Articulators. Tip of the tongue, lips, teeth, hard palate, soft palate. Not so difficult. Upper resonators. Nose, cheek bones, nasal cavities, skull. Harder than I thought, for me, to let my voice rise in pitch and with full vibration. While Margaret worked with me on producing a sound vibrating mostly on my upper lip and cheeks, I suddenly felt the image of a hand slapping me hard across my face. An old body memory? Surfacing as I made a gesture and sound that may have once gotten me in trouble? Like, say, an inappropriate display of enthusiasm? Possible. I'm coming to respect body memory.
All yesterday afternoon, we all took part in an exercise called, "Audience Participation II" (you can find a description of "Audience Participation I" in my recap of Day Five.) We all did the first two minutes of our scenes, which we're presenting on Monday afternoon, tomorrow. Then, we got written notes from our classmates as well as oral notes from Tina Packer. My scene got the same notes its been getting for two weeks. What's the relationship between Friar Lawrence and Romeo? Where's the love? Don't move around the stage too much. Listen to my scene partner. Take my time. Fuck.
After dinner, Margaret worked with Rob and I in our Text session. She wanted to help us find the love. Margaret--who was one of the faculty members I had for Basics, and who rocks--told me that she'd originally chosen this scene for me to do because she wanted me to have the opportunity to talk not only to a younger man facing danger, but to talk to myself, as a younger man, facing the dangers that I know he is going to live through. In Basics, I'd spoken passionately of how I'd lost so many years of my life to depression, wandering, ill-fated aspirations, defensiveness, self-hate, spend-thriftiness, lack of discipline, and sheer unrelieved psychological pain. What would I, at the age of 45, say to me, at the age of 15? How could I comfort him as no one comforted me? Be the authoritative male for my younger self that I didn't have? This is the scene between Friar Lawrence and Romeo. David talking to David.
Amazingly, I hadn't clearly seen this kernel of truth at the heart of the scene. I'd gotten close, by having considered Rob, as Romeo, to incarnate a 'shadow' self for me, but this was intellectualizing. Margaret got past my head and to my heart. Suddenly, the huge problem in this scene became the opportunity I'd been missing (surprise, surprise); that is, I had to extend Rob the forgiveness that I'd never been able to extend myself. I've been playing the scene way too angrily. But, that energy hasn't been coming from the Friar's feelings toward Romeo or the situation. Rather, it's been coming from David's frustration with Rob's acting habits, which appall me. I can't take his mugging seriously. But, I have to, god damn it. I have to forgive Rob for being a "bad actor," as my competitive, shit house of an ego would have it. To make this scene work, I have to let go of not wanting to be seen as the same kind of actor that I see Rob as being; as I project Rob as being. Once again, Fuck.
Back to square one. It's always square one. What IS the sound of one hand clapping, anyway?