented
Story, situation, idea | Character
Those are just the main points of differences between the two. There are more in my notes but it’s a pain in the ass to write them all down.
Also today, Kathy and Richard worked on their scene together in which Rich is a cab driver and Kathy is some lawyer type person who is a customer of the cabby. The whole thing is awful, she just can not act and she thinks because she is older she knows it all, in fact she knows nothing! Its worst than watching Honey. I mean this women can’t read her lines, can’t deliver them, sure as hell has no natural abilities. What’s so hard about pretending that you’re in cab??? What do you normally do in a car? Just think of that and picture yourself there and voila…its easy! I think Rich has a reading problem, but he did ok this time because he wasn’t reading any lines hardly, almost like he had known most of them.
March 27 Class was cancelled.
April 1. Today was a funny day, there was a lot of improv today because we were going out of this book called Lazzi. Now that was fun. We had to perform different situations in which the book called for, and these were extreme situations which were just hilarious though. Richard had to search his pants for something…anything…looking through all his pockets, eventually took off his pants. It was the funny the amount of energy he put forward into searching his pants. Then I had to go up there and my scenario was to be a waiter in which I serve food from my pants…the only draw back was that my sister was the one I had to serve. So I was serving her a salad while pulling the toppings off of my certain appendage that was in my pants, and preparing the salad. Then for soup…I had to shit out the soup. It was funny, but there wasn’t enough reaction from Sara that Anatoly had Jeff come up and be Sara’s date. But then the two didn’t get appauled at the way the food was served, so it didn’t turn out as well as I had hopped. But it was still funny none the less.
April 8. Today there wasn’t any acting, mainly lecture, actually all lecture. Anatoly discussed how the 19th century american theater was pretty much shit. And how through the Stanslovsky system from the Moscow Art Theater, helped revolutionize the way actors acted. Anton Chekov also played a large part in the 20th century in adapting the way actors act. Anatoly also talked about open end- in which the viewer comes up with ones own conclusion, which is the opposite of epic theater. This setup seems the situation for Kartasi, in which the audience were interactive with the characters, they determined which route and venue the character was to take, whether or not to live or die.
Also we discussed the countertext, e.g., “I will kill you” to a three year old in a soft and high childlike voice, the child will laugh and giggle. But the child really thinks “I love you”. It’s not what is said, but how you say it. Communitcation à sender à (a medium) à receiver When it comes to what we interpret, the text is very little, in fact only 7% is received, paralangual is 23%, while body language is the most important part, 70%.
I went to the final showing of Kartasi on Sunday, unfortunately I noticed some problems with the way the showing went. For one, the language and the concepts were difficult to understand for me, let alone what the children in the audience must have been thinking. I be they didn’t have a clue what the hell was going on, I know I sure as hell didn’t. One thing I did like was the interaction with the audience, and the way the stairs and everything were taped off and feels like you’re entering into another world. The character’s costumes were great, I know Jon, Kartasi, and I remember thinkin that it didn’t look like Jon, that it was this other guy, which was great. But the whole plot and everything just seemed really stupid, to put it bluntly. Shannon did a great job with his character though, the way he walked in a low stance, slithering, dragging his tail and growling. That was great. Charlie’s character, the big tinsel tree, seemed like a dumb idea. Didn’t care for that. Sorry to say such negative things, but I didn’t care for the play.
Today there was more lecture, it seems were getting more away from the acting and more on the lecture. Which I know there are points in which need to be established, but then it needs to be followed up by demonstrations and such. However today was fun, this girl came in from Directing class, Elicia, in which Peter, Kathy and I performed this scene. The scene was really fun though, except Kathy just killed it though, she couldn’t read her lines nor keep up with where the hell we were. It was so sad. However for a cold reading it went rather well though. The scene is this guy Al, me, who is this kinda stuck up Hollywood producer thinkin kinda guy. However, he’s not one of these, he’s just in his make believe world. Kinda sad. Then he has a buddy of his who is all freaked out because nothing is going right for him. Then there is this waitress is supposedly dead to the world, but Kathy just wrecked it though, hard to understand what the hell she was doin. Whatever. All and all, it was a fun scene, had a lot of fun doin it.
More and more lecture today, no acting. Today we talked about ensemble acting – group acting, which was in the reading of Adler. I was confused about the whole thing, but found out that it’s the same group, they just compete for different parts. They only have the big problem of trying to become one of the group, but after that is accomplished your set. Which is nice. Then other things were discussed such as the parts that make up the different parts of the theater. For the actor, he’s comprised of the text, a partner, the public, spectator, director, and the costumes and props. For the public, the actor, writer, director, all guide the audience to what they want the public to see. That was all that really happened today. Oh, I did get asked to act in the Philidelphia, which is pretty cool.
Today Rich and Kathy performed their new scene, the Music man. My god that was hell! Rich couldn’t read his lines, Kathy can’t act for shit. There was too many damn questions about what the hell was going on in the scene. And its not funny! This is suppose to be a comedy show and this piece is no where near funny, let alone nowhere near their acting capabilities to pull it off. They just need to not even try this scene and get something easier and funnier. AHHH!!!! Hate having to talk about their acting. Also what was fun, is that all the guys had to pretend to be picking up and hitting on Kathy. Everyone was waiting for me to go which was funnier than shit, like I’m some great Don Juan or somethin, well I try anyways. But it was fun, I think I was the only one succesful in picking her up.
Don Juan Review
I enjoyed watching Don Juan, but there were a couple problems I had noticed however. What was with Bo and Charlie’s characters? They didn’t seem like served much of a purpose nor did that great of a job in trying to entertain us. As for the acting, Chip did a pretty good job as Don Juan, but I didn’t see him as a womanizer though. He didn’t seem to have that quality there. Also, there was only one scene in which there were other girls, the dancers in the hot tub scene. He should have been all over them and vice versa. And for the girls, they should have been rubbing one another, touching their breasts, not just messing around with one another’s hair. Andrew did a great job as the servant, he was funnier than shit. Andrew played his part perfectly, and with the gay side to him, hilarious. Overall the play was great, but the characters tried to make it too funny when it wasn’t. Donna Elvira’s brother, the one who also played Don Juan’s father, was great! He was funnier than shit, and he kept an accent all through out. I noticed with Chip, that when he was around the brother, he’d bring out an accent. But when he got away from him, the accent was gone. Think that should have been something to work on. Otherwise the play was good, wish I could have had time in my schedule to have a part in it. Oh well.
After spending a year here and in the two different theater classes, I learned a lot. Thank you Anatoly. It has been a fun year, but I am heading off for at least one semester down to Anchorage. From what I’ve gathered from the two classes I must say this though, I don’t feel the journals helped me out. I would take small little notes in my notebook, but then sit here and have to type up these pages and such. I don’t feel that these benefited me at all. Also, I know that the readings didn’t help me out either, you’d go over the stuff thouroughly in class, and a lot of the times it was the same concept you were trying to make sure got into our head. Otherwise I had fun in the classes and thank you for helping me become a better actor. Now I just need to make some time to actually get involved in performances to better myself and gain experience. Hopefully someday I might make it big…someday. Thank you again. Randy
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