Open Scenes - Let's Practice! - (Givens, Objective, Hurdles, and Tactics)


"A Decision Must Be Made..."
Remember this from Drama I?

The purpose of the OPEN SCENE is to give the actor a script that can be interpreted many different ways.


"Acting doesn't have anything to do with listening to the words. We never really listen, in general conversation, to what another person is saying. We LISTEN TO WHAT THEY MEAN. And what they mean is often quite apart from the words. When you see a scene between two actors that really comes off you can be damned sure they're not listening to each other ‑‑ they're feeling what the other person is trying to get at." - Jack Lemmon






Samples
OPEN SCENES for TWO actors

STEP ONE
Get with a partner and pick a scene from the two below.


#1 


A:  You!
B:  No!
A:  Wait. Don’t go.
B:  Bye.    

 
#2
 
A:   How?
B:   Don’t talk!
A:    Ok!
B:   Just go. 


STEP TWO

FIND YOUR OWN SPACE

Now the actors must begin to run the scene on their feet and begin to fill in what's happening.

Let the scene go to a couple of different scenarios before you settle. 



STEP THREE

NOW....WRITE IT ALL DOWN!!!

The actors must answer the following questions:

1.) Who are you? (character)
2.) What are you doing? (action of the scene)
3.) What's the location?
4.) What are the circumstances? (the givens)

5.) What is the conflict? (who are you up against?)

6.) How are they stopping you? (Hurdle or what's in your way)

7.) What are going to do to get it anyway? (Tactics)

 
NOW...WRITE DOWN ALL THE SUBTEXT
Everything that is actually being said under the line..the interior monologue for that character.

NOTE: We are working to build a complete story!!!




 _______________________________________________________________

Once that exercise is over, transition into the following scenes

Remember to follow all the steps above for each scene.

MORE SCENES
 
 Two Actors
 
A: Hey.
B: Hello.
A: Do you want a mint?
B: No thanks.
A: Sure.
B: Wait, why?
A: No special reason.
B: Oh.
A: Want one?
B: OK, thanks.
A: Thank you.
 


NOTE: The meaning discovered in the scene comes from the action and the subtext, which  means, literally, "under the text" or "between the lines"; it is, of course, nonverbal. 
 
When the exercises are performed, it becomes clear that the content mode of the dialogue becomes relatively insignificant.
 

ANOTHER SCENE

For Two Actors
 
A:    Hello.
B:    Hello.
A:   I didn't expect to find you here.
B:   You did though. I might say the same for you.
A:   Are you going to be busy between now and dinner?
B:   Not really. Not busy.
A:   Would you like to talk for a while?
B:    I might. For a while.
A:   Good.
B:   Good.

 

And Another  

A:   Hi.
B:   Hello.
A:   What'd you do last night?
B:   Oh, not much. How about you?
A:   Oh, watched a little T.V.
B:   Anything good?
A:   Well, no. Not really.
B:   See you later.
A:   O.K.

 

 VARIATIONS

Try either of the above scenes (as assigned by your instructor) "as if" it is occurring in the following given circumstances:

  1. A casual pick up.
  2. Husband and wife meeting the night after a trial separation.
  3. Father and daughter at breakfast after she's been out late.
  4. High school girls (college) meeting after each suspects the other of dating a mutual boyfriend.
  5. A rejection of friendship.
  6. Lovers unable to meet except for a few moments.
  7. Two people who broke off their engagement almost one year ago and haven't seen each other since.
  8. Any of the above as a telephone call.



 
 







 
 

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