Sunday, December 18, 2005

Drama Journal excerpts

(from '05 class)

. . . For me, I was kind of confused as to what I was supposed to be doing. I tried working with my text, but I didn't really understand where I was supposed to take it, what I was supposed to do. It seemed that working with full power, really high was working for me. But still, I was confused. I decided to stay after class for the extra session. And I am so thankful that I did!!!

. . . It was great to work in a smaller group, to be able to see more people's work and how the emotions, and sounds, and actions tell the story. Raymon asked me near the end if I wanted to go. And as I was still sort of confused, I said, "I'd try". So I started with a vibrating tone, although, I didn't go as high as I could. I started saying my text and working my way up, louder and with more power. I tried to fight against my obstacle and gain power from that.

. . . Raymon pulled on my shoulder and pushed on my back and I fought against him. My voice went louder and more powerful. It was really interesting to hear it. At times it seemed disgusted, or frustrated. It had a quality I can't describe. It was strange. I reached this point though, where I just broke down and started crying. This was much to my surprise. There was just so much emotion and power and force and then BANG I was crying. So I said my text while I was crying and then slowly lowered to the floor.

. . . Raymon told me to get a hold of myself, which I could do relatively well. I don't know what I was feeling, because I wasn't "feeling" sad. So it wasn't difficult to get out of my tears. Then Raymon tried taking me to say my text slow and high. I couldn't really get into it. But this is something I will work towards. I am not sure I can reach that emotional peak by myself, without the physical resistance. It kind of scares me in a way. Although, I haven't been scared during this entire experience, which is incredibly strange for me. I am really surprised that I am not so incredibly shy when it comes to performing by myself. Normally, I would be incredibly freaked out. I am in a safe environment, and have learned the tools I need in order to do it.

. . . But I also think that I have grown, I have a new confidence in such things. And that is truly amazing! I am really impressed by my progress. This class has far exceeded my expectations, and I, myself, have exceeded my expectations. I don't feel like I have any particular boundaries or limits at this point in time. Or at least, none that I am aware of or have come across. Ya, today's class was really great!

. . . This class has been really great for me. It was paced in such a way that I felt comfortable and capable at almost every point of this class. I feel like I have really learned more about my body and its capabilities and limitations. I have learned not to be afraid to move my body and imagine and improvise. I am no longer afraid of my voice, which is quite surprising for me. It is really surprising to find that my text work is so loud and that it is full of power, which is not me on a daily basis. I have always been quiet. It seems like this side of me just needed to come out and was only natural that my voice led me in that direction for my text work. It is really interesting how your voice will guide you and will change your emotion and actions.

. . . I was trying to reach the emotional peak where I begin to cry. I found it incredibly difficult and frustrating. My voice would break part way through, and sound like I was crying, but no tears would come. I think I was putting too much pressure on myself to reach that point. I also think I was putting too much pressure on the wall, my shoulder really hurt afterwards. I talked to Raymon about my difficulties. He said that I should just try to reach that peak, that it is my goal and that it is ok if I don't reach it. This helped me a lot. It took away some of the pressure, and I could remove the pressure I was placing on myself in order to duplicate what I've already done. This is an important lesson. In theater, sometimes you can't duplicate everything. Each performance will be different. The actions may be the same, the words might be the same, even the emotions perhaps, but there are subtle differences whether it be speed, sound, or intensity. It's important to just let it come, to let your voice to find itself and to guide you rather than force your voice and body to do something that it is not ready to do. No two performances are exactly alike.

. . . I was so nervous before this class, I just wanted to scream to get some of this nervous energy out. I thought before class through what I needed to do, the motions, my voice, and just thought of ways I could better my performance. Class started, and we did our warm up of our bodies and voices. . . . When it finally came to my turn, I took a deep breath and started my vibrating tone. I started at about a medium power and ascended to full power rapidly and started into my text. I was saying it with full power, and imagining my obstacle of someone pushing on my lower back and pulling on my shoulder. My voice got louder, more disgusted and frustrated and even broke a couple times. Then I just reached this point where my voice seemed to lose its power, so I just followed it. My voice started to get quieter and I continued with my text, even though I think I was still going a little fast.

Raymon came up behind me, I never even noticed. He put my head against the wall and then lifted my left arm and placed it against the wall. He said to speak slower. So I spoke slower and quieter. Then he told me to use song. I kind of laughed because I don't like singing in front of people. So I made the voice more song like and stayed slow. And then we moved on to the next person. Raymon told me I did great. That is something that I needed to hear.

It's not that I felt unsure of my performance, but it was just nice to hear it. I entered this class scared and nervous and unsure of what I could do. Then I reached this point where I can use text, and movement, and where I'm not scared of my voice and people are telling me I'm doing well. I never expected that. I think I was more so afraid of people telling me that I was 'no good'. I had a fear of other people's opinions and judgments. Now, if someone tells me their opinion of my performance, I can always take what the say and use it to improve my work. This was a really great day, really great class and performance.

The Final Drama Class

We performed our texts again today. I didn't feel nervous which was great. We warmed up our bodies and voice. As we were in child pose, Raymon told me to focus on the part where I start to get quiet and into the song part. When it came to my turn, I started high and full power with my text. I felt that I was getting more out of it, really using my body and obstacle to get more power. Then my voice again naturally started getting quiet on its own. So I let my voice getting slower and quieter. I put my head and my other hand against the wall. Then I moved into song.

. . . I think we have all come a long way, myself included. I liked how Raymon talked about the last circle being 'the empty space'. Our first circle is filled with preconceived notions, expectations, inhibitions and biases. It takes the entire semester, all of those exercises, to get rid of it. We need to remove those things in order to be able to let ourselves act. I agree completely. . . . an important class. I am really going to miss everyone. There is really such a trust between everyone, and I feel a connection to each and every person. It was a really great experience.

(student entry)