Contact Improv with a scene taken from “Trudy and Max in Love”

DIALOGUE WITH CONTACT

Grace Morrison and Kevin Shewey  in a scene taken from Zoe Kazan’s  “Trudy and Max in Love” (2013)

 Over the years we have explored contact in application to scenes, finding both blocking and unselfconscious intensity of relationship. This is a scene about romantic realization about the push/pull of forbidden emotion. This scene is new for the actors- a showcase scene that is memorized, but not yet blocked.  The contact with the scene dialogue is fueled by their comfort with each other as frequent scene partners, and the emotional content of the text.  They are literally circling around each other, testing.

In this video, first we see an exploration of the scene through contact improvisation while the actors are speaking the text, and then the same scene immediately played out without contact.  I ask the actors to maintain the energy of the relationship explored in the contact session. The resulting realistic scene is physically and emotionally charged and responsive, and it blocked itself, driven by actor intent. The text can be found at the end of the post.

TRUDY

I’m sorry.  He called this morning.  You should be grateful, he was going to surprise me.  Can you imagine?

MAX

Your things are on the table.

TRUDY

Max.

MAX

There’s probably more in the bedroom.

TRUDY

Look at me.

He puts his book down, looks at her.  She gestures helplessly, suddenly at a loss.

TRUDY

What do you want me to say?  He’ll be here for three days.

MAX

And then?

TRUDY

And then he’ll be gone again.  Look.  I’ll call whenever I can.  I’ll text you.

MAX

What if I text back?  He’d see my name.

TRUDY

No.

MAX

No?

TRUDY

I don’t have it in my phone.

MAX

What’s my number under?

TRUDY

Nothing.  I never put it in.

MAX

Right.

TRUDY

Why are we talking about this?

MAX

It was never permanent.  Not even in your phone.

TRUDY

What did you think, that he’d never come home?  He’s my husband, I live with him.

MAX

So this was…?

TRUDY

Stop talking about us in the past tense.

MAX

There is no us.

TRUDY

I told you I didn’t want to have an affair with you, I told you—

MAX

So go home.

He goes back to his book.  She puts her head in her hands.

TRUDY

This is so shitty.  It’s so fucking shitty.  You’re the only person in the world I could talk to about this.  And I can’t talk to you about it.

MAX

…You can talk to me.

TRUDY

No, I can’t.

MAX

What do you wish you could say?

TRUDY

I just wish you could be my friend.

MAX

I am your friend.

TRUDY

I wish we’d never slept together.  I wish we’d never met.

MAX

You mean that?

TRUDY

(Closes her eyes.)  Do you think it’s possible to love two people completely?  When I’m with you, it feels like the whole world has shrunk to whatever room we’re in.  And when I’m with him… Honestly, it’s been so long since he was here, I don’t even know.

 MAX

…You love me?

TRUDY

(Opening her eyes) What?

MAX

You said to love two people… You love me?

TRUDY

I meant metaphorically.

MAX

I love you(Silence.) I’m falling in love with you.

TRUDY

You are?

MAX

I think so.

TRUDY

That’s terrible.

MAX

It’s wonderful.  It’s a miracle.

TRUDY

What are we going to do?

MAX

You get divorced.  We move to Bora Bora.  You write, I write.  We have a bunch of kids and give ‘em crazy names.

TRUDY

You hate kids.

MAX

I’d like our kids.

TRUDY

Don’t say that.

MAX

I mean it.  I want what you want.

TRUDY

I don’t know what I want.

MAX

Yes you do.

 Silence.  She gets up.

 MAX

Where are you going?

TRUDY

Home.  I have to.  I have to think.

MAX

Spend the night.

TRUDY

He’ll be here first thing in the morning.

MAX

I’ll get you up early.

TRUDY

No.

Trudy goes to the door, then turns back and hugs Max.  It gets long.  He starts to kiss her neck.  She pushes him away.

MAX

Call me.

TRUDY

If I can.

MAX

Promise you’ll call me.

TRUDY

I’ll try.

MAX

Promise.

TRUDY

Fine.

MAX

I love you.

TRUDY

Don’t say that.

MAX

You love me too.

TRUDY

I hate you.

MAX

You love me.

 

 

 

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