Monday, May 11, 2015

Joe Bill Workshop: Efficient but a little Confusing (I'll explain)

For those who don't know, Joe Bill was one of the original Annoyance guys along with Napier. He's trained everywhere with everyone, he even talked about Del close. So, in the guru section, Joe bill is one. I even heard a person in the class say that he works miracles. No pressure, right?

Anyway, my initial interest in Joe Bill as a coach has been longstanding. I only have seen him perform once. It was at a Chica Go Go at the Pit. It was just an impromptu buy. There were TOP NOTCH improvisers from everywhere there but Joe stood out as one of the best. I still remember a particular scene where someone came out with like a sword and Joe just kept saying, "Hey kid, where you going with that stick" he just kept slightly adding onto that sentence for what must have been 2 minutes. I was laughing in hysterics. That's the type of odd amazing fun I'd love to do.

There were two main points in this class that I thought were mind blowing. Emotional listening and The concept of Getting out of your head.

Emotional listening. He had us think of an emotion, embody it and look in our partners eyes, TAKE IN THAT emotion and allow it to morph with the foundation of that initial emotion.

This was kind of amazing for me, personally, because coming in with an emotion seems a little forced. A sad guy gets a happy birthday, he's probably sad about the presents. But, imagine if you're a sad character, someone reacts with a happy "Happy Birthday", you're sadness CHANGES and it could be any direction. You could get happier and say, "You know, my girlfriend just broke up with me, but thank you so much, I really need this.", you could get sadder, "I feel so selfish, you took a day off for my birthday, who's taking care of the orphans.". You could get angry, "You think just because you bought me a cake it's gonna make it better. I really needed that job."

I tested this with my team Ladyhawk in rehearsal. I was initiated to with "That dog is way too big for our apartment.", and I came in with anger and like smarty-ness, but that line affected me and made me feel a little hurt and more angry.

"You think I can't take care of a dog. I'm just gonna let it shit everywhere",
"It's just too big for this apartment and I can't walk anywhere",
"We need to get a bigger apartment. We can't have a family in this apartment."
"Is this some way of getting me to get us to start a family?"
"Maybe? We keep talking about hearing the taps of little feet and dreaming about kids in a big yard playing with a great dane. And you insist on using a condom. "
"We can't afford it"

Scene. It was so simple to do, in retrospect. If I was just pissy, I might be standoffish and just shrug off the line but I allowed that first hit to affect as hard as possible. The why just came out in my brain after it was told that it was a small apartment.  Kind of crazy awesome right.

The Concept of Getting Out Of Your Head

This is a title I gave the exercise because it kind of came out of the woodworks. The exercise was two people would take a suggestion and just go off on it, talk talk talk. But, they wouldn't talk to each other they would just monologue, they would walk a few steps, pick up an object while talking and then turn to each other and continue monologing, no stopping.

Everyone was doing their thing, then when they would turn to each other, most of the time it wouldn't make sense but occasionally there would be a tie in and it would be awesome. The monologues would kind of connect in bits and pieces, later in the exercises people were connecting more and more and talking faster and faster.

At the end, Joe kind of explained it, but here's my take. When you are just monologing with no end in sight, just speaking, you aren't thinking. You can't be thinking. There is no wondering if this works or not. When you turn to the person, you aren't thinking and oddly enough the occasional tie in requires a very miniscule amount of thought.

The scenes were very good. I think the point is that you don't need to think at all to make a good scene. Try to just go from the inside. React how you would. Psycho analyze what's happening. Invent less. Speak, you can spew gibberish and it will be interesting as long as it doesn't give your brain a chance to judge it.

In short, get out of your head. You'll be fine. Try and get that line out quick over the other person and see how good it is.

Imagine thoughtless responses.

Dave can I see you in my office?
Fuck no, you're gonna try and fire me.

Awww you ran over my dog.
Is this gonna take long? I gotta get to work .

You owe me rent.
Checks on the table. Bitch!

Imagine Thoughtful (meaning nice) responses.
Dave can I see you in my office?
You sure as shit can, I finished work early and was looking for chat!

Awww you ran over my dog.
I am so sorry, I love dogs, this was not on purpose. Lemme get the shovel.

You owe me rent.
I do. Thank you for reminding me. Were you thinking about this all week? This is late.

Take the mans class.

Ground and Pound : Strategies for Better Scenework

Hey All,

I've recently been taking a Master class with Ed Herbstman at the Magnet Theater. From his teachings, I was able to glean a strategy that may work for you, because I've tested it to work for myself.

The first step is to be on GROUND CONTROL.  Pull down the initiation of your partner into the ground. Or start very grounded with some unimportant line. It is important though that if you are initiating, that the line have some kind of everyday premise. The key is that they all hint at something small.

Here's are examples:

"Your references check out, you're hired"
PARTNER HINT: You  got a job

"It's good to have you back in the office, Tom"
PARTNER HINT: I'm Tom and I was out of the office for some reason"

"I've been feeling a pain in my lower back"
PARTNER HINT: I'm someone who should care about the health of this person.

"We're out of eggs, I'll put some pancakes on"
PARTNER HINT: Probably mother or father, someone who usually cooks for you.

"I'll just take the bus to work today."
PARTNER HINT: Something is wrong with my car. Probably a person who has a vested interest in my working. Family possibly.

"I miss you, buddy"
PARTNER HINT: We're friends or were friends. I've been gone for some reason"

"Dad, thanks for coming to my recital"
PARTNER HINT: Father Son. Recital.

Just realistic examples of stuff. They give some info but aren't completely nothing. They have some kind of feel to them. Hints of stuff. Also notice that there is a lot of discovery possibilities for the reaction, a lot of holes that could be discovered by the partner organically.

What about GROUND CONTROL in response to initiation. First off, you HAVE TO YES AND HARD!! That is what Ed Herbstman always says. Yes AND IT.

***************Here is a masterful note that ed taught us******************************
YES AND doesn't have to mean everything they say is right. It just acknowledges it. YES AND could make someone wrong. Try it like this. You can either A) YES straight up or B)Examine what the line says about THAT PERSON and acknowledge it straight away.

Examples of weird initiations:

"Johnny is dead!"
A) Yes. He fought hard.
B)  *** what does this say about that person. 1) They knew Johnny, 2)They can assess death 3)They are surprised maybe (depending on delivery)"
Possible B Routes
B1) You knew Johnny? What was he like?
B2) Thanks doctor. I'll inform the patients family, great job, keep up the good work.
B3)  It was just one jump too many.

"I like Maroon 5"
A) Yes. We can contact their manager for your bar-mitzvah.
B) *** what does this say about that person 1) They assume you want to know about their likes 2)They know about pop music 3) They are responding.
B1) I like them too. Would you say you're more Madonna or Gaga?
B2) Ahh yes. Pop culture in this future time goes by color and number. Efficient.
B3) Here are all the color swatches for Maroon 5. It would work well for a summer wedding.