Acting classes work with ‘gibberish’ scenes

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Tori Swart

Actors perform the Calypso scene, which tells about the meeting of the hero, Odysseus, and a mystical sorceress who is banished to live a life without love. Though they will be using English in the full performance, ensemble members experimented with performing the script with made-up languages, or ‘gibberish.’ “We definitely had fun with our scenes, and it was so funny watching other groups perform,” Akcadag said.

Tori Swart, Broadcast Editor-in-Chief

Imagine a live show- a Broadway musical, a play, anything that involves scenes and actors. Imagine the props, the set, the people interacting with one another on stage and occasionally interacting with the audience.

Now take the English away. Replace it with a language you have no trace of understanding. What would you be left with? Would you still be able to understand the show?

This idea was the foundation for a class activity in the third bell Acting Ensemble in preparation for the fall play, The Odyssey. Actors performed different scenes of the show and spoke their ‘lines’ with a made-up gibberish language instead of English.

“That entire goal was to convey the message of the scene without having to say the words, and also experiment with physical choices. We also gained a better understanding of the plot,” junior Max Poff said.

Any type of gibberish was welcome, whether it was the “me-hoi-mi-noi” of the Spongebob Doodlebop, repeating the Japanese word for “feet,” or simply “blah-blah-blah.” The physical motions were the focus, not the nonsense words themselves.

“It was hard because in my scene, there was a dialogue between me and junior Claire Lefton. We kept forgetting what line we were on because we were using gibberish,” sophomore Cagla Akcadag said. “You really have to use a lot of physical actions to make the plot understandable to you and the other actors. Otherwise you have no idea what you’re doing.”

The activity was especially surprising to new members of the ensemble like senior Daria Beniash, both with the call to step out of her comfort zone, and the fun she had once she did.

“At first, I was really hesitant about putting myself out there. But once everyone started doing their scenes, I found that the weirdness was my favorite part. It was so much fun because it was so strange,” Beniash said.

The class eventually used the gibberish to help block the play’s scenes during after-school rehearsal. The Odyssey itself is an extremely physical show, actors say, which only adds to the comedic and realistic values of the gibberish activity.

“It definitely helps get you into the mindset of the show. I think we should just do the entire play in gibberish. The audience would probably get it,” Akcadag said.

The Odyssey will be performed Nov. 6-8 at 7:30 p.m.