Read True West. The essence of the story is not a fight. The essence of the story is the attempt to reconcile irreconcilable personalities. Austin and Lee go at one another, but they are too much alike to not be parts of the same person. The play is a status play. The status of the players shifts from scene to scene and produces action. These guys were not created to fight–they would not be brothers if their hatred was from the heart. A fight in Shepard’s mind is a form of communication and not the failure to communicate or the breakdown of such communication.
Read the whole first part of Hagen. Seems good. The coolest thing about it (I don’t know how cool this is) are the “tricks” to getting yourself sick, drunk, awakening from a wide sleep, or whatnot on stage. That’s nice, but I wonder if writing these things isn’t a bit like giving an actor a “magic” wand that will instantly work with the power of placebo when invoked. If Uta Hagen says you will cry when this happens, you will cry when this happens. Concentrate on objects. Objects are fine. At this juncture in my life I do not worship them. This is partially due to the fact that I am a Harvard senior and am immensely full of myself to the point that I rarely accept without question that which is told to me. Also this is because I think object acting is of limited value in certain non-conventional situations, i.e. improvisation.
Pure improvisation requires a different sort of characterisation technique than the one given in section; that is, we cannot sit and concentrate on an object and then portray an emotion. There is simply not enough time between an offer and an accept onstage to invent objects and concentrate on them, since objectification (?) is essentially an analytical process that culminates in an emotional reaction. Therefore, for the Immediate Gratification Players I created a new game called Pardon Me which allows the instant generation of characterisations. All the players stand in a circle. The acting player says to the person on his right, “Pardon me, are you a fireman?” Instantly the person must adopt the movements and vocalizations of a fireman and say “Yes, I am.” Play continues to the right with different characterisations.
Eventually after the players became comfortable with the game, we switched to first names only. Therefore the players had to create entire personalities based on arbitrary input–ergo, improv. Note that characterizations are, in my mind, different from characters. Actors create characters. Improv’ers create caricatures.