Update #5: Green Screen tests and Significance of Play in devising, performance and life.
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Hello again, it is the 5th update I've done for this blog, which is pretty mental that I have a lot of topics of discussion I want to talk about, and practices and skills I have been working on.
We have currently been put into new tiers for COVID-19, and would like to say hello from Teir-3 to most likely another. Although it does feel quite hindering in means of getting out there and collaborating with others, it is still a good time to use and reflect personally as a creative, and find where I fall behind and hone my skills.
I have been busy this week, mainly focusing on camerawork and video editing, so no trashy sprays to showcase today I'm afraid. I recently applied for The Northern Faculty of Social Arts for a chance to be one of 33 to receive funding for their projects and art which focuses and ask questions for our communities. I created a video piece showcasing some of the ideas I had to perform, my personality and expressed my interests, fingers crossed it all goes well.
I have also been working on MiTs Minds and Machines course, so far this has been both a difficult, interesting and thought provoking subject on human conscious, Ai and how we think compared to machines. This topic has been one of which you can formulate our own opinions providing reasoning. Per update, I will most likely change my opinions on subjects and ideas that I had, as is natural for topics of discussion and debate. This I feel however is more important in life and politics. As we see that politics is slowly devolving into tribal behavior and 'He who shouts the loudest' behavior, disallowing discussion and conversation and replacing with jeers and stubbornness.
Through the course we were questioned with 'Can machines think' or are they considered fake thinking because they can only think within the realms of their program?
I would agree that they can think, and they do, but are limited to what their program can provide, as they cannot comprehend anything their program has not gave them the ability to, it is outside their realm of thinking and processing. However, this can be argues with us as human beings, for example: we cannot imagine a new colour, it is out of our realm of thinking and cannot process it, a lot like a computer can't process a file it hasn't been given the program to process it. I see this through the lens of the idea of colour and limitations, as we process light rays and the speed they travel through our eyes and process it into colour, nothing you own or that exists has a colour, colour only exists in your brain processing the information received and converting it into something we understand and can use. This can be argued that we are very much similar to computers and programs, our brains being the hardware and the mind being software, processing information we receive into understandable information. A lot like giving a unknown file to a computer it will try and process it, regardless if it doesn't have the knowledge to do so, a lot like ourselves when we question the topic of death, the afterlife and human consciousness, we do not know the answers, yet we try to process it into information we understand anyway.
Can you tell I have taken a interest in the course?
Secondly, I wanted to try some new technical tricks for Final Cut Pro this week, one of which I really wanted to test, was greenscreen (Chroma Keying) in which using a colour (Originally blue, but now more commonly Green) to remove that colour from the video to display an image or video from the layer behind I did this using footage I recorded of the brick wall before I set up the whiteboard, so when I keyed the green, and added a fade transition into the key effect, it gave the illusion that you could see through the whiteboard. I wanted to test this idea, but decided if I am I would make it into a sketch, and have fun with the test, whilst also being able to test other stuff, such as using a lapel mic, super cutting the clip, and use of zoom and effects for comedic/ entertaining effect. (Video)
What I take from this learning, is mixing, transitions in use of special effects, and timing in cutting, if I had any feedback on myself, is to spray more accurately, as it will make the editing process easier, as well as checking the sound levels of the mic so I don't reach its peak making the audio quality distorted and lower quality.
Playfulness In Performance
For people looking outside looking into the devising process of theatre, it is often met with attitudes of theatre being childish, time-wasting and a mess-about, some of which are true, but those of which are true are what I believe crucial in performance.
I will be using personal experience and techniques from Meisner's methods (Meisner in Practice by Nick Moseley). As well as 'Perform every day' By Joshua Sofaer
I believe that the use of play during the devising process and performance is one of the crucial methods I like to integrated into my performance. The essence of subconsciously playing with the other actors on stage creates a lot more depth and an extra dimension into the performance. You can say your lines, speak with the correct emotion sure, but keeping that essence of now knowing what is coming next both for yourself the other actor and the audience is the subconcious power behind the performance.
Through life we can see that there are moments where the use of play or 'games' are seen, for example, wording your sentences in a way to convey a point without upsetting the person, or trying to act like you aren't terrified or the group of 6 lads you're passing on the street. These interpersonal games and subconcious play is a new layer into how we live, play and communicate.
Joshua Sofaer in his book 'Perform every day' quotes "If we begin to understand the things we take for granted everyday lives as constructs of performance in and of themselves,.... we become the audience of our very own private theatre" indicating that the sense of play and seeing our lives as performance is what can make us appreciate the things around us, so if we play in our lives as mirco-performances, why would we not accentuate that in theatre?
