jueves, 5 de diciembre de 2013

Energy, impulse, determination, faith and goals--essential ingredients of acting

    It takes energy, impulse, determination and faith to achieve even what we might consider to be insignificant goals, on stage or in everyday life. What is essential, however, is the process leading up to the realization of those objectives.  Peter Brook put it this way: "Acting begins with a tine inner movement so slight that it is almost completely invisible." It then grows, turns into energy, energy into impulse, impulse into desire, desire into determination; for achievement to take place we need faith, we need to believe in our actions and in the possibility of success.

      Is that not also what happens in a love relationship? First an inner movement appears. A message emerges in our most innermost self. It manifests itself in the form of excitement, a surge of energy causes our heart to beat faster, an impulse brings our hands to feel the warmth of her arm; if the impulse receives a go-ahead signal the caress takes on more determination and becomes a hug, the hug a kiss: both bodies become possessed with desire and believe in the need to consummate the act of love.

     Each character an actor attempts to enliven has different levels of energy according to the circumstance or persons with which he or she must interact. She is seated gazing out the window. Suddenly she gets up, picks up the telephone receiver and dials a number. What led her to do that? Had she been carrying on an interior discussion concerning whether or not to call? Something caused her to act with determination, although she might also have repressed her movement stopping short of lifting the receiver.

    In real life we rarely plan our movements with the decisiveness with which an actor organizes his actions. However, everything an actor does on stage is considered by the spectator as purposeful. If the woman is looking out the window, it must be for some reason; if she suddenly picks up the telephone receiver, it certainly is because she has taken a decision.

     The beauty of the acting experience is the richness of meaning which the artists puts into each action, the realization that each action is interconnected but fundamentally different from the previous movement or the subsequent action. Acting is about transcendence and is dialectical in nature. Every action is the continuation and elaboration of a previous action which then gives way to yet another and in the process of exploring these different stages the actor seeks transcendence, transcendence based on the characteristics of the script he is working on.

     “A slight movement of the spine, a change in the direction of a look, can tell something about the inner life of the character and project his thoughts,” says Sonia Moore. Acting indeed is an extremely complex process, as is life itself. An actor speaks not only with the words he says but with the tension or relaxation of his body, with his silence, with the tone of his voice, with the expression in his eyes, with the images which surge in his mind, with the memories which flash in his consciousness when he straightens his tie or examines his face in the mirror.

    Yet there is great generosity in acting. What is done on stage is not for the actor’s stage companion; it is for the audience. Whatever the characteristics of the play might be, the purpose is to allow the spectator to “participate” in his or her own way in the actions, in the emotions, in the search for a solution to the conflict and in the thought processes of the characters on stage. The actor’s energy, impulses, determination, will power and belief are transmitted to the viewers, who in turn re-elaborate them.

lunes, 18 de noviembre de 2013

Theater Demonstration Class November 30th in Buenos Aires

We all need to work towards clear objectives. First the group appears. They get to know each other limbering up body, voice and soul. Then the story appears. 

"Dramatic literature requires a responsiveness, not just of mind,but of the whole body," says S.W.Dawson, "so that the whole work realize itself."

At one point it becomes necessary to invite  spectators--that's how actors measure their achievements,that is the objective--to test their achievements in front of an audience.

Most of the participants in our demonstration class of theatre in English have had little or no previous acting experience. They have joined the workshop to improve their language and learn creative techniques.

If this idea attracts you, why not drop by 2444 Mendoza street in Buenos Aires at 4pm november 30th! There will be drama games and improvisations and we will present two short plays we have been working on this year.

"An inspectors calls," by J.B.Priestley about a working class girl who killed herself after having difficuties with eac member of the Birling family.

"A Blind Date," a comedy about why might go wrong when you go out with someone you don't know.

CONTACTS: hopalfred@gmail.com

martes, 5 de noviembre de 2013

The Hopkins Theatre Workshop announces two free demonstration classes November 30th and December 7th at 4pm, 2444 Mendoza street near Cabildo avenue in Buenos Aires. There will be warm up drills and drama games followed by the presentation of two plays the students have been working on:

1) "An Inspector Calls," an abreviated version of the play by Priestley, about an inspector who investigates the moral responsability of a family in the suicide of a working worman.

2) "A Blind Date," a comedy. What happens when a rather conventional engineer goes on a blind date with an actress whose refined tastes differ sharply from those of the builder of sky scrapers?

More information in facebook: stageandcamera  and the blog: stageandcamera.blogspot.com

miércoles, 16 de octubre de 2013

Doomsday is upon us! Is it really?

