Eric Bryant

Meisner Class Journal 4.16.24

After a week off to enjoy the eclipse, it was great getting back to class. In our last class, we were offered the option to change up the words we use in the repetition exercise based on observed behavior in our partners. This week presented a new challenge: adding a “trigger event” as a circumstance. I liked the definitions that Jolene used (paraphrased because I don’t have my notebook handy):

Circumstances – the questions that need to be answered before the scene can begin (who, what, when, where, why, etc.). Very similar to Uta Hagen’s Six Questions.

Trigger event – Something that has just occurred that makes it necessary for you to enter the scene. This is what I would call the “moment before.” How it pertains to the repetition exercise is that Jolene gives each partner a piece of information about the scene partner, for example, they just won the lottery. This informs the initial moment of the repetition exercise, however the exercise is still about observing and responding to the partner’s behavior. The trigger provides context to the relationship with the partner. We are endowing the partner with the qualities of the trigger, but still just responding to their behavior.

Everyone seemed to enjoy adding the triggers, and overall most everyone worked well with incorporating the triggers into their work. For my part, I did notice that I was holding on to the trigger a bit, and that caused me to miss some of the behavior of my partner. Not an excuse, but there are certain people in the class with whom I have a difficult time identifying their behavior, and my scene partner is one of them. Where I really need to be mindful is not letting this frustrate me so that I begin trying to lead the exercise.

There are a few people in class who I really enjoy watching work. I think it’s because they have a sensitivity to their partners that sometimes I feel I lack, or they are very expressive which makes them easier to follow. I still have trouble during the feedback portion putting into words what it is that I am seeing, or not seeing. I don’t think it’s a lack of understanding of the principles, rather it’s an inability to identify which of the principles are being demonstrated (or not). After class a few of us were hanging out outside talking about the class and our own challenges, and I was glad to hear that I was not the only one who feels this way. I’m not discouraged, though. It is a new skill and a still-relatively-new vocabulary so I do know that it will take time.

Eric Bryant 4/16/2024

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