Raising the STAKES in a scene!
Experience: Rehearsing "Time Stand Sill" for a showing at the Barrow Group Theatre; my scene partner Kaylin Clinton came up with the idea that we do the scene as if a bomb was about to go off and we need to get to the resolution before it does.Learning: Two things I found that the exercise did for us.One- It increased energy during the rehearsal which is always good when you have been rehearsing a lot or when nrgy is just down. And it helped discover new moments in the scene that perhaps you were glossing over.The key, I think, is not acting like chaos is about to happen but just to Act As If you need to get to an answer immediately before something bad happens.
Note from Director Stephen Jobes on Raising the Stakes!Learning:
Yes, the richnness of life in the face of death clarifies the time. A great decision especially for that play.Bernie Siegel in Love, Medicine, & Miracles, mentions, "Bored with life? Imagine you have a week to live; then you'll know what you love." Also, a heart breaking moment in the opening of Harvey Fierstein's Torchsong, "Oh, I've loved. I've loved a lot... I've just never loved enough." For a scene to have stakes, an actor must not only care, care a lot, but care enough. Care enough to fight, cross boundaries, for what you want/need.Sometimes, it seems, actors bring in a full heart of genuine emotion. On it own, it's not enough. Unless an actor pours that emotion into their scene partner, makes their partner suffer the consequence of their fight, it fails to be dramatic -- it's only emotion. Checking between partners becomes sharper; discoveries become fresh & original to each moment.