Tomorrow is the day. Doomsday? Oh dear, what’s going to happen to the consumer society? Is this the end of the American Dream or just a momentary nightmare? What should I do with my dollars? Are they going to raise the debt ceiling again, yes, again? Will it get lost in the clouds? And then: what if those machines that print dollars were to break down? What if we were to run out of paper, I mean cutting down so many trees and all. Let’s see: when you raise the debt you have to print more dollars, don’t you? What if China, owner of millions of U.S. debt certificates, were to say: “Hey guys, pay up or else!” Where in the hell is this crazy system taking us to? Buy! Buy! Buy! Can’t I just take in a deep breath and tell my girlfriend she is the flower of my life...or do I have to go buy her a new mobile telephone? Why do politicians sometimes smile and say to us: “buy, buy, that’s the solution to the crisis!” Where are we supposed to get the money from? Isn’t there more to life than going to shopping centers?

Don’t we have the right to ask who started the crisis? And who benefits from it? And why is it that some are stacking up dollars as if they were piles of boxes and others can’t even find anything to put into the boxes? If it is really as serious as they say, why did the Pentagon spend millions threatening to bomb the hell out of Syria? Why is there always another war lurking around the corner—just when there’s a financial, economic, pocket book crisis? Isn’t this like the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea? Are there any other options? Will there be another Boston Tea Party? What will they throw into the sea this time? Good God! Some say we’ve gotta whack the state down to the elementals, the others say no the state should help people when the corporations act like Saturday evening casino players.

Doesn’t this remind you of the cowboy and indians? What was that slogan they used in the so-called westward movement? “The only good indian is a dead indian.” You’re either with us or against us. Black or white. Republican or Democrat. God or the Devil. Good or evil. Cristians or barbarians. Comunism or democracy. Sounds like the recorder has broken down. You listen but can only make out two options. And both are food for nightmares. So just sleep it off. How? How can I sleep if in just a few hours it will be October 17th. Yes, this is it! Doomsday is upon us, almost!

Stageandcamera announces year end Demonstration Classes

November 30th and December 7th
At 4 O’clock in the afternoon
                    “An Inspector Calls” by J.B. Priestley

                A shortened, adapted and filmed version by the workshop
      students. An inspector arrives to question members of the
      Birling family concerning their moral responsibility in the
      suicide of a woman who had worked at the Birling  factory.

                                “A Blind Date”   an anonymous comedy
                What happens when a young attractive and demanding actress
                accepts a blind date with an engineer whose culinary tastes begin
and end with hamburgers? A comedy acted and filmed by  workshop students, filled with surprises and an ending ending worthy of Hollywood.

Coach:                   Alfred Seymour Hopkins
Assistant:               Kiran Sharbis

Teleactuar Mendoza 2444 (near Cabildo ave.), CABA
Information and booking: hopalfred@gmail.com /

lunes, 23 de septiembre de 2013

David Maler, director, talks about the staging of "American Dreams and an Elephant"


He was busy writing when I entered the café and walked up to his table hesitantly. “Are you David Maler, the theater director?” We had agreed to meet in the La Paz bar-café in Buenos Aires, still a hang-out for artists and egg-heads. The subject? “American Dreams and an Elephant” and the more evasive subject of theater, how actors are like magicians because they create something from nothing.

“My name is David Maler, I’m 23 years old and I’m from the Dominican Republic. I was born in a little fisherman’s village on the southeast of the island. A very picturesque place, no more than 500 people, and my father is an artist and maybe that’s why he chose the place—no electricity, no television, no phones. I grew up there but also travelled around with him and so I have lived in those two very contrasting environments.

“And then somewhere along the line theater appeared...”

“I was a pretty lazy student, really laid back, but then the school put on a show once a year in our school and that was the only time I would work as hard as I could. It seemed to come naturally. Then when I was 16 I did a musical—Jesus Christ Superstar. It wasn’t a big production but I would drive two hours to take lessons with a singing coach. And I realized that that was the first time I really wante to work for something.

“What kind of theater inspires you?”

“Before I graduated I found through a friend of my father’s an amazing theater coach, called Jack Walter, from the Actor’s Studio in New York. He comes from Method and studied with Lee Strasberg and other key figures in the theater world but developed his own approach. So that’s my way to work usually but this play—American Dreams and an Elephant, being played at the El Tinglado teatro in Buenos Aires City—is diffirent because it is a comedy. I do love Russian playwrites though, for all of the dark turmoil that appears in their plays.

“Perhaps we might refer also to the internal effect that theater has had on you.”

“We all grow up supressing so many things, but theater has that almost therapeutic effect of allowing those emotions to flow that you have been holding back for so long, although I have always felt that the line should be very clearly established between psychology and theater.”

“Where did the idea for the show come from?”

