BIOMECHANICS: The Art of Movement!

Scenes Theatre BioMX 2009 LUL
2009 acting2 SCENES [pages]
Scene Study (SS)

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scenes in BM I -- scenes 2 (SS)
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2007 class -- with directors (finals)

new Spring 2002 THR221 Intermediate Acting (focus on biomechanics) * Comedy & Biomechanics Forum *


Organization of the book : SYNOPSIS

We spent enough time on Cecily, what about Algernon?

When did he decide to propose? Now? When he came? Before he saw her?

So, the preacting!

His prop -- the summer straw hat. Takes it off. The transition to falling on his knees (throws it away? at the Jack's corner?).

Hey, Anatoly! How about the line-by-line analysis and Biomechanics?

Do you want it? Do you know how to do it?

THR221 Intermediate Acting (BM) Textbook Spring 2003:
Actors on Acting 051788478X
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The same scene as a monologue -- mono analysis

2003 * THR221 Intermediate Acting : new pages in BM+ @ *


Scene Analysis in Directing (Stagematrix) and Acting I & III Directories!


Combination of classics and modern drama for in-class scenes.

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One Act Fest
claqssic: Oedipus X 2005 *


Analysis and rehearsals only with a single task each time: genre, situation (dram-composition), characters, space, physicalization, prop and etc.

Analysis -- WHAT, rehearsals -- HOW.

The Competition of Messages: select which medium you want to use to express the thought (3 Texts): you can do it through different features of the character (physicalization, vocalization). No redundency: emotional (dramatic) evolution of conflict must have an order, you move from one point to another -- never return to the same choice again. Continuety -- and evolution!

If you are not establish everything needed in exposition, you have to return to it and fix it. If there is no climax, go back and find why there is no "rising action" -- and so on.

Stuck? No ideas to improve the scene? Try different approaches (between BM and Method). Put away the text and do improvisation. It doesn't matter how you get moving. Don't stay idle. Switch the parts with your partner. Go back to your "Actor's Text" -- you return to analysis phase, every time you hit the performance problems.

2004 & After

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comedy scripts Monty Python's Flying Circus


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SS is even more effective with the Biomechanics than Monologue Studies!
ALGERNON. Oh, I don't care about Jack. I don't care for anybody in the whole world but you. I love you, Cecily. You will marry me, won't you?

CECILY. You silly boy! Of course. Why, we have been engaged for the last three months.

ALGERNON. For the last three months?

CECILY. Yes, it will be exactly three months on Thursday.

ALGERNON. But how did we become engaged?

CECILY. Well, ever since dear Uncle Jack first confessed to us that he had a younger brother who was very wicked and bad, you of course have formed the chief topic of conversation between myself and Miss Prism. And of course a man who is much talked about is always very attractive. One feels there must be something in him, after all. I daresay it was foolish of me, but I fell in love with you, Ernest.

ALGERNON. Darling! And when was the engagement actually settled?

CECILY. On the 14th of February last. Worn out by your entire ignorance of my existence, I determined to end the matter one way or the other, and after a long struggle with myself I accepted you under this dear old tree here. The next day I bought this little ring in your name, and this is the little bangle with the true lover's knot I promised you always to wear.

ALGERNON. Did I give you this? It's very pretty, isn't it?

CECILY. Yes, you've wonderfully good taste, Ernest. It's the excuse I've always given for your leading such a bad life. And this is the box in which I keep all your dear letters. [Kneels at table, opens box, and produces letters tied up with blue ribbon.]

ALGERNON. My letters! But, my own sweet Cecily, I have never written you any letters.

CECILY. You need hardly remind me of that, Ernest. I remember only too well that I was forced to write your letters for you. I wrote always three times a week, and sometimes oftener.

ALGERNON. Oh, do let me read them, Cecily?

CECILY. Oh, I couldn't possibly. They would make you far too conceited. [Replaces box.] The three you wrote me after I had broken of the engagement are so beautiful, and so badly spelled, that even now I can hardly read them without crying a little.

ALGERNON. But was our engagement ever broken off?

CECILY. Of course it was. On the 22nd of last March. You can see the entry if you like. [Shows diary.] 'To-day I broke off my engagement with Ernest. I feel it is better to do so. The weather still continues charming.'

