Pencils Are For Writing

In the acting class I am taking, we were assigned to find a scene from a play to block, memorize the lines for, have costumes, make-up, and a simple set and perform it.

I picked Act Two, Scene One of “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh. I was paired up with a student that picked a scene from a play he had used for a previous project.

As it might not surprise most people, I am a bit of the brains behind this. In addition to playing Katurian, I also had to plan the blocking, which is fairly simple.

Tuesday I told the student playing Michal, Katurian’s brother, to read the script. He didn’t do so and it became very evident to me when it got to a part in the scene where Katurian slams his brother’s head into the floor.

Yesterday we blocked the scene and I told him to write down the directions I gave him. I have the, er, master script and have all of the stage directions written down.

Which came in handy today when we were supposed to be running the scene, but it turned into a work as I kept telling him, “No, don’t sit down yet. Why would he be sitting at this point?”

It became very evident that he did not write down his blocking as the scene went on. After I “slammed” his head onto the floor (I really don’t), he started to get up and I snapped at him to not do so. The character is scarred and shouldn’t be getting up right after his head is slammed into the ground.

I had told him this before, so while he was delivering lines, I got up and walked over to my bookbag where I grabbed a pencil. The auditorium fell silent because I had just left the corner we were rehearsing in to grab a pencil.

I walked over to the student, who was in a fetal position and still in character.

“This is a pencil,” I said. “You use it for writing down blocking.”

Of course, to the other students, it looked like he was in the position he was in because he was, presumably to them, thinking “OH GOD, SHE’S GOING TO ATTACK ME WITH A PENCIL.” The auditorium erupted in laughter.

Anyway, I’m busy preparing that. In addition to memorizing my lines this weekend, I need to figure out what to use for fake blood that won’t stain my clothes. Any suggestions?


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