Chaos Attraction

Beebee and Nettie Jo

2017-12-07, 7:04 a.m.

I feel really bad posting about the *end* of this drama class I've been taking when it started in October and I haven't even gotten around to explaining anything about this yet. Please bear with me, I'll eventually go back in time and explain it all.

Anyway...this week was the last week of drama class and we haven't really been doing much of anything else lecturewise for the last few. The teacher had us watch "Fires in the Mirror" by Anna Deavere Smith (If you're interested, a lot of it is online) and we took a final exam on theater vocabulary, which I aced. Other than that, we have been rehearsing.

My scene partner Angela and I (we hit it off pretty quickly and worked together on all the partner scenes) have been doing a scene from "The Days and Nights of Beebee Fenstermaker," which is a play about a girl who wants to be a somebody and presumably never makes it (I have been unable to get a hold of the whole play, but it sounds like that's how it ends). I related all too well. Since the teacher said "no monologues" this time, I was doing the scene that you can find on YouTube here but starting around two minutes in on the line about what her mother says. Then after that video ends, the scene continues over here. For those of you who are all "fuck watching a video for this," I'lll summarize: Beebee moved to New York two years ago to become some kind of famous writer/artist type and befriended her neighbor Nettie Jo, a lady who is quite happy with "sitting" and just letting life be as it is. This is something Beebee does not comprehend. In the scene, Beebee has Nettie Jo over while she practices drawing and then Beebee is feeling a little angsty about how she never belonged, which turns into her and Nettie Jo sorta playfighting about how Beebee doesn't want to be like Nettie (i.e. passive) and Nettie pointing out that Beebee hasn't done a whole lot yet in two years. Beebee gets hurt, and then Nettie Jo tells her that she's has just gotten engaged and is moving to LA. Nettie Jo wants to bring Beebee along, but Beebee knows realistically that being a third wheel with newlyweds probably won't happen even if the fiance is supposedly cool with it. I finish off the scene with her crying, because man, I relate to this...

(Note: not actually tearing up crying, not gonna mess up my glasses that bad and still need to do stuff for another hour. But I am very good at sounding like I'm about to!)

I have enjoyed this class, but it's run about 8 weeks and we've been doing a new scene every 2 and even though I'll have the lines memorized by the time we do the scene, somehow I've ended up flubbing something (or Angela has or we both did, all of the above really) in the moment on stage. That is really annoying. It kind of makes me think that either this class needs to be a few weeks longer or we need to have one less scene so we have time to have the lines baked into our brains some more because most people are having issues with this. The amount of times I saw people just go blank and say "Line!" today....I really wanted to be all, "if you forgot, improvise something!" Which is what we have done in the flubs and when you do that, hey, nobody but the teacher knows you flubbed it!

Anyway, as for our scene, I think it went really well, other than line flubbing. I drew a picture of Angela for the scene and it impressed the hell out of everyone (Angela's gonna get it framed). We got the blocking pretty well down once we had more space to do it in. I managed to portray the moments where Beebee was trying not to cry well, then finished off the scene with her quietly crying once Nettie Jo left. People in class thought it was great!

As for everyone else's scenes, some of them I wasn't sure what exactly was going on. I hate to say it, but the best written one was Woody Allen about a guy who's sleeping with his best friend's wife. (Ugh, Woody....) Also hilarious in a weird way was a situation in which one girl's scene partners didn't show up at all today, so another guy subbed in and YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE how he did this part, in a high pitched super annoying old lady voice, with no rehearsal whatsoever. Holy crap. (Note: same guy also did some kind of ass-whopping dance behind his friend's back during the Woody Allen scene, I was snickering so hard....)

After everyone finished, he had us rotate into "the hot seat" and then have everyone in class individually say what they liked. It was pretty sweet, actually. I tried to write it all down.
* "I was really sucked in"
* well prepared--like real life
* good physicality
* worked well together
* didn't screw up lines (hah, y'all don't know! This is why you improvise!)
* the crying was good
* people loved my drawing
* loved how the characters were committed, how we had busywork on stage
* "You get a Tony! And you get a Tony!"
* Smooth-the hug looked real, so did the crying.
* Angela's use of her engagement ring was good--quietly toying with it.
* On my critique paper: the only not good thing was "vocal stumbles" (yup). Otherwise, the notes were "attack, drawing, physicalizer, commitment to tactics, pacing cut backs, pacing grounded, blocking, end follow through." To translate that to others, ALL GOOD!

After that the teacher said to everyone that he was extremely impressed and proud of us and we pulled things off in a short amount of time with a short amount of time to memorize.

After that we took some group pictures and did some hugging. Angela suggested asking the teacher what to do next and he said to take acting 2, but unfortunately this is the only acting class they offer at night here and everything else is during the day for "majors." At any rate, he said to me that at this point I should be auditioning for stuff.

I am hoping Angela and I will still keep in touch-I invited her to a play I'm going to on Friday, but who knows. We'll see.

As for the auditions...the teacher is putting on a variety show called "Gumbo" and the theme this year is gender. Auditions for it are next week. So even though class is over... I'm working on that one. You're supposed to come up with your own two minute "act" as your audition. I'll talk about that later though...

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