ALGERNON. But why on earth did you break it of? What had I done? I had done nothing at all. Cecily, I am very much hurt indeed to hear you broke it off. Particularly when the weather was so charming.

CECILY. It would hardly have been a really serious engagement if it hadn't been broken off at least once. But I forgave you before the week was out.

ALGERNON. [Crossing to her, and kneeling.] What a perfect angel you are, Cecily.


A few words about Algernon. Initially, he is in charge of the game, he is the manipulator. What we watch is how he becomes manipulated. Cecily replaces Lady Bracknell! With his own weapons -- fantacies that are more power than the real!

See it as a dance for two, when she begins to lead. At every new change (the ring, the diary, the letters) change the position between the two. Don't get up, let Algernon follow her on his knees!

The last line -- "What a perfect angel you are, Cecily!" How to make us see through his eyes?...

Of course, the biggest fun for a director is the group mise-en-scenes!

Well, you have to understand what takes place in your scene, you have to understand your character -- and, yes, your partner's character too. Not only you have to understand the text, you MUST know what you want to do it with it!

How about if we take the same scene from "The Importance of Being Earnest" (the one we use for Cecily's Monologue)?

Use the showcases for more scenes!
The Endgame, Beckett:

[ Finale ]

It's we are obliged to each other.
(Pause. Clov goes towards door.)
One thing more.
(Clov halts.)
A last favor.
(Exit Clov.)
Cover me with the sheet.
(Long pause.)
No? Good.
Me to play.
(Pause. Wearily.)
Old endgame lost of old, play and lose and have done with losing.
(Pause. More animated.)
Let me see.
(Pause.) Ah yes!
(He tries to move the chair, using the gaff as before. Enter Clov, dressed for the road. Panama hat, tweed coat, raincoat over his arm, umbrella, bag. He halts by the door and stands there, impassive and motionless, his eyes fixed on Hamm, till the end. Hamm gives up:) Good.
(He throws away the gaff, makes to throw away the dog, thinks better of it.)
Take it easy.
And now?
Raise hat.
(He raises his toque.)
Peace to our... arses.
And put on again.
(He puts on his toque.)
(Pause. He takes off his glasses.)
(He takes out his handkerchief and, without unfolding it, wipes his glasses.)
And put on again.
(He puts on his glasses, puts back the handkerchief in his pocket.) We're coming. A few more squirms like that and I'll call.
A little poetry.
You prayed---
(Pause. He corrects himself.)
You CRIED for night; it comes---
(Pause. He corrects himself.)
It FALLS: now cry in darkness.
(He repeats, chanting.)
You cried for night; it falls: now cry in darkness.
Nicely put, that.
And now?
Moments for nothing, now as always, time was never and time is over, reckoning closed and story ended.
(Pause. Narrative tone.)
If he could have his child with him...
It was the moment I was waiting for.
You don't want to abandon him? You want him to bloom while you are withering? Be there to solace your last million last moments?
(Pause.) He doesn't realize, all he knows is hunger, and cold, and death to crown it all. But you! You ought to know what the earth is like, nowadays. Oh I put him before his responsibilities!
(Pause. Normal tone.)
Well, there we are, there I am, that's enough.
(He raises the whistle to his lips, hesitates, drops it. Pause.) Yes, truly! (He whistles. Pause. Louder. Pause.) Good. (Pause.) Father! (Pause. Louder.) Father! (Pause.) Good. (Pause.) We're coming. (Pause.) And to end up with? (Pause.) Discard. (He throws away the dog. He tears the whistle from his neck.) With my compliments. (He throws the whistle towards the auditorium. Pause. He sniffs. Soft.) Clov! (Long pause.) No? Good. (He takes out the handkerchief.) Since that's the way we're playing it... (he unfolds handkerchief) ...let's play it that way... (he unfolds) ...and speak no more about it... (he finishes unfolding) ...speak no more. (He holds handkerchief spread out before him.) Old stancher! (Pause.) You... remain. (Pause. He covers his face with handkerchief, lowers his arms to armrests, remains motionless.)
(Brief tableau.)


