Can't believe it's my second semester at LIU Post as a BFA musical theatre major student! Time just seemed to fly by in the second semester. The workload and the standard of the second semester seem much heavier and higher. During the first semester of first year, everyone was still getting used to the brand-new environment, discovering the school's style and vibe. This semester, however, is the time for real work.
The most interesting class I took this semester was the beginning Suzuki technique class. It is such an inspiring class. It is a method developed by Tadashi Suzuki. Although it originated in Japan, it is now widely used in the United States. As Prof. Tina Mitchell asked us to describe our understanding of Suzuki at the beginning of the lesson, most of the students responded that it was very vague. It is very physically demanding, and it seems no one really knows what they will be experiencing. It is such a mysterious class isn't it?
In Hong Kong, physically-based training is a very common training method for actors, but we don't always stick to one specific system. We learned some Taiji, some martial arts, some Laban, and some Suzuki. So I thought I should be okay for this class. But I was wrong. Suzuki is so focused on the lower body and core, which is my worst part (I am always described as floating on stage because my center is so high). It is so challenging for me to deal with the pile part. Physical training is an essential component of the Suzuki method, but we are not only learning how to do those movements. We are exploring some core techniques about being an actor through rigorous physical training. For example, breathing and stillness. For some of the exercises I'm always struggling with, as I add an emphasis on breathing, it becomes much easier. I can feel more supported. Through different kinds of breathing and movement as we read a poem provided by the Professor. This will enable us to explore different kinds of emotions and have a different kind of imagination about the context. In my opinion, the most inspiring part of training is exploration. This is through doing some kind of movement that I never imagined, feeling the text in a context that I never thought would work. I explored so many ways of expressing texts and scenes!
I'm looking forward to seeing how my body changes through the lessons. Also, I must confess that those physical exercises are tough, but they are so rewarding afterwards. I am so impressed with what I have accomplished and it has helped me to believe in my body for so much more!
I am also taking basic acting 2 this semester, since last semester we focused so much on urgency and how to write a helpful given circumstance. During this semester, we began learning how to analyze a script, finding the immediate objectives, obstacles, and action of a particular scene. Although acting is so much about instinct, emotions, I still find analyzing the script is so helpful. It helps establish a framework for freedom. I feel safer because I know, as long as I am expressing freely within those limits and those analyses, I am on the right track.
For dance, I chose beginner theater jazz this semester. It is interesting that the dancing class is on Monday and Wednesday, and the Suzuki class is on Tuesday and Thursday. As a result, I am forced to keep exercising my body every day, which is the best choice for me. And I think
jazz and Suzuki classes complement each other. Suzuki built my core and helped me build strength. Theater jazz also helps me with flexibility and improves my upper body mobility. Then, my whole body would be trained throughout the week, for both flexibility and strength. It is such a balanced training program isn't it?
As well as those major classes, I took an elective class on interpreting arts in the 20th century, which was also quite inspiring. Growing up, most of my training focused on music, so drawing and visual arts have never been my strong point. Nonetheless, now that I am more immersed in theater arts, I discovered that it has strong connections with all kinds of art forms, music, arts, and literature, which play significant roles in creating a well-crafted theater piece. So I decided to enroll in ART 101 as a starting point to learn to appreciate the arts.
Every lesson we looked at different artwork, and learned the basic elements of artwork, such as light and color, lines and shapes. Some of them may seem obvious, but I never really thought about what they meant, and it is really fascinating to see how different artworks deal with them. It's just so eye-opening!
Apart from lectures, we also have a studio class. But there's no pressure at all because the professor would guide us, and the work is not about precision and realistic, but freedom and your preference! is such a good way to start making art for people like me, who don't have lots of confidence in it!
This semester is only in its fifth week and already I've learned so much! The classes this semester have been really insightful, and I'm looking forward to exploring more and digging deeper!