Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Finding the Way Home

This last weekend we performed our melodrama show "Finding the Way Home." It was a showcase of the work we had explored over the past five weeks, and shows we had written in two weeks. The process of melodrama was pretty fascinating. I would say that it was more enlightening than I had expected.

This was the first time in my life that I've every actually understood what it takes to create a piece of theater with meaning. I am in awe of the way in which to tap into emotions from a physical place and develop them. As an actor.

As a writer. I am in awe of the way I can create three dimensional characters that live within a given circumstance and LISTEN for the way in which they would play the story out.

As an ensemble member, I am heartened at the ability to understand my fellow artists talents and tap into the talents of each of us. I still struggle with the ability to affirm the steps we take. I am driven to keep pushing and so congratulating breakthroughs feels like giving up a bit. It's a balance though. I worry that if I do not find more release I will not allow for breakthroughs. Allowing for space is important.

One thing I am still rolling around is what exactly makes an audience feel empathy towards a character. I was in the living room today when a roommate was watching a documentary on the director of Pan's Labyrinth who says that when using violence in his films, rather than making the choice for a character to be stabbed in the stomach, he chooses for the character to get sliced in the forehead and smashed in the face so his entire face gets bashed in. He does this with the direct intention to create an empathic connection to this character. It's manipulative.  I feel the same way about some of these devices in melodrama, that they are manipulative. But in the end, the way that Ronlin has taught melodrama I can allow for the manipulative aspects because the stories we are exploring revolved around the question: how can virtue triumph?

In the piece we did called November (which you can watch online here, it's the first eight minutes of the show) we tell the story of a mother and father dealing with the death of their child. The virtue here we looked at was the ability to forgive oneself and a partner when such a tragedy as the death of a child takes place and it is partially the parent's fault. I think we explored that in a beautiful way.

I am proud of the work we did.

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