It's been a few weeks since I've updated, I realized. And so ... On November 26th, my Mom came into town for a visit to Amsterdam. It was quite wonderful, she came bearing gifts for my birthday and Christmas (including the entire season of Iron Chef on VCD and Final Fantasy Online -- which I'll get into later), as well as some deliveries from Josh (Sailor Moon S; the entire season, as well as Last Exile DVD 1 and Cardcaptor Sakura the Movie 2). I didn't have any days off, so she saw a lot of shows ...
Actually, I was supposed to have one day off; Sunday. Sophie came into town on Saturday night to see our Tour Show in Utrecht, and ten minutes before I went on stage my director phoned me and told me that I'd have to teach the Level 2 improv classes starting the following morning. I was understandably infuriated; not only had my Sunday been ruined, but my show began in five minutes and the last thing I want to be thinking about before doing a show is anything other than comedy. Certainly not theater politics. So, on Sunday, Sophie spent the day with my mother, and I taught the Level Two class on Character work in Improv scenes. It's a three week course with six people for four hours each Sunday. Thank god for www.improvisation.ws for their "take an exercise, leave an exercise" forum and also thanks to Chris Barnes and his character classes -- although I had some issues with the way the classes were run at Barnes' place, I still believe that he had an interesting character technique at the center of it all. So I taught some of that the second week.
For those of you who don't know, Chris Barnes improvisational character technique is all about Point Of View. I personally believe that there are four parts to a character: Physicality, Status, History and Beliefs, and Point of View. Physicality is how a character carries themselves through a space, Status is their place in life, History and Beliefs are the core foundation of their general world view, and Point of View is how they view a specific other at any given time. I had various exercises to explore the first four facets of character, but it was Barnes' technique that I borrowed for the fourth. See, Chris taught that there were 9 types of people in the world, and these nine viewed people in specific but fluid ways. A tragic romantic character always sees other people as possessing their greatest desire, and their behavior is informed by this POV. A boss-type sees someone as in need of direction. It seems simple, but in practice is a difficult and engaging way to improvise. However, each successful scene under this umbrella comes with an automatically installed relationship. It's really interesting stuff.
So, I've taught two of those classes now, and I'm looking forward to my final one this Sunday.
In other news, Tim, Suzi, Jim and I started a AD&D campaign. I'm not the only roleplayer at Boom, which is nice. Jim's our DM. It looks like another era at the theatre; there are no smokers in the cast of 9, and four of us are playing D&D on Sunday nights. It'll be nice to fill in the time until Sophie comes back to visit -- she's sequestered herself to her house and is working on the completion of Toast, which is the manga I wrote with her which she is now drawing for a publishing contest in the states.
Speaking of Roleplaying ... Final Fantasy XI Online is going to ruin my life. I haven't in recent memory been so singularly addicted to a game. This is my first MMORPG, and I can suddenly understand why people end up dead in Chinese Internet Cafes after playing these things for days. Wow. It's so good. For those who don't know (I seem to have two circles in my life; Dork Friends and Improv Friends), a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game is a video game that you play with thousands of other people all over the earth. There's no finite objective; you can't just go save the princess. Instead, the story is told in chapters which are released every few months by the parent company. So what do you do? Anything. You play the game by exploring the nearly limitless countryside with other *real people* and battling monsters and finding treasure. Or you can become a chef and create fancy meals, or a carpenter and build online houses. Be a blacksmith, a nun, a monk, a dragoon, a warrior, a wizard. Anything. Of course, a game is only as good as its environment and play mechanics (and music). Everything about this game is gorgeously rendered -- a constantly moving fantasy painting with a great soundtrack. Oh wow, it's so good. Still confused? You know the Matrix? Not the shitty last two movies -- I'm talking about the fantastic concept of a world that everyone's jacked into and playing constantly. This is like the first version of the Matrix. Give em 40 years and we'll start really getting lost inside these games.
I have an oven. I've made Pumpkin Bread. Colton's coming back in to do 2 weeks of shows. Things are ok!