Monday, February 9, 2004

Level 5 - Advanced Scenework, Class #2, Scott Jennings

I imagine the last thing Scott Jennings ever expected was that his teaching would inspire a student to quote scripture.

This class is one of the most challenging things I have done in a long time. I am now fairly certain I will not be crying, because even though I feel inadequate, I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t feel a little inadequate in this class. The playing field is the most level I have yet to encounter.

We are being asked to completely reevaluate everything we think we know about improv. This is not to say we are having to unlearn or relearn anything. We are just having to take it apart and rebuild it in a completely different way. Using sheet aluminum and a screwdriver.

We started with an exercise from some Meisner guy Scott claims is well known. Two of us had to sit across from each other and one had to say the first thing we noticed about the other. The second person had to repeat the word and then we just repeated it over and over to each other until it began to sound like nonsense.

The first go round sounded like something other than nonsense after not too long at all, but Tom and Eric were troopers and stuck with it even after the rest of us began to snicker. We tried hard not to.

We all did this a couple of times, and then we started scenes by repeating a suggestion over and over till we were ready to start a scene. Scott really pushed us hard to work on the relationships and not the situations or the “comedy math” we wanted to fall back on.

The first scene I did wound up being pretty true to life, my old life at least, but when asked to react honestly, I could only fall back on that. It is a measure of my growth that I was not at all shaken by the exchange, but that all belongs in the other journal.

In the second scene, I tried to seduce Corey again. Apparently not convincingly, though, which may explain why I am not getting any, but that is also for the other journal.

This class is hard work. I am enjoying it thoroughly, but I don’t think I would exactly call it fun. Well, yes, it is fun. It is serious fun. It is very satisfying.

Edit: Ahh, tears from an unanticipated source. It is never my desire or intent to make this class more challenging for my classmates than it already is. If I am causing difficulty by doing or failing to do something, please call me on it, as that is how I will learn to be better. I try to make the best choices I can based on my understanding of what the goals of a particular exercise are, and if I am misunderstanding those goals, I need to know it then and there so that I am not wasting everyone else's time.

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