“Well, Dennis Weisbrot, the author, went to see a play I was acting in. Later on we began working together. But initially “American Dreams” was directed by a woman. A problem appeared concerning the necessay adaptation of the play. It could be presented in any city at any time, but the danger is the possible loss of the strong criticism of U.S. society. Anyway, I dropped out of the project for a while but kept in touch with Dennis. Five or six months ago he called me up and said listen I want to start this up again and asked me if I wanted to direct the play. I re-read it and, well, I was a bit nervious because I had never directed a play before that. So I read it and re-read it until five O’Clock in the morning and then called him up and said: “I’ll do it.” That’s how it all started. “

“How did you go about it?”

“Initially the idea was that everyone would direct his own sketch. But there had to be someone to make sure that a line went through the whole thing. It’s difficult because the show is not lineal: you have four sketches, each completely different. I received a lot of help from the actors telling me how they saw their roles in each scene.”

“In your opinion what is the underlying idea in the four sketches?”

“It has to due with the processes that are taking place in U.S. society, so if you are northamerican you can relate to it more but I think a lot of the processes which are happening are taking place all over the world, globalization, alienation, what is happening at the workplace, information, technology, the effects of war and what that is going to mean for future generations. The show touches on all of these taboo things which are there but we don’t really talk about them. “

“The show appears to have many different messages, not only what is in the script...”

“It isn’t just saying the lines but how you say them. The characters are very cartoonish. Physically we had to make clear to the audience what kind of characters we are dealing with. That called for over the top actions, to the physical actions, to small details, the movement of the hand, how the actors look at the audience. As they say, the eyes are the windows of the soul and in thise case it was extremely important to seek complicity with the audience in circumstances that are very uncomfortable. It is as if the characters were seeking approval. One thing that appears frequently in the sketches is ritual, how actions are repeated robot like and that is a good technique for comedy.”

David Maler, director of “American Dreams and an Elephant.”

On stage Wednesdays at 8pm at the El Tinglado teatro in Buenos Aires City, 948 Mario Bravo. Booking: 4863 1188.

jueves, 19 de septiembre de 2013

Henri Bergson:"An essay on the meaning of the comic"

At first glance it might appear that comedy is easier than drama; yet an exploration of the nature of good comedy must necessarily lead us to a contrary conclusion. Comedy has its rules; for example the French writer Henri Bergson believed an important ingredient of humor is an involuntary act; likewise the mechanical aspects of life. The following extract is from Bergson's "An essay on the meaning of the comic:"

"A man, running along the street, stumbles and falls; the passers-by burst out laughing. They would not laugh at him, I imagine, could they suppose that the whim had suddenly seized him to sit down on the ground. They laugh because his sitting down is involuntary.

"Consequently, it is not his sudden change of attitude that raises a laugh, but rather the involuntary element in this change,--his clumsiness, in fact. Perhaps there was a stone on the road. He should have altered his pace or avoided the obstacle. Instead of that, through lack of elasticity, through absentmindedness and a kind of physical obstinacy, AS A RESULT, IN FACT, OF RIGIDITY OR OF MOMENTUM, the muscles continued to perform the same movement when the circumstances of the case called for something else. That is the reason of the man’s fall, and also of the people’s laughter.

"Now, take the case of a person who attends to the petty occupations of his everyday life with mathematical precision. The objects around him, however, have all been tampered with by a mischievous wag, the result being that when he dips his pen into the inkstand he draws it out all covered with mud, when he fancies he is sitting down on a solid chair he finds himself sprawling on the floor, in a word his actions are all topsy-turvy or mere beating the air, while in every case the effect is invariably one of momentum. Habit has given the impulse: what was wanted was to check the movement or deflect it. He did nothing of the sort, but continued like a machine in the same straight line. 

"The victim, then, of a practical joke is in a position similar to that of a runner who falls,--he is comic for the same reason. The laughable element in both cases consists of a certain MECHANICAL INELASTICITY, just where one would expect to find the wide-awake adaptability and the living pliableness of a human being. The only difference in the two cases is that the former happened of itself, whilst the latter was obtained artificially. In the first instance, the passer-by does nothing but look on, but in the second the mischievous wag intervenes.

"All the same, in both cases the result has been brought about by an external circumstance. The comic is therefore accidental: it remains, so to speak, in superficial contact with the person. How is it to penetrate within? The necessary conditions will be fulfilled when mechanical rigidity no longer requires for its manifestation a stumbling-block which either the hazard of circumstance or human knavery has set in its way, but extracts by natural processes, from its own store, an inexhaustible series of opportunities for externally revealing its presence. Suppose, then, we imagine a mind always thinking of what it has just done and never of what it is doing, like a song which lags behind its accompaniment. 

