Saturday, January 14, 2006

S&C: Day 16

The intensity of our schedule and rigor of the physical work wear me down emotionally, as intended, by the program. Keely (sp?) spoke a bit yesterday about how the faculty hopes for us to keep our emotions moving through us rather than letting them get stuck in one place, in depression, say, in which all you can think is "I suck." Actors need to feel emotion and let it change like quick silver from one moment to the next; in Shakespeare, from one WORD to the next; and tolerating this huge flux in-and-out of feelings along the entire range of joy-to-despair takes stamina. They're hoping we'll build stamina.

When I get tired, I do come back to the old, familiar place of self denigration, where I'm at home. Working in small text rehearsal sections with my scene partner and one or two teachers brings me right up against my fears of not being intelligent enough for the work (...snooze), not having the imagination, not having the ___________ (fill in the blank). I also try getting ahead of myself, expecting more from any given rehearsal than it's meant to give. What keeps me going back is the knowledge that every step of artistic growth I've taken, thus far, has come at the price of tolerating moments of real, felt humiliation. So be it. So we move on.

In one of the morning sessions, we spent a good deal of time talking about "body dynamics," and the literal flow of physical vibration through and out our bodies. The talk got awfully New Age, for my taste. But, this is my attitude: I know nothing and my purposes are practical, so if something works, that's good enough for me. I'll leave the meta babble to the weirdos and guiltlessly steal from them what I can use. I approach "body work" this way, too. Reflexology, acupuncture, what-have-you, I find unconvincing, intellectually. But, it often works.

The "Body Dynamics" stuff seems to work. I get a new feeling of 'vibration' and outward-seeking energy in my limbs and torso when I use my hands, and attend to sensation, in the ways suggested (I'm not about to start trying to frigg'n heal people by waving at them from across the room, however, as I've seem one flaky dude do, back in Portland.) So, I'll go with it.

In Sound & Movement (see posts below), the raw interactions between two actors--in the middle of a circle created by their classmates--that we began with three or four days ago, are getting built up, element by element. First, we gave the rawest form of expression possible, with the primary goal of "opening the channels" of vibration, energy and intention that we can think of as starting in the solar plexus and radiating outward through our limbs. Then, we introduced determinating emotion, through the imagery suggested by Keely, before going into the circle; i.e., she fed us 'colors' with which we found a physical and emotional relationship. Finally, last night, we began to edge toward precision by more detailed imagining of colors, and by adding stops to the flow of air to the open sounds we've been emitting; that is, adding consonants, and the intellectual energy that they imply.

As I'm doing all this and moving through the day, I'm also experiencing quiet tides of emotion, in and out, over my relationship with M. Our love affair is winding down. It's hurting. I don't like hurting. But, one reason I'm here is to build stamina to hurt, so be it. Friar Lawrence feels something similar to my feelings for M. in the regrets that shape his choice to become a monk--and inform his actions toward Juliet and Romeo--so, as they say, I'll "use it."

I'm getting an education.

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