Alone together improvisation with moments embedded. - MISCHA BAKA

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Alone together improvisation with moments embedded.

Today we worked with our teenage actors and revisited the ‘ Alone-together’ dance exercise introduced when first meeting the girls. This time the boys became part of the exercise.

This exercise follows a simple trajectory of having participants start alone and come together over the course of a dance to music. It drops the performers into an immediate awareness of the other while they negotiate this coming together. It proves very useful in helping the actors be in the moment responding to each other.

This time we added another element to the exercise. Before a group performed we gave them a very specific posture ( a choreographed tableau) and a line or two, such as:

“ Why do you wear such tight clothes.”

A natural sense of responding to each other and drawing together from the exercise imbues the specific moments with a sense of truth.  

As explained to the teenage actors, this exercise models some of the process we will use to make the film on set. We intend to have broad directions within scenes that govern if their characters are coming together or apart. Within those broad directions improvisation can take place, and within that improvisation we imbed specific lines or actions that define a turning point in a scene, a key dramatic moment, or important feeling.  

This process aims to help promote a sense of realism in a scene by allowing the actors to ‘ dance,’ with each other. When making the film this dance will become more metaphorical, but will still promote an awareness that brings the actors into the present moment.

In one of the exercises we had mark ‘ dance’ with two teenage girls who had a specific tableau. Their tableau presented an intimate image of love and affection. An elaborate story developed out of the improvisation of an adult parent wary of the children’s love affair, and their attempt to hide from his gaze. One of the teenage audience recounted the complexities of this dynamic excitedly.   

Another exercise had two boys and one girl dancing. It demonstrated that drama was present in the simple power imbalance of more boys than girls. This proved a good moment to describe how sometimes drama does not need to be performed, as it is simply present within a dynamic or structure, and as an actor, being present is enough.  

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