Emotional Recall Part Three

Now that we've incorporated Life and Behavior into a mini-scene on stage, the next step is to add Words. We do that in the E.R., Part Three.

Choose a Monologue

Now that the actor is familiar with the Emotional Recall, it's time to use all that homework and apply it to a playwright's words. I have my students memorize a monologue from a play that has an emotional moment coinciding with the emotional moment of the actor's recall. Like the monologue that is memorized for the Fallout exercise, no acting choices are required while memorizing. I want the actor to only memorize the words until we're ready to use them in the rehearsal process with the exercise.

Choosing the right monologue is a key to this exercise. The most important part is that "the moment" of the monologue must parallel "the moment" of the recall in both Parts One and Two. For example, if the E.R., Part One, dealt with a moment of fear, then the monologue must deal with fear as well. The moment of the monologue must parallel the moment of the Emotional Recall or the exercise won't work.

The Jumping-Off Point

In the preparatory rehearsal at home, the actor decides where in the Emotional Recall, Part Two, would be the best jumping-off place in her recall for the author's words to begin. "What is the springboard or motivation from my recall that gets me into the first line?" The actor could be a quarter of the way, halfway, or near the end of her E.R. (as inner monologue) before starting the words of the speech.

Home rehearsal is essential. The actor needs to know where she wants to be in her own recall to start the author's words. She must connect the moment of her recall to the moment in the monologue. In Part Three, this inner life will be augmented by words. We now have Life, Behavior, and Words!

Rehearsing at Home

Rehearsing Part Three of the E.R. is basically the same as rehearsing Part Two, except that the actor adds the words. This is why it's so important that the monologue is memorized before trying to rehearse.

So let's see what's happening at this point: The actor's mind is actively involved in her Emotional Recall (Life), she is doing a number of tasks (Activity/Behavior), and at least through a large part of this exercise, she is speaking a monologue (Words) motivated by the Life and the Behavior. All the work from Parts One and Two still apply—she's still running late, she's only got fifteen minutes. The addition for Part Three is the monologue. That's a lot of stuff going on!

"You're repeating Part Two exactly, only now your mouth is speaking words," I'll explain. "But you're still trusting Parts One and Two. The words could be treated as gibberish—what you're really saying is your Emotional Recall, even if the words being spoken are that of the monologue."

The rehearsal may not make logical sense at this point. There are going to be moments when the words may not jive with the activity or the E.R. The actor could be polishing a shoe and speaking as if she's talking to a human being. That's okay—the purpose of the exercise is to ground the life behind the words so intently in the subconscious that they have a life of their own.

Keeping the tasks for the preparation is vitally important. The tasks keep the actor grounded and allow her to explore the Emotional Recall. Typically most if not all of those tasks would be edited out for a real performance, but they are vital for the preparation process.

In Class

The beginning of Part Three of the E.R. doesn't look much different from the beginning of Part Two. The stage is set to be the actor's apartment or house, and she comes in or starts her Emotional Recall and tasks while preparing for the very important event. She is running late, which means she has to complete the exercise in fifteen minutes. Somewhere in the exercise, while doing the tasks, the actor begins to talk. She continues to do the tasks and to relive the recall while speaking the monologue, the Words fully motivated by the Life and Behavior. The purpose of the exercise is to connect the actor's E.R. moment with the monologue moment.

"Treat the writer's words as if you were speaking gibberish," I'll remind her. "You should be reliving the Emotional Recall. You are not performing the monologue. You are creating and exploring the inner life and behavior behind the words."

If she becomes distracted from the inner life by the recall, I'll have her go back to the tasks. "There is no obligation to make sense or perform for the rest of the class—this is a process." It's a process for accomplishing the major moment of a monologue.

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  • kerris
    What is emotional recall?
    7 years ago

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