Scene Study

So, I've been taking a scene study class just to help my directing process and it's been very interesting. I had this realization about the acting/writing/directing process the other day as several actors were working on entrance/exit exercises. In this class, the entrance/exit exercises are long, the teacher allots like ten minutes for each actor, which to me is an eternity! Anyway, a lot of the actors had a tendency to use up time by walking around the space aimlessly, or taking forever on something that would ordinarily be a simple action. For example, one guy was reading a letter which was supposed to deliver bad news. I think he spent five minutes looking at the letter and getting progressively more upset. There is nothing wrong with taking time on an action, but this was so long that it didn't make sense and even the teacher, Michelle Danner, told him there was too much lag time. In other words, the audience was totally zoning out! Anyway, the concepts in writing and acting are very similar for the stage and screen--there needs to be action motivated by a deeper reason. The reasons are usually tied to the story goals. This is where the director comes in. I totally see how actors can get bogged down with wayward action without the guidance of a director. It is a director's job to motivate all of the movements and make sure they are serving the purpose of the scene. I felt like a lot of the scenes that the actors performed from plays involved lots of walking aimlessly on stage. Very distracting and not really serving deeper goals. So, it'll be exciting as a director taking the class to guide some of the scenes and help with the blocking. It is great for me to see how the principles of creating drama are the same for all of the disciplines--motivated action is key!

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