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Memory…all alone in the moonlight…

September 19, 2013

I apologize for the Cats reference. This post has absolutely nothing to do with Andrew Lloyd Webber and everything to do with Anne Bogart. For my directing class this semester, I am sleeping with Anne Bogart’s A Director Prepares under my pillow every night in hopes of absorbing her fantastic wisdom.

“The act of memory is a physical act and lies at the heart of the art of the theatre. If the theatre were a verb, it would be ‘to remember’.”

Chapter 1: Memory. Between reading my textbook and our class discussions, I have a few questions. What do I remember – what and who and how did theatre come before me? What is my culture and whose shoulders do I stand on? My professor asked us whose shoulders, who first gave us theatre or what happened. In my memory, there is a little stage set up in my kindergarten classroom, Annie Get Your Gun, my Junior High music teacher and my professors now whose shoulders I stand on. You hear the often-repeated advice to write what you know – I don’t know about a lot about being a Southern Belle who finds herself living with her sister in New Orleans but I do remember growing up in a small town, learning to read tarot cards, losing a family member. So for my directing project #1, I decided to direct what I know and remember.

One of my professors actually is the memory inspiration behind my first project for Directing class now. I was at an utter loss on how I wanted to create a story without dialogue for my first project – until I took a leaf out of Anne Bogart’s book: what do I do the last time I created a story without dialogue?

One of the acting exercises my professor taught was sense memory and how to re-create physical contact. My class called it memory hugs and while I loved doing the exercise, I didn’t “get it” when I first did this two years ago. Memory seemed so internal, a mental determination that might be your objective but as far as making it physical? Now thanks to Anne Bogart, I think I’ve not only made it physical, but completed my first Directing project.

Using the idea of memory, I made five scenes that told an entire story about two characters and their relationship AND it helped me actually direct my actors. Whenever they had the look of utter confusion, I could say “Remember when/what…” and their sense of memory explained to them exactly I was trying to express. Memory is not just finding your mark and reciting your lines – it is the verb of theatre.

With this, my first work as a director – completed. Fingers crossed that the professor approves of my loop-holing some of the instructions…I thought I’d skip ahead to Chapter 4: Terror!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2013 11:28 am

    1. I love that book so much and I’m also reading some Anne Bogart right now (is it now required for that class now or you’re just reading it since it’s magical?).

    2. That first directing assignment along with the 2nd one for that class were the trickiest for me since it was without dialogue (you probably even remember that), but once we had scripts everything was great throughout the semester. Glad you’re one with the first one and keep up the good work! 🙂

    • The College Theatre Dork permalink
      September 20, 2013 10:05 am

      It is required this year…we decided to bring Anne Bogart back 🙂 because she is magical!

      I don’t remember your first assignment but I definitely remember you directing us in the second assignment! I wish we still did the Yes/No/Maybe scene – we skipped straight to Contentless and now I get to start working on scenes with scripts!

      • September 20, 2013 11:24 pm

        See I wish we did it the way you guys are now. Not only that we didn’t have Anne Bogart to read (nor was she even mentioned), but starting with those non-speaking scenes was really hard. I think if we even did the contentless scenes then the non-speaking scene that would’ve been better. And Anne is magical. I might be meeting her before the year ends actually (let’s keep our fingers crossed that that does happen)! ^_^

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