Week Ten: 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 Environment.
Last week we whittled our fantasy and nightmare scenarios into pieces of Creative Communication.
Now let’s do the work to ignite those tastes and bring them alive in the world around us.
Work with one piece of Creative Communication at a time …
Allowing the impossible or fantastical to lead your imagination, imagine your entire space - the whole world around you - transforming and evolving until it becomes something that pushes on your buttons with the same concentrated taste of your Creative Communication.
You’ve found what you’re after when what you imagine takes on a life of its own. When the space around you “does the work” (in its own way) previously done by the piece of Creative Communication.
Next, informed by your discoveries, and working one “button-pushing environment” at a time, play with ways to tinker and transform your actual, physical space with real-life adjustments and additions that similarly affect your instrument.
Taste-test your environment ever so slightly as you transform it … enough to know the space now does the work of easily and immediately igniting your instrument … enough to know you can trust, let go, and continue tinkering elsewhere.
You know you’re set when there’s no more work to do.
You, the actor, can disappear.
You have shaped your environment so simply by being in the space and experiencing the world around you, your instrument ignites with a visceral taste, a seductive shiver, of each nightmare/fantasy world.
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.
I was not beloved of the villagers,
But all because I spoke my mind,
And met those who transgressed against me
With plain remonstrance, hiding nor nurturing
Nor secret griefs nor grudges.
That act of the Spartan boy is greatly praised,
Who hid the wolf under his cloak,
Letting it devour him, uncomplainingly.
It is braver, I think, to snatch the wolf forth
And fight him openly, even in the street,
Amid dust and howls of pain.
The tongue may be an unruly member—
But silence poisons the soul.
Berate me who will—I am content.
I leaned against the mantel, sick, sick,
Thinking of my failure, looking into the abysm,
Weak from the noon-day heat.
A church bell sounded mournfully far away,
I heard the cry of a baby,
And the coughing of John Yarnell,
Bed-ridden, feverish, feverish, dying,
Then the violent voice of my wife:
“Watch out, the potatoes are burning!”
I smelled them . . . then there was irresistible disgust.
I pulled the trigger . . . blackness . . . light . . .
Unspeakable regret . . . fumbling for the world again.
Too late! Thus I came here,
With lungs for breathing . . . one cannot breathe here with lungs,
Though one must breathe
Of what use is it To rid one’s self of the world,
When no soul may ever escape the eternal destiny of life?
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
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.