Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Level 5 - Advanced Scenework, Class #1, with Scott Jennings

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

I joked about the fact that I expected Scott to make me cry in this class, but I have seen him giving notes after a show, and he is the proverbial gentle giant, no matter what he would have people think. I really did not expect to cry. At least not yet.

I was expecting a firm, patient, very specific teacher, and I was right. After a few classes, though, if I am still clueless, he may not be so patient. Bring it, Jennings. I like it rough, ask Ross. He has made me cry more than once. I learned from it, though.

After a warm up, we went straight to scenework. Scott started us out right at the top with the goal of trying to overcome the habit of establishing all the external elements of the scene in the first two lines, and getting right to the relationship instead.

Although it was hard to change the usual pattern, I understood what he was looking for, and when I finally got right to it, it felt good. I was confused as to why I had been taught all along to get all that other stuff out first, but as I am typing, I am also understanding, so I am employing the delete key vigorously.

When I started learning improvisation, there was no way I could possibly have comprehended what Scott was telling us today. I needed what he called the “security blanket” of knowing who I was and where I was and what kooky thing we were doing. And I am definitely the player who wants my scene partner to tell me all those things. I’ve been struggling to overcome that for a year.

When I stepped out to play with Corey, he started to initiate something with an activity and Scott stopped him, saying that I had wanted to initiate. That was news to me. I said I didn’t have anything, but Scott insisted that I did. And he was right. I didn’t have a line or a location or any of the things I thought I needed, but I did know I had a crush on Corey’s character.

That was all I needed. It was not a scene I would have wanted to do in a show, but once I understood the thing I wanted, which was for Corey’s character to love me, I didn’t have so much trouble finding the next thing to say.

I wrote in the last post that in the Level 3 - Harold class it is good that all the people are new to me. In this class I am really glad that I have already spent a lot of time playing with everyone else. Dave and Eric have been there with me from my start at DSI, I have had classes with Tom, and I've been taught by Corey. And, thanks to a moment of weakness when TLaG allowed a couple of penises to practice with us, I have even played with Austin.

This is good, because I really sense from this first class that I will need to concentrate all my energy on what Scott is telling me, so I don’t want to have to worry about being shy with my scene partners.

I will learn a lot from this class.

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