The Story in a Conversation
(This article has been re-written since it was first published in June 2005 because we now have new processes that create a simpler path to clearly identifying the story – Richard Sarell, August 2007)
Actors are often heard to say that identifying what is actually happening in the scene is the most difficult task. They generally have a strong connection to the way the character feels, they therefore have a strong connection to the way they feel the dialogue should be delivered but identifying the actual story that’s unfolding is a task that’s often confusing. However, once the story is clearly identified, how the character feels and how the dialogue will be delivered can change radically.
How do we resolve this difficulty?
Everyone seems to agree that when we are having a conversation we are always having it for a reason. We might be talking to someone to –
And we also agree that we always know why we are having the conversation (i.e. we know what this reason is). We know too, that the subject matter of conversation (i.e. the things that are being said) might not relate directly to the goal we are trying to achieve (i.e. the reason for having the conversation). For example –
And so on.
In A Real World
And in the
real world, when observing one of the above interactions, you would have
no difficulty in saying who threw down the challenge and what resulted.
You would plainly know who initiated the contest and whether one of the
participants had succeeded in their quest (a win) or if perhaps neither
was prepared to acquiesce (a draw). In other words you would know how
the conversation began and how it ended.
Dealing With A Scene
scenes obviously commence midway in a conversation. In these cases the
audience wont have seen the instigation but there will still be a sense
conveyed through the interaction that there is an instigator and a responder.
It is therefore of value for the actors to know how the conversation started,
and who the instigator was, even if it isn’t included in the scene.)
The instigator either initiates –
When PAUL COUSINS decided that method was a good starting point for sorting out the type of conflict a scene was founded on, it seemed a reasonable proposition that was worth testing out. At the time a guessed that it would deliver about 80% efficiency. However, a considerable amount of testing has revealed that its efficiency is much higher than that. In fact, it now seems that there are only three stories.
It Be That Simple?
story formats are immensely useful as they are all very active and do-able.
It is known at The Rehearsal Room as the Paul Cousins
The Kirsty Lee Hypothesis
It was plain to her that neither character was going to give in so the ending was unresolved (a draw) with both characters refusing to change their choices. So KIRSTY'S story structure was,
Beginning – Character ‘A’ blames character ‘B’;
Middle – Character ‘B’ resists the blame;
Neither character gives in.
These elements define the action, reaction and outcome of this story structure.
At that stage the Paul Cousins Contribution had not been discussed. And so what we now know is that KIRSTY'S story should really be framed as follows -
Testing It Out
At The Rehearsal Room we have been testing the KLH for at least twelve months with very positive results before the PCC emerged. These two processes are now thoroughly tested and found to be very productive.
you test it out too?
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