Uta Hagen Exercise #1: Physical Destination:
Tests the cause of Truthful Action.

Each student will prepare Physical Destination in a 3 minute presentation of Investigated Thought/Behavior in a Task from their own life.

Task: Fold Laundry.  That's right.  Fold Laundry.  Just like the Broadway actors in NY do when they study with Ms. Hagen at HB Studios.  The simple is the profound. I dare you to be truthful in the simple.  Without the accumulation of simple truths in the work, how can you be truthful in the "big, dramatic" moments of the work?  How?  You can't.  You will not have engaged the audience along the path of dramatic life, and they will not accept your "great conflict", your tears, your screams, your heroic fight at the end of the movie.  The audience will not trust you. 

Truth in the Simple is the foundation of Truth in the Conflict. Each student will rehearse at least 1 hour for a 3 minute presentation.  Set aside a 1 hour period for rehearsal.  Set your alarm clock for five minutes.  Then, fold.  When the alarm rings, stop, and answer The Six Steps of Investigation, (from page 134 in A CHALLENGE FOR THE ACTOR by Uta Hagen).

Answer each question.  Then, set the alarm again, and rehearse.  Do this alternating Task Action and Task Investigation for 1 hour.  Answer the Six Steps as each Investigation reveals new thoughts that fill you according to the Circumstances i.e.., Time, Place, Objects, Relationships, Objectives, Obstacles, which lead you into the clarification of Action, the Specificity of Behavior.  Keep a journal of advancing understanding.

Bring the basic object requirements, i.e.., your clothes, your clothes basket or bag, your books, magazines, pictures, which are aspects of the work that you will clarify through The Six Steps.  The Six Steps when answered truthfully will leave no stone unturned in terms of reality.  They will establish the internal and external facts of your moment in Truthful Behavior.

This is professional investigation, not a parade or charade or a performance or show and tell or opportunity to "look at me". 

Remember, Stanislavski's premise: "Action WITH Thought is Behavior".

Watch the following sequences in these Films:
Grapes of Wrath: Opening of the movie - Where Henry Fonda meets the preacher on the road.  Watch Fonda as he throws the bottle away and invites the preacher to walk with him to his parents' home.
Bridges of Madison County: Opening of the movie - From where Meryl Streep fixes breakfast for her family to the moment she finally sits down at the table.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Where Charles Laughton, who is on the flogging wheel, is given water by Maureen O'Hara.  Watch Laughton as he decides whether to take a drink of water.

Truthful behavior in Acting is timeless and is not a creation of any one period in Performance. 

From "A Challenge For The Actor," by Uta Hagen:

Exercise #1: Physical Destination
FOR THE PRESENTATION

Follow the basic principles that pertain to this and all of the remaining exercises: Explore two to three minutes of your behavior in the pursuit of a simple task, taking into careful consideration all of the Six Steps. For the purpose of the given technical problem, choose circumstances that necessitate an entrance from the wings into your playing area, and eventually an exit into the wings. If your main action takes place in the living room, for instance, it is inconsequential whether you enter through the front door or come from another room. The same holds true for your exit. While occupied with the task on stage, you may also choose to leave momentarily to get or leave something in another room before reentering the playing area. This will further test your faith in creating a continuity of life between the physical realities on stage and those that you imagine off stage.

In the examination of your selected actions, put your DESTINATIONS under a microscope to discover how many are consciously motivated, how many occur by reflex, and which of them are subconsciously instigated. An hour of actual rehearsals should be the minimum. Lying in bed to think about what you will do doesn't count!

Reprinted from Uta Hagen, "A Challenge for the Actor," page 151
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