I/Mmature Student.8 Loving the arts.

End of week 1 of looking at Drama and Script. Fantastic. Lots learned/to learn. Making new friends…Here’s some things from the arts I love….

The first group therapy. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.

 

 

Bill Hicks final TV appearance…

 

Gary Oldman chewing up the scenery in True Romance…

 

Supermans first flight into action

 

Bowie  at his most discordant

 

Talking Heads at their most energetic.

I/Mmature Student. 6. Great actors (and bitchin’)

Great acting is awesome. Great actors are also equally awesome. I was making some jokes about the craft the other day and would just like to clear up that I hold great acting with the same level of reverence as I hold the music of Bowie or the comedy of Hicks. I cracked a joke about Tom Cruise the other day and yet one of the finest pieces of screen acting I’ve ever witnessed is in Mission Impossible 3 where he has to first bargain, then beg for the life of his wife and ends the scene (later in the film) with silent utter devastation. All of this being played off the equally formidable, magnificent and tragic Philip Seymour Hoffman Here it is below…

 

How good is that? Now go watch the rest.

I had an acting lecture today. It was awesome. The lecturer was awesome. We were even entertained to an excellent piece of story telling within the lecture that was informative, engaging and at times hilarious. As I said. Actors are awesome. People that lecture in acting are awesome too. Is this all sounding just a bit too positive for my regular style of blog? Ah well maybe I’ve another point to make.

A more typical start to such a blog from me might go…The Actor…I am a tool. But I didn’t do that because this is a less humour based blog.

As a comedian I often encounter a common response from people. They often think whatever I am engaging in, from a chat about the weather to a discussion on Europe that it I come to it from a point of cynicism and scorn. This in itself shows a lack of understanding of what comedy does. Yes comedians can bring that to the table. But we also bring waves of empathy, joy, surrealism, tension and celebration. That’s right. We do spend as much time celebrating the foibles of humanity as we do laughing at them. Awesome.

Last week I had a meet with the second and third year drama and script students and it was put to me that we should try to engage and socialise with those studying more performance based pathways as they sometimes worry the “writers area wee bit up themselves.” I was informed there’s a karaoke night where all groups let their hair down. I in turn wrote a humour based blog about this. See here…

https://johnscottcomedy.com/2016/09/18/immature-student-3/

Now you could read this as, “Could you possibly go make a tit of yourself so the actors can feel better about themselves.” As if I comedian would be so cynical. You can also read it as., “We all have a great time together at that perfect social leveller karaoke.”

It’s hugely important to me to be accepted by performance pathways as I hope to participate in at as well. Hey we work in a trade founded in insecurity. Awesome.

In todays lecture we were shown an excellent clip of Marlon Brando being interviewed quite aggressively by Dick Cavett.  This isn’t unusual of Cavett he often had a confrontational style. He puts to Brando the question, “Why do you down grade acting as a profession.” And I think Brando deals with it beautifully. You see, as things unfold it’s actually Dick Cavett who is trying to bring grandeur, mystery and greatness to the art form while Brando tries (and succeeds) to demystify it and generally get across the point that acting is for all and not just for those with some kind of mystical elite powers.

The discussion starts around 5.40 in  clip number 3 and ends in clip 4…

 

How awesome is Brando.

Also today as groups we engaged in a brief exercise in displaying 6 emotions of acting. My groups was awe. What? Did you think I was repeating that word endlessly without reason? Hey, I write. We love our tricks. So as a group we were to arrive at an expression of awe by committee. Here’s what unfolded.

ME.              Is awe wide eyed?

ACTRESS.  Right so what are we going for here? Realism or Panto.

ME.             Is there perhaps a slackening of the face?

ACTRESS. So you want us to look bored.

So as you can see I was dismissed by the lass fairly abruptly. We’re back to those insecurities again aren’t we? Here’s the first image that came up on Googling awe…

awe

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

So in this situation I think we had a wee bit of a reversal of “The writers are a bit up themselves.” Panic not. I can accept such things. As I say we’re an art form founded on insecurity. Buuuut…I will issue a warning. I wont accept such dismissiveness as things unfold. Confront, challenge, debate but don’t dismiss. Maybe I’ll develop a three strikes and you’re out system. Or two verbal warnings then a written. Or perhaps I’ll word it in the styleeee of da great bard,

“Yo! Should I unclasp this tongue, from which spits acid so potent it doth sear beyond bone and skin to thy very soul . Your word and clatter shall be scattered. Like a gasp within a hurricane…Bitches.” 

All we’re saying is…a bit manners please.

I/Mmature Student 3. More Macbeth. More fellow writers.

Did you know that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth as his response to the Gunpowder plot? I did actually know this myself but it had gone to the recess of my mind until I started reading it  again the other day. The version I’m reading is the Arden publication that comes with helpful notes for those, like me, not well verses in The Bard.  Shakespeare was obviously loyal to the Royal Court and with good reason if James 1st had detected any obvious sedition in his work he would have chopped his head off. Which you have to admit is probably a bit worse than a one star review. For a more modern example of a similar situation see Mel and Sue’s loyalty to the Court of the BBC when choosing not to flee to  Channel 4 with The Bake Off. Trust me I’ve met some BBC producers and if they thought they could get away with the odd beheading the gates to their studios would now currently be decorated with the heads of the former hosts of Top Gear. On a personal note I could not give but one fuck as to what Channel people want to watch people bake on. I’m of the school of thought that reality TV is just another nail in the coffin of  quality TV Drama. Although I have often thought we could improve The Jeremy Kyle show by getting rid of the lie detector test and just make the opposing factions fight some crocodiles.

So last week I got to meet the rest of Northumbria’s second and third year writers. Some of them knew me already due to trips to the local comedy club. The seem a lovely bunch. I was asked in a group bonding session what I looked forward to most in the coming years and replied collaborating with others. Stand up is a lonely job and having worked in a sketch show and produced my own panel show I’m fully aware of the good results you can get in a gang. The more experienced students offered good advice about joining the writing and drama society as this way we can get time to know the actors better and form some bonds. Apparently at times the actors can worry the writers think ourselves a wee bit above them. How silly, we don’t think ourselves better than them at times. We know we’re better than them all the time. This reminded me of the opening credits of the meta superhero movie Dead Pool. When the credits got to the point “Written By.” It quite knowingly said, “The real heroes of this story.” (I’ll add a knowing wink here as I am partially joking. 😉 Actually I’m fully joking. I’ve admired “The Shit” actors can do for decades. They have abilities way beyond my own. Just look at how long Tom Cruise has managed to convince us he’s straight.

I’m off to see two plays next week. This is more plays than I’ve seen this year and I’m quite excited to be immersing myself in a strand of the arts I’m not familiar with. I’ll report more on that once having seen them.

So I think that’s me for the day. It’s sunny so I’m off out for a walk. On return I’ve a list of stuff needs doing, so we’ll get onto that. Have a nice Sunday all.