"Let us try to picture to ourselves a certain inborn lack of elasticity of both senses and intelligence, which brings it to pass that we continue to see what is no longer visible, to hear what is no longer audible, to say what is no longer to the point: in short, to adapt ourselves to a past and therefore imaginary situation, when we ought to be shaping our conduct in accordance with the reality which is present. This time the comic will take up its abode in the person himself; it is the person who will supply it with everything--matter and form, cause and opportunity. Is it then surprising that the absent-minded individual--for this is the character we have just been describing-- has usually fired the imagination of comic authors? 

"When La Bruyere came across this particular type, he realised, on analysing it, that he had got hold of a recipe for the wholesale manufacture of comic effects. As a matter of fact he overdid it, and gave us far too lengthy and detailed a description of Menalque, coming back to his subject, dwelling and expatiating on it beyond all bounds. The very facility of the subject fascinated him. Absentmindedness, indeed, is not perhaps the actual fountain-head of the comic, but surely it is contiguous to a certain stream of facts and fancies which flows straight from the fountain-head. It is situated, so to say, on one of the great natural watersheds of laughter."

jueves, 12 de septiembre de 2013

In one of his most celebrated statements on the nature of theatrical art, British director, playwrite and student of theatre Peter Brook, suggests that acting has to do with a tiny quiver inside one's body. This notion leads him to give us some extremely important advise on the nature of theatrical art. The following quotation comes from the chaper "The Immediate Space" in Brook's "The Empty Space," published in 1972 by Pelican Books.

"Acting begins with a tiny inner movement so slight that it is almost completely invisible. We see this when we compare film and stage acting: a good stage actor can act in films, not necessarily vice versa. What happens? I make a proposition to an actor's imagination such as, 'She is leaving you.' At this moment deep in him a subtle movement occurs. Not only in actors. The movement occurs in anyone, but in most non-actors the movement is too slight to manifest itself in any way: the actor is a more sensitive instrument and in him the tremor is detected. In the cinema the great magnifier, the lens, describes this to the film that notes it down, so for the cinema the first flicker is all. In early theatre rehearsals, the impulse may get no further than a flicker--even if the actor wishes to amplify it, all sorts of extraneous psychic psychological tensions can intervene--then the current is short-circuited, earthed. For this flicker to pass into the whole organism, a total relaxation must be there, either god-given or brought about by work. This, in short, is what rehearsals are all about. In this way actors are mediumistic: the idea suddenly envelops the whole in an act of possession: in Grotowski's terminology the actors are 'penetrated'--penetrated by themselves. In very young actors, the obstacles are sometimes very elastic, penetration can happen with surprising ease and they can give subtle and complex encarnations that are the despair of those who have evolved their skill over years. Yet later, with success and experience, the same young actors build up their barriers to themselves."

Our comment:  The acting experience subjects us to a world that goes beyond the one we know. Everything is different. When we improvise we take possession of a (usually) empty space. We invent characters, bring them to life; we imagine places, perhaps castles or offices or beaches where we have never been. We do things we probably would never do in real life. We are allowed to use our voices in sharp contrast to the way we do so outside the rehearsal room. Instead of fretting and stewing about "what is correct" we set about constructing something believable. And we do it together. What we do depends to a great extent on what our companions do because theatre is a social game. When we think we can't do it, someone claps and praises us for how well we have acted. We think we know how to act and we stumble along as if we were blind, as if we had attempted acting for the first time. Then, as Brook so nicely puts it, "a tiny inner movement" begins...and we are on our way!

martes, 3 de septiembre de 2013

Interviews with students of the Buenos Aires Stage and Camera Workshop

 What do the students feel about their progress at the workshop on theatre and acting before cameras which began in Buenos Aires three months ago? We have asked them their opinions and here are some of the answers:

Demian Renzulli:

 What led you decide to participate in the theatre workshop?

I needed to speak  English regularly, because my work requires it. While living abroad for a while I found out that speaking with native people is a quite different experience from studying the language at an institute. When I would return to BA and stop speaking in English for a couple of months, I'd feel I was losing touch with that spontaneity you need to sound natural.
I also watch theatre plays regularly and I love reading. Some of my favorite writers (Wilde, Amis, Bukowski) wrote in English. I  was curious about experimenting with something completely new when I heard about the workshop. I considered it to be the best way to connect up all of these things..

 Do you feel this experience has improved your English? Has it increased your knowledge about acting and creativity?

I have always admired the work of many famous actors and heard stories about guys like Day Lewis or Dustin Hoffman who go very far out to get into the skin of the characters they represent. I always found that very interesting but at the same time, a bit hard to believe.

After taking some classes and having a glimpse of what the process involves, I understand that it's not just memorizing a few lines and going to stage trying to look convincing. The whole thing includes a bit of technique, creativity, and specially team work; it's really hard to achieve good results at the end of the process.

