Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Funny or Die"

We (I) had a great morning Friday. Movement with Joe the Science Guy was the most physically exhausting thing we've done yet. There is no stopping when your stamina gives out. If you step out to the side to catch your breath, he comes up behind you, gives you a shove and says "don't be tired". After class I felt like regular people feel after yoga. Amazing. Like a child. Church. I love it. On to Voice with Joan. Joan took us out to the levy. We looked at our future, we looked at out past, we did warrior pose and got sun burns. We walked in silence.


When we came back in early from lunch - it was surprising how many chairs were set up for the lab. We thought it would just be Ronlin and maybe some staffers. There were maybe 25, 30 people there! MFA students, all of our teachers save Donlin, random folk - one 7 or 8 year old girl - Science Joe's daughter I think.
Ronlin hushes the crowd and addresses the class for one last instruction:

"Allright guys. Funny or die."


Have I mentioned that Ronlin sounds exactly like you always thought God might? Like he's up there with Keith David and Morgan Freeman on the list of People You Want To Narrate Your Documentary. Anyway.

Some of the acts were hard to watch. Everyone wanted so badly to be funny. Some had concocted elaborate un-funny unnecessary schtick. Hat gags. Awkward pratfalls. Everyone was funniest in the moments they had planned nothing. It was really enlightening. A cruel study in 'the clown does not 'do', the clown 'is'.

*Hold for a trip to the Logger with Chelsea the Hot Hippie. Chelsea is the den mother on Clown Alley for Ringling. She has a lot of good stories.*

Aww, the Logger doesn't take cards. Chelsea bought me 2 drinks, and that was very nice of her. And boy, those stories just keep getting better.

Anyhow, there was a big kerfuffle about the order of the scenes, and Dan and I deferred to another group because the girl was barfily nervous. Dan and I had coached this group though, and we were glad to let them go ahead...
...untill they started, and we started to notice they had stolen everything Dan and I had done with OUR scene. Awesome. I found myself getting very nervous, gritting my teeth and saying 'all I can do now is do it better'.

Dan and I were the first group to make it all the way through our bit without being sent back to 'come again'. (Ronlin has a series of phrases he likes, I'll get into that later because I love it). I think they were laughing, I was so nervous my face was contorting in ways i didn't intend. I was all of a sudden very glad this would be the last performance lab without even the smallest mask.
Ronlin didn't speak right away when we finished. He said he needed a minute to 'gestate' and Dan and I nervously joked and fidgeted. We got a lot of notes, but I felt they were at least more advanced than many, and we weren't sent to come again. He pointed out a weak choice we'd made, and corrected it instantly and brilliantly. The only thing I remember him saying to me directly was that I was strident, and strident is 'never funny'. Good to know. He's very direct with his corrections, which I like. "Not that, this". And then it's right. We were presented with our first noses, and we went directly to the bar.

If you can ever get your hands on a Mad River Double IPA, you won't regret it. That picture of the tasting room - follow it all the way to the right. The back part of the building there where the red truck is is Dell Arte's Riverview Campus, where we do most of our work, including the labs. Rather handy to the brewery, wouldn't you say?

The rest is history. We celebrated, we drank too much, we worsened our sun burns. We rest untill Monday, where we are to come in with our noses fitted, and have been promised a "much more physical week"


Many of us have the sense that they're still going easy on us, though we pretty much feel like this is an accurate visualisation of the training so far:

*Make me laugh!*

Only next week will tell. Tomorrow? Grange Breakfast and maybe the beach. I ordered a new set of poi. I bought a bikini. We'll see.

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