This was the second Project F rehearsal I was able to attend and sketch. When I arrived at the Shakespeare Theater there were only a few actors gathered in the space. Aradhana Tiwari, the director, explained to the actors gathered that this night they would begin with a viewpoints session and then move on to vocalizations for the first time. After more actors trickled in, Aradhana turned off the house lights leaving only the Ghost lamp to illuminate the stage. The actors began to walk the grid. Viewpoints is an acting regiment in which actors explore tempo, shape, duration, line, and form. When Aradhana described the process it was as if she was describing the creation of a beautiful canvas using actors and their creative spirits as the medium. She just returned from a month long viewpoints training session in NYC and her intentions and purpose were strong and clear. She often jumped up on the stage to join the actors and affect the session. My favorite quote which came up in the evenings review was, "Art is intention." The actors were asked to do everything on the stage with a strong clear intention.
After a break. The actors were asked to sit on the stage and review some status updates that had been typed out by the director. All of the updates began with the ubiquitous Facebook "is".
_____ is wishing and hoping.
_____ is work...again!
_____ is popping Advil like their Tic Tacs.
_____ is sending out healing energy, joy & swirling peas. Namaste ya'll.
In the next view-pointing exercise, Aradhana divided the actors into 2 groups. When one group moved, the other group would remain still. Actors were asked to only move when they had a status to vocalize. Some fascinating things happened as one group would move in and around the other groups architecture. Sarah Lockhard lead one group and she moved frantically around the stage crouched and peering about as if she was being followed. She said, "Sarah has 534 friends." The other actors echoed "534 friends" while mimicking her movements. At one point Dennis Neal stood still on one corner of the stage and all the other actors gathered around him. The moment became all about him.
Aradhana said she wants to explore archetypes. She asked the actors to consider what archetypes need to be in the show and how they can be represented through rhythm, melody and movement. She wants the actors to capture a persons signature through movement.
Natalie Peterson expressed the concern that she actually felt scared at one point in the session. Themes of voyeurism and exhibitionism were surfacing and they want to explore the extremes of those ideas. Dennis pointed out that everyone in the room is an exhibitionist, on some level. Aradhana pointed out that shy people can become exhibitionists on Facebook. Mary Hill pointed out that at times she could tell when an actor was reciting a line and when they were speaking from the heart from a personal space. Mary was bought into the cast because she has never been on Facebook. She honestly has no idea what most of the cast was talking about as they spoke of "pokes", "likes" and "followers.". She wandered the grid as an outsider.
There was some discussion on how Facebook promotes "revolving door relationships." Just as in NYC where so many people are in constant close proximity, friendships and relationships can often be short and intense, then people move on. Facebook has the effect of throwing everyone into close proximity, knowing intimate details of people who barely know each other and perhaps have never met in person. This play has limitless potential and I'm excited by the possibilities.