[ scenes in class * ]


They are comedies only, the scenes (top left frame, listing). I will place the links to My SHOWS and you can select more from the scripts online. Male-Male, Female-Female and etc.

You will have too many questions, if you do not know much about Playscript Analysis. Also, I recommend to read the SceneStudy (SS) pages in Acting and Directing.

[more on "The Importance of Being Earnest" in Action One; I use Wilde as a showcase for THR121 Fundamentals of Acting]


You have to have ideas to try. Do not rely on improv and inspiration too much. Read Act II. The Inspector General and take the mini-scene between Mr. K and Jo.

What is going on between the two? 6 Characters, Pirandello:

At this point, the DOOR-KEEPER has entered from the stage door and advances towards the manager's table, taking off his braided cap. During this manoeuvre, the Six CHARACTERS enter, and stop by the door at back of stage, so that when the DOOR-KEEPER is about to announce their coming to the MANAGER, they are already on the stage. A tenuous light surrounds them, almost as if irradiated by them -- the faint breath of their fantastic reality.

This light will disappear when they come forward towards the actors. They preserve, however, something of the dream lightness in which they seem almost suspended; but this does not detract from the essential reality of their forms and expressions.

He who is known as THE FATHER is a man of about 50: hair, reddish in colour, thin at the temples; he is not bald, however; thick moustaches, falling over his still fresh mouth, which often opens in an empty and uncertain smile. He is fattish, pale; with an especially wide forehead. He has blue, oval-shaped eyes, very clear and piercing. Wears light trousers and a dark jacket. He is alternatively mellifluous and violent in his manner.

THE MOTHER seems crushed and terrified as if by an intolerable weight of shame and abasement. She is dressed in modest black and wears a thick widow's veil of crêpe. When she lifts this, she reveals a wax-like face. She always keeps her eyes downcast.

THE STEP-DAUGHTER, is dashing, almost impudent, beautiful. She wears mourning too, but with great elegance. She shows contempt for the timid half-frightened manner of the wretched BOY (14 years old, and also dressed in black); on the other hand, she displays a lively tenderness for her little sister, THE CHILD (about four), who is dressed in white, with a black silk sash at the waist.

THE SON (22) tall, severe in his attitude of contempt for THE FATHER, supercilious and indifferent to THE MOTHER. He looks as if he had come on the stage against his will.

Door-keeper [cap in hand]. Excuse me, sir . . .

The Manager [rudely]. Eh? What is it?

Door-keeper [timidly]. These people are asking for you, sir.

The Manager [furious]. I am rehearsing, and you know perfectly well no one's allowed to come in during rehearsals! [Turning to the CHARACTERS.] Who are you, please? What do you want?

The Father [coming forward a little, followed by the others who seem embarrassed]. As a matter of fact . . . we have come here in search of an author . . .

The Manager [half angry, half amazed]. An author? What author?

The Father. Any author, sir.

The Manager. But there's no author here. We are not rehearsing a new piece.

The Step-Daughter [vivaciously]. So much the better, so much the better! We can be your new piece.

An Actor [coming forward from the others]. Oh, do you hear that?

The Father [to STEP-DAUGHTER]. Yes, but if the author isn't here . . . [To MANAGER.] unless you would be willing . . .

The Manager. You are trying to be funny.

The Father. No, for Heaven's sake, what are you saying? We bring you a drama, sir.

The Step-Daughter. We may be your fortune.

The Manager. Will you oblige me by going away? We haven't time to waste with mad people.

The Father [mellifluously]. Oh sir, you know well that life is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.

The Manager. What the devil is he talking about?

The Father. I say that to reverse the ordinary process may well be considered a madness: that is, to create credible situations, in order that they may appear true. But permit me to observe that if this be madness, it is the sole raison d'être of your profession, gentlemen. [The ACTORS look hurt and perplexed.]

The Manager [getting up and looking at him]. So our profession seems to you one worthy of madmen then?

The Father. Well, to make seem true that which isn't true . . . without any need . . . for a joke as it were . . . Isn't that your mission, gentlemen: to give life to fantastic characters on the stage?