Through my performances, especially in Dada and the actors workshop module, we used the idea of play in both similar yet contrasting ways. The Dadaist movement in itself is in which considers itself 'anti-art' and uses the idea of breaking the social structures and rules of theatre and art to perform with a visceral punch, giving the actors in this way of performing a lot of room for playfulness. Marcel Duchamps' work 'Fountain' played with the idea of what art is and audience expectations of art, by presenting a ready-made piece which consisted of a urinal, that was signed 'R.Mutt' during 1917 in which the world was in political turmoil through The Great War, Dadaists believed that if the world was just as chaotic and non-sensical, then art should reciprocate the same energy. Duchamps work sparked controversial discussion as well as the majority of Dada work and performances in this time, actively sparking outrage in which some pieces were greeted with verbal complaints and destruction of the work. Myself and the other actors I performed with was playing to our audience with deliberate poor theatrical techniques, such as backs to the audience, mis-spoke words, mumbling, and poor spacing obscuring each other to be seen from the audience. This energy is both comical and frustrating to the audience whilst subverting their expectations for the rest of the performance.
Without the Dadaists playing with the norms of art and performance, their work would not have been as impactful on our world today, using memes as an example as a Dadaist offspring.
Memes are a excellent view on play in devising and creating. From the early memes such as the Rage comic characters to Pepe the Frog and others. The premise is that memes provided people with a easy to use format, and allowed them to play and change the work into something in which they see comical. I list
We see Dadaist and Surrealist movements make waves and fluxes in modern social media and memes, these in which play with a theme which the audience expects and removes, twists and bends it, usually for a comedic or infuriating effect on the audience. An example of this was a RickRolling, which replaced links with the promise of more information or answer, to Rick Astley's 'Never gonna give you up'. If life is seen as a performance, personally I see this as more effective at infuriating me than most performances.
We used play through actors workshop, we focused on a lot of Meisner's' methods whilst implementing our own. Whilst performing Act 4 Scene 3 of 'A comedy or errors' we focused on using playing with power between Dromio and Anthipholus, myself as Antipholus. When exploring character Nick Mosely states in Meisner in Practice: "...the other actor is the determent of your responses and behavior'' Through this we can see that play is often a necessity when performing with other actors, as the inflections that the other actor gives can vary, even minute it can change how a person would naturally respond to that line. We played with power with our natural heights as the actor of Dromio performed as a subservient, sneaky slave, despite being considerably taller than me in height. This plays with the norms and perception of height being related to power. We also played with the idea of tossing a pouch of money to each other, this was spurred a last minute decision between us, which through this, it gave the audience subliminal notions of power changes between the characters as well as a playful and interesting performance to watch.
To conclude, personally I believe that the focus on play through devising and performance is a crucial aspect to a natural and impactful performance, without it, I believe you are providing the audience with a sub-par performance, in which the world of theatre 'anything can happen' still rings strong.
AOTW: Mini Map, By Henry Joynson (@friendly_fredy)
Made by a good friend of mine, his work has a instantly recognizable and original style and design to his work, with heavy themes of fantasy and traditional mapmaking methods within them. This provides the work with an enthralling and captivating nature to his work, and a catalyst for imagination and storytelling creativity within the viewer of his work. The intricacy of the penwork and complimentary colour schemes within the work also enraptures mood and environment of the fantasy locations. Having the pleasure to play a session ran by the one and only, it is clear to see that creativity, imagination and attention to detail are one of which are limitless with this artist, and I am excited to see many more of the pieces that are to be made.
SOTW: From Halcyon, By Will Varley
Recently, I've been missing studying at University, living with people in which I care much for, whether that be sharing drinks, feelings or a living room after a long lecture with some sub-par takeaway. In which these people I don't speak to much anymore, and miss sharing those memories and moments with. I discovered Will Varley around first year of studying, and had a phase where I would listen to him constantly. Occasionally hear others listen to him also. This one particular has always stuck with me. It captures the process of life as time progresses, focusing on very human emotions, whilst twisting with the cosmic insignificance of ourselves in a grand scale. Yet to us, no matter how cosmically insignificant we are in the endless expanse of the universe, we mean everything to the people around us, our family, friends, past loves and current ones, the friendly or awkward moments shared with strangers and the memories that stick with those mentioned above. All of which I miss, and as the year slowly approaches a close, it feels like a end of a chapter in my life, which is scary, yet unstoppable. For me, when it comes to an end of a chapter to reflect on the end of that chapter itself, in which this song aids in helps me do so.
It's been a brief and rushed update, pinky promise I won't do this update last minute again. For now peace out and I'll catch you next update.
EDIT: Words and sentencing (30/11/2020)