Thursday, February 19, 2009

my young heart's in tatters / and i'm sure it will be a long time healing

i am nearing the crest of another wave of self-development i think. or maybe i am 'in it' right now. i am not sure.

had our second and third time capsule shows since the last time i posted about it. both were very fun, which is amazing, but i had personal issues with my ability to intelligently play and support my scenes and the shows generally. which is to say that while things i did in both were FUNNY, there was a thread of intelligent awareness and direction to what i was doing that was either missing or frayed. i am not sure how to fix or improve upon that problem other than to focus and generally simplify more.

on tuesday, i started a 4 week class with christina gausas where the focus is specifically on 2 person scenes. however, the focus is also on the tenets of christina's improvisational style; an INCREDIBLE emphasis on reaction to your scene partner and the LAST thing they said. it's a skill i have selectively; if someone has said something unusual onstage, i have gotten 'good' at acknowledging and reacting to it, but most of the time in a scene i am pushing my scene partners into finding a game or an archetypal scene to play. not surprisingly, all my bad scenes are scenes where this happens. however, a good portion of my good or at least funny scenes are this way too, since i am good at directing the action, and i can usually find a game easily, and then make my scene partners play it with me. in other words, i get away with it. zach woods gave me that note in my last 501, and i have heard it from other teachers and coaches as well.

CHRISTINA STOPPED ME DOING IT IN EVERY SCENE I DID. gah... oh man, she was right. looking, back, i seriously do it constantly; although to be fair i do it more often early in classes / bad shows. but anyway, it's something i need to work on thoroughly. i am excited though. excited because i know WHAT i have to do; now it is just a matter of figuring out how and then learning to do it. ha, ONLY that.

so i both have to be better at thinking smartly and finding those simple smart support moves AND work on not thinking about improv at all.

yes, i really do think this is awesome. exciting!

end-thought: joe directed the last of the time capsules he will be here to watch this past tuesday. dave 'beezy' bluvband did a little wengert-esque call and response thanks for him, and i immediately teared up hardcore. i feel so happy and lucky to have been in this last class of joe's in NYC; and i hope he is proud of what we have done. and i hope what we've done reflects what an amazing teacher he is. the time capsule almost always felt fun and easy and collaborative and exciting because of how open and encouraging and respectful joe was with us. we hung out as a group a ton, we had parties and played werewolf and joe ASKED to be on our email chain... seriously. it's been nothing but awesome, basically. joe is one of the best teachers i have EVER had. i include all forms of schooling in this pronouncement; including college and general life-teachers. i feel totally supported by joe; i think he 'gets' me; he's smart as fuck and gives amazing notes in ways that are always helpful and reasonable. and he's a brilliant and inspiring performer himself. i would guess he is on the top 3 favorite performers list of 95% of this community. it's easy to be intimidated and subsequently awkward around a person like this... but joe makes it incredibly easy by being a friendly, kind and interesting person to talk to; and a really amazing friend to boot.

i didn't mean to ramble on about this, but i couldn't help myself. los angeles is a lucky, lucky city, and i hope LA appreciates how much it pains us here in NYC to lose joe wengert. all the luck in the world to you, mr. wengert. i hope you get to see a hawk attack an eagle while both are savaged by a falcon out there. they have more nature in los angeles, right?

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