The Manager [interpreting the rising anger of the COMPANY]. But I would beg you to believe, my dear sir, that the profession of the comedian is a noble one. If today, as things go, the playwrights give us stupid comedies to play and puppets to represent instead of men, remember we are proud to have given life to immortal works here on these very boards! [The ACTORS, satisfied, applaud their MANAGER.]

The Father [interrupting furiously]. Exactly, perfectly, to living beings more alive than those who breathe and wear clothes: beings less real perhaps, but truer! I agree with you entirely. [The ACTORS look at one another in amazement.]

The Manager. But what do you mean? Before, you said . . .

The Father. No, excuse me, I meant it for you, sir, who were crying out that you had no time to lose with madmen, while no one better than yourself knows that nature uses the instrument of human fantasy in order to pursue her high creative purpose.

The Manager. Very well, -- but where does all this take us?

The Father. Nowhere! It is merely to show you that one is born to life in many forms, in many shapes, as tree, or as stone, as water, as butterfly, or as woman. So one may also be born a character in a play.

The Manager [with feigned comic dismay]. So you and these other friends of yours have been born characters?

The Father. Exactly, and alive as you see! [MANAGER and ACTORS burst out laughing.]

The Father [hurt]. I am sorry you laugh, because we carry in us a drama, as you can guess from this woman here veiled in black.

The Manager [losing patience at last and almost indignant]. Oh, chuck it! Get away please! Clear out of here! [To PROPERTY MAN.] For Heaven's sake, turn them out!

The Father [resisting]. No, no, look here, we . . .

The Manager [roaring]. We come here to work, you know.

Leading Actor. One cannot let oneself be made such a fool of.

The Father [determined, coming forward]. I marvel at your incredulity, gentlemen. Are you not accustomed to see the characters created by an author spring to life in yourselves and face each other? Just because there is no "book" [Pointing to the PROMPTER'S box.] which contains us, you refuse to believe . . .

The Step-Daughter [advances towards MANAGER, smiling and coquettish]. Believe me, we are really six most interesting characters, sir; side-tracked however.

The Father. Yes, that is the word! [To MANAGER all at once.] In the sense, that is, that the author who created us alive no longer wished, or was no longer able, materially to put us into a work of art. And this was a real crime, sir; because he who has had the luck to be born a character can laugh even at death. He cannot die. The man, the writer, the instrument of the creation will die, but his creation does not die. And to live for ever, it does not need to have extraordinary gifts or to be able to work wonders. Who was Sancho Panza? Who was Don Abbondio? Yet they live eternally because -- live germs as they were -- they had the fortune to find a fecundating matrix, a fantasy which could raise and nourish them: make them live for ever!

The Manager. That is quite all right. But what do you want here, all of you?

The Father. We want to live.

The Manager [ironically]. For Eternity?

The Father. No, sir, only for a moment . . . in you.

An Actor. Just listen to him!

Leading Lady. They want to live, in us . . ..

Juvenile Lead [pointing to the STEP-DAUGHTER]. I've no objection, as far as that one is concerned!

The Father. Look here! look here! The comedy has to be made. [To the MANAGER.] But if you and your actors are willing, we can soon concert it among ourselves.

The Manager [annoyed]. But what do you want to concert? We don't go in for concerts here. Here we play dramas and comedies!

The Father. Exactly! That is just why we have come to you.

The Manager. And where is the "book"?

The Father. It is in us! [The ACTORS laugh.] The drama is in us, and we are the drama. We are impatient to play it. Our inner passion drives us on to this.

The Step-Daughter [disdainful, alluring, treacherous, full of impudence]. My passion, sir! Ah, if you only knew! My passion for him! [Points to the FATHER and makes a pretence of embracing him. Then she breaks out into a loud laugh.]

The Father [angrily]. Behave yourself! And please don't laugh in that fashion.

The Step-Daughter. With your permission, gentlemen, I, who am a two months' orphan, will show you how I can dance and sing. [Sings and then dances Prenez garde à Tchou-Tchin-Tchou.]

Les chinois sont un peuple malin,
De Shangal à Pekin,
Ils ont mis des écriteaux partout:
Prenez garde à Tchou-Tchin-Tchou.

[ Analysis ]


Other comedies I am using in Intermediate Acting class: Mikado and 12th Night

The Book of Spectator

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