The Brand

Pulling On The Rope, pt 1


I had a famous acting teacher once. His name was Larry Drake. He was best known for an old legal show on t.v. called L.A. Law. He was phenomenal. His acting class, my class (and extended family), maybe 12 of us, met every Thursday night in a large, breezy second room on the famous Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

I took Larry’s class for just about 3 years. He passed away 5 years ago but what he taught me in that time was invaluable, irreplaceable. Larry taught me about emotions and honesty, scene mechanics and techniques like mirroring. Another technique I worked on for a very long time (seemed like forever) was called ‘pulling on the rope”. I will explain.

Pulling on the rope was a method of behaving in an improvisation scene that involved conflict. When I say conflict, I mean that one actor is at odds, angry and fighting, with a fellow actor. You see these types of scenes all the time on Netflix, Hulu, cable and movies.

One of my favorite movies, John Wick, comes to mind, where Keanu Reeves is always in conflict with another character. Game of Thrones is another. Was there anyone that Cersei, the queen, did not fight with? And, in those scenes, each party must continue to fight as the scene calls for without allowing the other person to soften them, if that is not what the scene calls for...

To be continued...

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