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MICHA: The Future of Theater

MEISNER/CHEKHOV INTEGRATION FOLLOW-UP

Liz Shipman - 8 July 2014

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Session Called by: Liz Shipman, Rob Hmer-Drummond & Craig Mathers

Participants: Craig, Rob, Liz, Kim, Rena, Diane, Yan, K.D., Mani, Bernadette, Anthony, Renee


Session Began with a group warm-up with Balls—starting with one and adding balls until four balls were in play. We then added sound as the ball was released and in the moment of the catch—“Sending & Receiving Sound”. Then we shifted to ”Sound Repetition”—I send a sound with the ball and the receiver repeats that sound at the moment of the catch. Throughout the group was encouraged to open themselves to their partner(s), to the space around them as they tracked the journeys of the balls and felt the ensemble play.

Explorations: First, Craig, Liz and Rob gave a quick description and demonstration of Meisner Repetition Work.

 We divided into pairs and engaged in tossing the ball w/o words.
 Then we began with simple observation repetition work w/o the ball toss.
 Then we added the ball toss to the repetition—the text released as the ball was released. This naturally began to elicit Point of View repetition.
 Next we explored releasing a line of text with the ball with partner repeating the line in response. At this point, there was a discussion of “reaching into the back space” to find the response. There were varying experiences when one took to ball around over the head into the backspace as opposed to through the lower route… Curious and to be played with…
 Craig then introduced the following adaptation of Meisner Repetition. It’s called “The Whittling Exercise” and can be used as an alternative to Meisner’s Provocative Question. Craing describes it as being the work that carves out moment after moment after moment. I, Liz, also think it could be extremely useful in the Meisner Progression in tandem with Open-Ended Scenes and Relationship work… Here’s the exercise in a nutshell…

This is a form of Repetition where you do not repeat the same phrase. Both actors are asked to put their attention on the other and on impulse, one assesses the other’s state of being.

A: You’re angry.
B is asked to assess A.
B: You’re judging me.
A is asked to assess B and so on…

A: You’re defensive.
B: You’re pushy.
A: You’re self-righteous.
(And so on….)

2 Guidelines:
1) In this exercise, actors are requested NOT to repeat the same phrase, as in,
A: You’re defensive.
B: You’re defensive.
i.e. NO REPETITION ALLOWED, because then it leads to a logjam or ‘pissing contest’.
2) Each partner needs to take in the offer and respond to it from the point of view it elicits with openness; otherwise, the exercise gets protective and territorial.

Final thoughts and Intentions:
Liz, Rob and Craig will be exchanging emails occasionally throughout the year, sharing exercises and experiences, integrating Meisner and Chekhov. If you would like to be included in our email exchange, please contact one of us and share!

Liz Shipman: LizMoves@juno.com
Craig Mathers: craigorsamsa@gmail.com
Rob Homer-Drummond: rhomer-drummond@andersonuniversity.edu

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