Concerning English, I think tjhis is a good combination bringing together reading and speaking. You likewise learn a lot by listening to your fellow actors, observing how each actor handles the different situations, specially while improvising.

Does doing both theatre and acting in front of cameras produce confusion or uncertainity? Which do you prefer and why?

I find it a bit harder to do it in front of cameras. The notion about ignoring that object that's always pointing at you as if it wasn't there, is a bit confusing, really. You also have to control your body and be careful with your voice and watch out for other noises.

In movies, you can take a shot many times and perhaps the final product depends more on the director: he decides how many takes will be made and which will finally go into the movie.
On the contrary, in theatre I think there's more freedom. Also, what people finally enjoy (or not), depends mainly on the actors and what happens in real time. If you mess up you can't go back and do it again.

I think from the point of view of an actor, I would say that I prefer theatre but even so I find it very interesting to learn about filmaking and all that stuff.


 What led you to participate in the theatre workshop?
My love for the English language along with a need I felt to enhance my ability to express myself better –in any language- was what made me decide to participate in the theatre workshop. As a journalist, I have always enjoyed reading British/American news articles. Besides, I like contemporary English literature (particularly authors such as David Lodge and Philip Roth, who write satires). As before taking up this workshop, I had never attended theatre classes, I thought (and still think) that in a foreign language I might be able to lose my inhibitions more easily. In a word, joining the theatre workshop is part of a personal quest for both enjoyment and self-development.   

 Do you feel this experience has improved your English? Has it increased your knowledge about acting and creativity?
While I didn’t take this workshop in order to improve my English, it certainly has helped! As regards my knowledge about acting, this is my first experience, so I know that there’s a long way left to run. However, I feel that I immediately experienced an improvement in my creativity. The activities in the workshop have helped me a lot to be less stuck in my ways and become more mindful of everyday life (perhaps looking for ideas to perform better)!

 Does doing both theatre and acting in front of cameras produce confusion or uncertainity? Which do you prefer and why?

It’s been quite difficult for me to act in front of cameras, particularly because of my complete lack of experience in “ordinary” acting. I guess that, as soon as I learn the basics (which is taking me quite a long time!), I will enjoy it. Anyway this experience is going to be very useful for my professional career –as a journalist—I mean learning how to act in front of cameras can obviously be important for journalists!  Nevertheless, for now I think I prefer developing my skills in for acting on stage. But one never knows. Maybe later on I will change my mind!


What made you decide to participate in the theatre workshop?

I started loving theatre at a very early age, when I attended an English school where our school plays were all in English. After I finished School I started began studying theatre in different Theatre Schools and also took some seminaries. However, when I heard about the possibility to act in front of cameras in English, I wanted to try it because it would give me the opportunity to do what I had done in school but now as a grown-up. As I don´t often use the language now, this is an opportuity to freshen up or  practice my English in the way I most enjoy, through acting. I think this workshop will also be important for my my acting CV.

Do you feel this experience has improved your English? Has it increased your knowledge about acting and creativity?
 In my case, I’m not sure if it has improved my English but it has helped to  keep in practice and use the language well. Concerning the acting aspect, I think I’m learning  how to act in front of cameras, as I feel I am already attached to the theatrical way of acting. For example, I’m getting more used to the idea of economizing my actions and facial expressions. Sometimes I´m really afraid of exaggerating things, and maybe before the camera things must be a bit more “bigger” in order for the spectator to notice those actions and reactions. The idea of the workshop is to learn by playing, to play in order to find the character we are working on, so exaggerating things is part of the exploration we carry out in working on  our characters.  

Does doing both theatre and acting in front of cameras produce confusion or uncertainty? Which do you prefer and why?

I love the idea of being in front of cameras, always did. But now that I have the experience of both theatre and cameras, I really enjoying it and believe it´s useful for my acting overall experience. Of the two I realize I prefer theatre, because that´s what I always have always done.I feel more comfortable and have always enjoyed being there at that exact moment, all the feelings it provokes and the public in front of us. I prefer the whole story taking place right there, than filming on scenes. Of course I understand that´s how it is working with cameras and find it interesting and can benifit from mis stakes; yet I prefer to improvise something fast on the moment if I’ve made a mistake and carry on, because solving issues on stage is part of being a theatre actor. 

jueves, 29 de agosto de 2013

"American Dreams and an Elephant," a delightful jab at the American Dream by Dennis Weisbrot

Donkeys and Elephants certainly occupy as much of the “American Dream” as the stripped flag you always see in Holywood movies, McDonald’s hamburger joints, coca-cola, apple pie, basball, free enterprize, free enterprize, enterprize which is supposed to be free, wars, military interventions in far-away countries, the stock market, Maryland Monroe, gigantic computers, Disneyland, expensive private hospitals, and big Simpson like homes with bright green grass lawns.

