Monday, July 25, 2011

The Treasures of Step III: Basic Scene Study by Josephine Hoy

"There's no such thing as nothing." Sanford Meisner

When I first began my study at Freehold, just the thought of walking up the narrow, steep stairs to the theatre was enough to trigger mental paralysis and terror (and not only because I lack all grace and the ability to navigate stairs without tripping).

I felt like a fraud in a room full of, well, people who weren't frauds. But over the course of the three foundation courses (Step I, II and III), I was introduced to acting as "craft"--not just some lofty art form that people are born and perish with or without a talent for, but something that requires dedication, work, refinement, tools…and yet still, even when Freehold became a second home for me, at the end of each course I would beg my teacher to tell me whether I shouldn't just give it all up and concede defeat.

You see (and I'm sure each instructor I've had at Freehold will find it difficult to suppress their knowing laugh), for many of us, understanding a lesson intellectually and physically feeling it to be true don't always occur at the same time.

And that's why I took Step III: Scene Study twice.

Building upon the lessons learned in previous courses, we continue to engage with our scene partners, to remain present and active, to listen and to give of ourselves. We build our relationships, our lives as characters. We learn to treasure 'the moment before'. We learn to focus on the words we are given. And those we are not given. And we learn to treasure the text as a whole, reading and thinking and unlocking the specificity of the playwright, which enables us to 'make strong choices'.

I can't even begin to express how valuable this class was for me (I mean, really, I took it twice) or quantify every lesson I learned. But I can say that at the end of this course, I didn't look desperately at my teacher and ask him if I should quit altogether. Instead, I asked 'what's next'?


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