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 + May’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
This month we’re working our way towards The Portal.
A chance to come back to life and say anything we want to anyone we choose.
Seizing the opportunity of a deathtime.
What if your Spoon River character had the chance to come back to life?
To speak to anyone you wanted and make them hear everything you hunger to say?
What would you give for that opportunity? That reunited love? That lust for revenge?
All it takes … is finding a way to make the case to earn that chance.
This week … The Heart Map.
We’ve done so much good work these last four months.
You’ve taken a character that once belonged to a writer and by doing things … you have made it personal and real to you.
You have made this character your own.
Now it’s time to turn our attention to the writer’s text. To do things that take a writer’s words off the page - and into our heart.
This week we’re discovering … The Heart Map.
For each sentence of your Spoon River text, say it aloud in your own words.
Speak truth. Subtext. Allow messy, unapologetic sound to pour out of you.
Once a sentence feels free and true - write it down.
Move onto the next sentence, repeating the process until you’ve done this work for all your text.
Speak the unspoken thoughts that cause your first sentence. Add to the start of your map.
Speak the connective thoughts between each written sentence. Add them into your map.
Your map is complete when you’ve written down the full, free-flowing truth of both the spoken and unspoken.
Now tear it up. Delete it. Throw it away.
We want to be careful not to prioritize this text. To make it “right” …
We do this work to discover. To find something in our hearts. If we were to hold onto it or be careful with shaping it … the work then moves into our intellect … judging, doubting, comparing.
It’s an exercise. A muscle-builder. A speed-bump groover.
Once you’ve torn up your first map … do it all again.
And then once more.
Each thrown away after completed.
Three maps total.
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.
May’s Mainstage Project
The Essential Beauty
This month we’re bringing to life the essential beauty of your character in a 2 minute performance - building off your textured, character access of previous monthly projects.
First, imagine a world in which your character was never born.
What would be lost?
That taste (of what you know would be missing) ...
That taste (of what you know to be essential, beautiful) …
That is what we all want to taste, to experience, through your creative expression.
Pinpoint the essential beauty of your character.
Devise a way to bring it to life in performance/creative expression.
Utilize Creative Communication to fully speak your soul.
Set-up a camera to record.
Remember to work from the raw heart, forgiving any need to be careful, clear, or considerate of us (the camera(. Risk creatively from your soul connection to your character.
Share your video - using your character’s name (and O. Henry story) as the title.
Well, don’t you see this was the way of it:
We bought the farm with what he inherited,
And his brothers and sisters accused him of poisoning
His father’s mind against the rest of them.
And we never had any peace with our treasure.
The murrain took the cattle, and the crops failed.
And lightning struck the granary.
So we mortgaged the farm to keep going.
And he grew silent and was worried all the time.
Then some of the neighbors refused to speak to us,
And took sides with his brothers and sisters.
And I had no place to turn, as one may say to himself,
At an earlier time in life;
“No matter, So and so is my friend, or I can shake this off
With a little trip to Decatur.”
Then the dreadfulest smells infested the rooms.
So I set fire to the beds and the old witch-house
Went up in a roar of flame,
As I danced in the yard with waving arms,
While he wept like a freezing steer.
The very fall my sister Nancy Knapp
Set fire to the house
They were trying Dr. Duval
For the murder of Zora Clemens,
And I sat in the court two weeks
Listening to every witness.
It was clear he had got her in a family way;
And to let the child be born
Would not do.
Well, how about me with eight children,
And one coming, and the farm
Mortgaged to Thomas Rhodes?
And when I got home that night,
(After listening to the story of the buggy ride,
And the finding of Zora in the ditch,)
The first thing I saw, right there by the steps,
Where the boys had hacked for angle worms,
Was the hatchet!
And just as I entered there was my wife,
Standing before me, big with child.
She started the talk of the mortgaged farm,
And I killed her.
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
We continue our presentation of O. Henry’s short stories with After Twenty Years (2016) - a Neo Film School project directed by Sarith Krishnan, starring Rahul R. Nair, Hari Kallamoola, and Sudeep Moothamana.
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.