Dennis Weisbrot’s “American dreams and an elephant,” an entertaining stab at some of the untouchable corner stones of U.S. society, skillfully directed by David Maler, had its baptism before an appreciative “porteño” audience last night at the “El Tinglado” theater in Buenos Aires City.

Oh. If your English is not top notch you can test your Spanish reading skills with the subtitles projected above the heads of the actors onto a screen where you may also see some typical episodes of life in the U.S.A., or if your English is great but your Spanish is time scarred you might want to check out the translations...

There are four stories to choose from, all nicely exaggerated, sometimes shamefully and deliberately blown up, although the attentive spectator might detect a bit of bitter-sweetness in the situations—acted out with refined and detailed concern for theatrical art.

There’s Daniel, the easy going patriotic flag waving taxi driver. And the information agency willing to give each customer one piece of “useless information,” the only provider that does not even pretend to dish out real information. A female customer, appropriately attired in a T-Shirt proclaiming that “less is more” gets things messed up when she suggests the agent might give out two pieces of useless information...Wannabe, poor soul, is on the outlook for respect in the most quirky ways, and a blithe worrywort hung up on putting into practice the guidelines of a book on how to make friends and...

The tongue-in-cheek humor is a door opener to what appears to be a search for identity in the urban jungle, the collateral effects of the consumer society, the persistent flag waving patriotism that knaws its way into every knick and cranny and the (not so) lingering after tastes of war. ( In fact, once again the military-industrial complex is beating the drums for yet another military intervention, this time in Siria.) Anyway, there’s miss Statue of Liberty armed with a powerful flashlight and designated to try to outshine her namesake...

The situations are clear, the acting meticulous, the voices tweaked just enough to use the voice as a gag in the characterizations and singer Mara Meter, appropriately dressed in a long silky red night gown to croon her honey sweet melodies between each skit.

(A fluffy pink elephant remains on stage during the whole performance, however we lack  the sine qua non to determine its symbolic meaning: the elephant stands for Republican (conservative) while the donkey represents the (liberal?) Democrats.)

Wednesdays at 8pm, the Tinglado theater, Mario Bravo 948. Tickets: 4863 1188. 


Elenco: Guillermo Jáuregui, David Maler y Mara Meter
Escenografía: Shaina Cohen
Asistente de escenografía: Carolina Acevedo
Vestuario: Sophie Lloyd
Iluminación: Sebastián Crasso
Fotografía: Arturo Dickson
Asistente de fotografía: Mariana Rubio
Diseño gráfico: Máximo D’Oleo

Sonido: Alejandra Vergel
Producción  Ejecutiva: Teresa Gloria Abdala
Comunicación: Maruchi Frometa
Asistencia de dirección: Lía Briones
Dirección David Maler

DAVID MALER (sobre la Obra)
Cuando leí la obra por primera vez  pensé “esta todo ahí”, entera enfrente de mi. La esencia estaba ahí, ante mis ojos, transparente y genuina.  American Dreams and an elephant es una crítica fuerte a los Estados Unidos y lo que conocemos como el “Sueño Americano”, pero no critica desde un lugar común, sino desde adentro hacia fuera ya que nuestro increíble dramaturgo, Dennis Weisbrot, es de E.E.U.U., cosa que aporta una serie de factores muy interesantes. Una crítica sobre la cultura,  pero con cierto cariño que uno lleva por su tierra natal, sin importar lo lejos o desencantado que esté con ella. Evidenciamos fallas, pero nos encariñamos con los personajes, los vemos nadando contra la corriente en un mar sin fin, pero nunca dándose por vencidos. Frente a la distribución masiva de información, la globalización, la alienación. Sociedades que cada vez más nos fuerzan a vivir en una ilusión. La necesidad de justificar nuestras acciones ante otros.  Pero no martillamos las fallas, dándole un peso insoportable, sino que nos reímos de ellas. Nos deja un sabor agri-dulce, pero salimos con una sonrisa. Nos es más soportable ver lo insoportable a través de este cristal. Un humor filoso, de precisión quirúrgica.
Fueron estos los factores que me capturaron de la obra. Mi trabajo es tratar de dejar todos los elementos lo mas abiertos posibles, no cerrar la obra del todo, no dejarla concretada  invitando a que uno vuelque su propio significado y lo interprete.
Notas y acreditaciones:

