“I ate three bananas”

In Artists, Irish Mist, Local projects, Revision, Sanford Meisner, Theater on September 17, 2014 at 6:26 am

The purpose of the exercise : a perfect illustration of what Sanford Meisner describes when he says the text is the canoe, and emotion is the river.

One after the other, the nine of us at the improv workshop last night came out of the wings, looked at the public, walked to center stage and said: “I ate three bananas.” Walked off stage, and looked at the public again before disappearing into the wings. Prep was minimal. A first walk-on, as natural/neutral as a stroll for the purpose of delivering a factual statement. Then, depending on the coach’s instructions, the same “J’ai mangé trois bananes”  as an expression of total elation, sadness, tenderness, anger, disdain or shyness.

Other exercises preceded and followed. I single out this one because of the prep aspect. Twenty, thirty seconds, maximum, in the wings. Even less when the coach sensed the person was getting into a mental knot. (In the same spirit: individual moments on stage, timed at twenty seconds for delivery of… something, following a one-word prompt from the coach.

Stage work is humbling. I’ll be back for more. Reading some of the press concerning the deforestation muck-up, I tell myself some political figures could use a bit of humbling through improv work. Nobody enjoys criticism and verbal attacks. But a political figure refusing to speak to opponents for that reason? Then, disclosing the project may not get the required funding for a good while? (If the dam ever gets built, I guess the land will need clearing yet again. Nature doesn’t put up with a void for long, at least, not here on earth.)

Work to do. Story, local projects, kids.


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