We’ve had a good couple of studios since the last blog entry. One of our collaborators, Brendan, built a series of exercises exploring silent scenes. Some with no dialogue, and some where the intent is to communicate specific words, but that communication must be made without the benefit of spoken language. It was a fantastic reminder of how, without the crutch of language, the demands on the quality of listening and observation of partner grow exponentially.
These experiments got me thinking about the context of conversations. In one experiment, Brendan used a scene from a well known story but kept the name of it from us. The dialogue generated a variety of scenarios and exciting moments that never would have occurred if we had all the context and back story. As a result, this past week I asked the collaborators to transcribe a conversation they overheard over a specific 24 hour period. I requested they include no context at all, so that we can play with these dialogues free from those constraints.
As you read, notice your own desire to fill in the holes of context. There is something inherently human about the desire to create story and narrative out of the snippets of information we get in everyday life. I love that. I’m excited by the idea of making the audience lean forward and try to build the story around the events they witness. It feels true to me. Here are some of our overheard dialogues…
B. What? What is he talking about?
A. This fire wood is too wet to start a fire. I can’t even get this kindling going.
B. Will it not light if it is wet?
A. No, I am obsessed with my fire wood at home. I turn it two or three time a weekend to keep it from getting wet.
B. What if you put the bigger logs by the fire so they dry?
A. Ok….do it…
B. What? I am sorry…am I being too much? Am I micro-managing?
B: Oh, really?
A: Yeah, it was great. Everyone had to make a different dish–appetizer, main course, dessert, and there were judges who had to taste it all. I made bacon fudge.
B: Have you had those bacon chocolate bars they have downstairs?
A: Oh yeah, they’re good.
C: (laughing) This whole time you were talking, I thought you were saying vegan, not bacon.
A: (laughing) Yeah, it’s the total opposite
B: I’ve heard a lot of vegetarians say that bacon is their gateway drug.
C: For me, it’s shrimp.
B: Yeah! But I don’t wanna eat crazy monster zombie.
CHICK: They’re a little bit too gaga. And I think the glasses with the fairy tattoo is too – there’s too many messages going on.
GUY: So just the glasses will be enough Gaga.
CHICK: Definitely enough Gaga.
Woman: This is too much pressure.
Woman 1: Then some vegetables.
Woman 2: I don’ do them. That’s not true. I did them last week. This is really stressful. Life is all stress. I hate my apartment too.
Woman 1: She’ll have the white chocolate chip.
Woman 2; I think I need take some time off. Couldn’t pick out a – but I don’t get time off until next year so I would have to quit.