Jimena López 15.5.703.3975

lunes, 26 de agosto de 2013

Dario Fo's advice on the use of the voice

How we project our voice to the audience is an essential aspect of acting. Here is some advice on the subject from Italian actor Dario Fo, 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature. There are certainly many diverse  voice techniques used by different schools of acting. However, in "The Tricks of the Trade" Fo generously explains his ideas, based on his own vast acting experience:

"The most important thing is to learn to project the voice, to articulate and form words in the most intelligible way possible. The organ on which one has to push so as to produce crisp resonance is the abdomen. It is essential to stretch the solar plexus like a drum skin, and to undertake expercises to achieve this aim, so that sounds of the lowest possible tonality can be obtained. Acting with the chest voice or from the abdomen prevents the voice from going hoarse, because the vocal chords, which are a matching pair, produce a series of shorter, slower vibrations when creating deep tones and the reist of the so-called abrasive whip-effect (when the two rub one against the other, with disastrous consequences) is avoided. In addition, the lower tones of voice make a bigger impact on the listener. It is a common mistake to believe that raising the pitch or going into falsetto helps projection, when exactly the opposite is the case. Pressure on the abdomen with the emission of deeper sounds is the most effective means of throwing the voice furthest."

Fo also give some ideas concerning technique:

"The key to success lies in letting the breath out very slowly, without undue pressure; in other words, no more than is needed to project the voice the required distance. Never believe that an almighty release of breath is required for an expression of great vocal power. This is one of the most common mistakes of amateur dramatic societies. Resonance is determined principally by the pressure that is brought to bear on the abdomen and on all the muscles of the vocal apparatus, that is, the muscles of the oesophagus, of the glottis and the epiglottis as well as those of the velum, the back-palatal zone."


"It is control and not the quantity of air expelled, that determines power and produces efficient voice projection. Another essential trick of the trade is the method that allow the talker to take in rapid gulps of air while talking, without having to stop to open his mouth. To be more precise, I should correct the expression I have just used. Rather than a trick of the trade, it is a technique that must be acquired by practice, an exercise involving the use of the nose (assuming it is not blocked by a cold). It is important to use this technique sparingly, and often it will be better to breathe quite naturally, drawing attention to the fact rather than attempting to disguise it."

sábado, 24 de agosto de 2013

The Princess and her servant a tale of melancholic love by Charles Gonzalez

Once upon a time there was a young beautiful princess who was supposed to get married. Everyone in  the kingdom was invited to ask for her hand. The richest and most powerful men went one by one to see her offering their money, land or troops to provide her with protection. But there was also a very poor servant called Charles who was secretely in love with her. 

One day all of the pretenders were ordered to visit her during a dinner party  in her majestic garden. Charles mingled among the rich pretenders. None of the rich men suspected that he was also a pretender. When it was his turn to talk with the princess, he said:

 "My dear princess, I always have been in love with you. But I don't have anything to offer you except a sacrifice. I shall remain in front of your window for one hundred days, but with  the clothes I now wear and nothing to eat nor drink; only the rain to satisfy my thurst."

The princess couldn't believe what she had heard but after meditating for a few minutes said: 

"I accept your sacrifice. If you carry it out I promise to be your wife." 

That evening she opened her window and saw Charles sitting in the garden staring up at her. As time passed Charles became weaker and weaker, however every evening at sunset he could make out the image of the princess in the balcony window. She would smile approvingly. On the 99th day everyone in the kingdom went to the pallace to celebrate the future marriage between the servant and the princess. 

To everyone's surprise, just an hour before the 100 days were up, Charles left the garden. The princess was shocked and everyone began to exchange views concerning why the servant had left just before finishing his promise. 

Many days later a child saw Charles walking on a lonely country road, far from the pallace. 

"Why did you abandon your sacrifice just before finishing it?" he asked. 

Charles replied: "She never showed compassion for my sacrifice. I was waiting for her to tell me that she would marry me even if I didn't complete the 100 day wait. So I felt she didn't deserve my love."


miércoles, 21 de agosto de 2013

Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) "The Art of the Theatre"

There are many ways of acting, diverse notions concerning how the actor should move on stage, how she should use her body, her voice, whether the an actor should reproduce reality, distort it, play with it or use it to subvert standarized or stereotyped notions of the world we live in. Although Sarah Bernhardt believed in a natural acting technique, in "The Art of the Theatre" she also gave us some important clues concerning what bad acting is:

"An actor cannot be natural unless he really has power to project his personality. He must in a way forget himself, and divest himself of his proper attributes in order to assume those of his part. He must forget the emotion of the moment, the joy or the sorrow born of the events of the day...

