Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Mincks, Please!

Adam Mincks steps out of his comfort zone to give us a little insight into rehearsals:

I should preface this blog post for Night Light Collective's production of ALOHA SAY THE PRETTY GIRLS by saying I've never set-up a blog or written up a blog post before. For some people, being able to meticulously type up a few epic length paragraphs about whatever, later to be seen by millions upon thousands upon hundreds of people on the internet, ain't no big thing. I am not one of those people. But I am going to "give it the old college try," as the cliche goes.Even as far as unique rehearsal processes go, I can safely say that I have never been a part of a more unique rehearsal process than the rehearsal process for ALOHA SAY THE PRETTY GIRLS. Foremost amongst the many unique qualities of this rehearsal process is the intense, often hour and a half to even an hour long viewpointing sessions at the beginning of rehearsal. It's very difficult to explain in words to someone if they were to ask me flat-out, "What is viewpointing?" I would have to give up after explaining fruitlessly for a minute or so and just say, "You just have to DO it and take part in it to fully understand it." Which is sort of what viewpointing is, I suppose: you don't think about it or try to explain it while it's going on; you just have to do it, and THEN have your realizations and epiphanies come to you AFTER all is said and done. But I will do my best to explain viewpointing, in my own words, anyway.Viewpointing is spontaneous, wordless improvisation, based solely on movement and physical activity, with your fellow actors, with the rehearsal space, with objects in the rehearsal space, and with yourself. Just because it is wordless does not necessarily mean it has to be completely silent. You can create natural organic sounds from the use of objects in the space, from using your own hands and/or feet, even from using the sound of your breathing. It helps you to explore the environment in which you are performing, the actors with whom you are performing with, and explore, within yourself, your own natural ability to just give in, not to think, and just play. Often times, when we enter into the viewpointing exercises, we will become the characters we are playing in the show, and the relationships we have with other characters in the show will show up in the viewpointing sessions. Whether we are close or distant, in a love or hate co-existence, or are completely unfamiliar, we will interact in these viewpointing sessions as our characters in the show. Often, this means we end up having joyous group celebrations, or tense group rivalries, or, as seems to be the case most of the time in these sessions, we end up in a mass mock orgy. I don't know how properly I've explained the viewpointing sessions in my own words. Hell, I may have even confused the hell out of anyone who might be reading this all the more. But at least I've tried.

The viewpointing is a great exercise. Not just in the fact that it really is a great warm up before the rehearsal of the show itself begins; but also that it can be a really helpful key in helping you to unlock whatever doors were closed, in terms of discovering a character. It's also a great way of helping you to get closer to your fellow actors. One could say it's the most intense trust exercise there is. And this is one hell of a cast to put your trust in and just let yourself go with. I have had the pleasure of working with a few members of this cast (Kerry McGee, Rebecca Anne Muhlemann), and being familiar with the other members of the cast, but have never worked with before. I certainly would like to think that being involved in a very intense, intimate process such as this one has brought all of us, familiar and previously unfamiliar, a LOT closer together. And it certainly shines through in the work we put in in the show itself. We work REALLY WELL together, and are able to trust one another should we want to try something that might be a little weird and off-the-wall.

Kudos, most of all, goes to Bonnie, for being a sort of ringmaster to the weird, often animalistic circus that goes on around her in this rehearsal process (These viewpointing sessions tend to bring out our animalistic side quite a bit): giving us the freedom to roam about in the wild, but having the ability to see when we get a little out of control with our freedom to do what we want, and reining us in. I can say that I am very happy with the work I am doing so far in this show, and ECSTATIC about the work everyone else in the cast is doing in this show.

And I guess, on that last note, that's pretty much all I've got to say. I'm not really a master of my blogging domain. It's my first time, and I'll promise to do better next time, should I decide there should BE a next time for me to blog. I guess I'll just finish up by saying: please come out and see ALOHA SAY THE PRETTY GIRLS at Gallery 5 on 200 W. Marshall St., Richmond, VA 23220. It is running from Thursday July 23 through Sunday July 26 at 8 PM. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Come on out and support unique, interesting, new theatre in the Richmond community. You aren't going to see ANYTHING like ALOHA SAY THE PRETTY GIRLS elsewhere in the Richmond theatre scene.

-Adam Mincks.

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