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Week Eleven: The Elysium Etudes / O. Henry
Happy Saturday, friends. Welcome to EA’s Rehearsal Playground. Each week we’ll celebrate our Mainstage material and capture graveyard echoes emanating from EA’s Spoon River.
All subscribers have a new Weekly Character Challenge + March’s Mainstage Rehearsal Project waiting below!
How It Works
Each Saturday delivers new weekly character rehearsal challenges straight to your inbox. Something dynamic, something experimental, something transformational. Something to push the boundaries of truth in character. This Spring … the world of EA’s Spoon River.
Your Weekly Character Challenge
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
Nightmares do something to us. They leave something behind.
Dreams open doors and possibilities. Tastes we never considered possible.
This month we’re gifting our transformational growth with the ability to live through our character nightmares and character dreamscapes.
Up next, The Nightmare/Dreamscape Conveyor Belt.
Last week we infused the power of our button-pushers (pieces of creative communication that capture each fantasy and nightmare scenario) into the world around us.
Now let’s order our 10 atmospheric tastes into a sequence that maximizes the nightmare/fantasy feel.
If you were to be lead through all 10 atmospheres/environments/button pushers one after the other … how could they be ordered in such a way to heighten your belief of being in a nightmare/fantasy? Embrace a sequence that makes things feel out of your control.
Next, come up with a way to be pulled from one to the other - moving through all 10 fantasy/nightmare tastes … without having to do anything “as an actor.”
The power of the Nightmare/Fantasy Etude lies in being able to stay fully and totally in character from moment one until the Etude concludes. No exceptions. All in.
We need to think of how to set it all up so there won’t be things pulling you out of character.
The goal is to remove moments where you need to be “responsible” in order for things to work as intended.
We want to take out the actor … leaving our character to live.
It’s about building something you can trust to pull you forward, to move you from place to place.
Remember, we never do an Etude more than once so be mindful not to rehearse your setup. You do, however, want to taste-test it ever so slightly … just enough to know you’ll be able to let go and trust the “conveyor belt” you’ve set up for yourself.
You know you’re ready when there’s no work to do.
When you, the actor, can disappear.
Simply by entering into the space, by experiencing it, your instrument is ignited with a visceral taste, a seductive shiver, of the nightmare/fantasy flavor … and now ready to be pulled towards each new taste without ever stepping out of character.
How It Works
On the first Saturday of the month, our Mainstage Rehearsal Project gets posted for subscribers to play with all month long. Each project builds out an array of rehearsal tools, applying them to work you’ll remember forever. The stuff that makes acting worth believing in.
This Spring we’re delving into the works of O. Henry … unlocking deep truths, forging character connection, and working from the depths of artistic beauty and creative love.
March’s Mainstage Project
After reading all of these short stories by O. Henry - step away for a day.
Your character will be the one most living in your soul after that full day is up.
This month, please Creatively Communicate what only you can taste of the heart/soul connection you feel to your character.
Find the image that captures the connection.
Find the song that captures the connection.
Find the object (one you can actually touch vs. discover online or see behind glass in a museum) that captures the connection.
Find the poem that captures the connection.
Create an original piece of Creative Communication that captures the connection - adding/expanding on the forms of expression listed above.
Margaret Fuller Slack
I would have been as great as George Eliot
But for an untoward fate.
For look at the photograph of me made by Penniwit,
Chin resting on hand, and deep—set eyes—
Gray, too, and far-searching.
But there was the old, old problem:
Should it be celibacy, matrimony or unchastity?
Then John Slack, the rich druggist, wooed me,
Luring me with the promise of leisure for my novel,
And I married him, giving birth to eight children,
And had no time to write.
It was all over with me, anyway,
When I ran the needle in my hand
While washing the baby’s things,
And died from lock—jaw, an ironical death.
Hear me, ambitious souls,
Sex is the curse of life.
I never saw any difference
Between playing cards for money
And selling real estate,
Practicing law, banking, or anything else.
For everything is chance.
Seest thou a man diligent in business?
He shall stand before Kings!
Play Along With Your Own Spring Character …
Read Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River.
Choose your Spoon River character or work with one of the echoes above.
Invest in your character over the Spring with our weekly work.
Share your discoveries and challenges.
Cinema Elysium Presents … The Saturday Matinee
Here’s one more TCM introduction to get us ready for O. Henry’s Full House (1952).
ALL MONTH ON SUBSTACK
I’ll be providing feedback for paid members posted work and available as a teammate for the discoveries and challenges inspired as you explore.