"If the actor retains his mode of living, of  thinking and of behaving throughout the manifold characters that he successively impersonates, he cannot feel the passions of these characters; and, unless he can enter into the feelings of his heroes, however violent they may be, however cruel and vindictive they may seem, he will never be anything but a bad actor.  Coldness will be his portion, and not the impetuous ardor which carries away an audience and which is the hallmark of genius. If he does not really feel the anguish of the betrayed lover or of the dishonored father, if he does not temporarily escape from the dullness of his existence in order to throw himself wholeheartedly into the most acute crisies, he will move nobody. How can he convince another of his emotion, of the sincerity of his passions, if he is unable to convince himself to the point of actually becoming the character that he has to impersonate?"

Although Sarah speaks from her own vast experience, she does so in the context of the historical period that influenced her life. We believe that acting should and must include a strong dosis of mental control over the emotions. Otherwise, except for very talented persons such as Sarah Bernhardt, the danger is to fall into psychological role play. The mind must act as the actor's guide; his body and voice the tools of his/her trade.

Theatre and Acting before the Camera

  1. You can do it! If you want to. It is absolutely incredible what we can do if we put mind and body together, directed towards a well defined goal. That's what the actor has to do and it is also a great way to improve your language skills, while at the same time learning acting and creative techniques. The workshop is called "theatre and acting before the camera. "
  2. We meet Saturdays from 3 to 7pm at Mendoza 2444, in Buenos Aires City. The only requirement: at least an intermediate command of English. 
  3. We start out with breathing and voice drills, then do improvisations and drama games before working on scripts. There are two, at present: "An Inspector Calls," by Priestly and "Zoo Story," by Albee.
  4. If you are interested, please send us a mail to stageandcamera@gmail.com /hopalfred@gmail.com or call 4342 3588. The monthly fee is $350. If you want you can take a trial class for $50.
  5. The workshop coach is Alfred Hopkins, U.S. born drama and English teacher, assisted by Kiran Sharbis.
  6. We will put on a show towards the end of the year, including theatre and the skits we are filming.
  7. You can do it! We hope to see you soon!

Have you ever?

Have you ever dried your wet silky skin
                  in a dream of lost memories?
 Have you ever eaten hot slices of life,
                  chewing every piece with gusty pleasure?
 Have you ever thought your thoughts
as enclosed in electronic memories:
      bits and pieces
      flashing moments
      mashed potatoes
      unopened condoms
      unbrushed teeth
      a succulent sucker
      stuck in your memory cell?

Have you ever, have you ever?
      tell me softly
      tell me on the wind
      tell me in the burning sun
      tell me in the light of the night
      tell me with your sweet head cast upon your memory pillow.
Have you ever forgotten to remember?
lost in the broken cave, alone, abandoned, in love
       eating chestnut experiences
       reading his eyes
       writing her whispers
       stretching your soul
       beyond the earth, beyond, beyond...
       to yonder spark: that spark, that awesome spark
Have you? Have you? Have you? Have you? You have?

martes, 13 de agosto de 2013

Richard Boleslavsky: "Spiritual Concentration"

           What should an actor do to concentrate and to relax at the same time? Richard Boleslavsky (1889-1937) was a Polish born actor and exponent of the Moscow Art Theatre who believed in something he called "Spiritual Concentration," the ability to say to your feelings: "Stop and fill my entire being." He was convinced that this faculty can be developed and trained as much as one can train the human body. As a consequence, he developed a series of exercises aimed at enhancing inner concentration. 

          First, he asserted, the actor should concentrate his/her thoughts on each separate group of muscles, bringing them from the state of tension into one of relaxation.

          Second: "The verifying of your muscles in the sense of supplying them only with the necessary amount of strength during ther performance of the following exercises: walking, sitting down, the lifting up of different articles from the floor, taking down of same from a high shelf, pointing at different things, calling, greeting, lighting a cigarette, the handing of a burning match to someone while a third person tries to blow it out, kicking with your foot articles of a different weight, lacing a shoe, any physical exercise, hollowed by complete rest, the taking of an intricate position followed by an immediate relaxation of all the muscles with its natural result--the fall of the body, the giving of a blow, the defense from a real or imaginary blow.

"In doing all these exercises you must follow exclusively the example of nature and perform them in a high spirit and in a joyous frame of mind. You must understand as well that the relaxation of you muscles does not mean by any means their weakening. You must train your muscles every day without making it a meaningless series of physical exercises. Each of your muscles must understand the reason for its particular training."

True. A pianist practices every day. So does a singer, a sportsman. The actor's tool is his body. Some of our body functions are automatic--the beating of the heart, our breath. Others are learned: riding a bycycle, walking, dancing. We must develop the ability to tell our mind to send to each of our muscles the energy needed to perform each task we do in the process of a role-play or show. We do this intentionally in the exercises so that when we act we can send the precise amount of energy needed to express  the emotional state required in each segment of the play we are performing.