Sunday, January 01, 2006

S&C: Day Four

This morning, I'm worn down. No clean clothes until Wednesday. I haven't had a solid bowel movement in four days. I'm so dehydrated that when I sobbed in Basics two days ago, I produced very little tears, and I'm hardly sweating at all. These physical facts are due not only to my trouble drinking enough water. I'm going through something, here, which I've not gone through before, and my body is reacting in ways in never has before. When I'm done working in front of my group, my hands, arms, neck, feet are icy and I feel a cold, tacky sweat--rather than the buckets of hot sweat that I'd normally produce--even as I throw off so much heat that Kevin says, "you feel like you're at 200 degrees," hot enough to irradiate the room. It's solar.

And, I tell people the tensest part of my day is walking into Founders Theater in the morning for the dance section of my voice/movement class. I can't dance. Or, rather, I haven't in a long time. No rhythm, here, which embarrasses me among the professionals--well, I'm embarrassed for me, no, they're not. I'm terrified I can't learn steps, keep time, move with freedom. What saves my ass is that our dance instructor is not only endlessly patient, but has the instinct and pedagogical technique to work us on easy things, acclimating us, letting us build up the physical VOCABULARY of dance in the Elizabethean world. Though, yesterday, we also did something else.

She paired us off and instructed one actor to shape the other into three different poses, which represented him or herself (that is, David and Tom were paired up. David was to mold Tom into three positions that represented David.) After establishing them, that actor gave the other simple movements to get from one pose to the other. Thus, a dance was choreographed. I thought it was pretty stupid.

Until I saw myself. I sat with the other 'choreographers' to watch our moving lumps of clay enact us, one by one. Tom stood in front of the group and said, "I am David Millstone," and then danced me, as I was that morning. Next, Tom and I both danced me, side by side, in front of the group, me interpreting me alongside Tom interpreting me. The room hummed. Next, our instructor--Susan Dibble--posed groups of actors around the stage to do their little dances at the same time, in larger, choreographed movements. Fucking beautiful. Her sense of stage picture and dynamic was impeccable. We were all touched. And we all came out with a deeper, bodily sense of the Elizabethean aesthetic and metaphysics of balance, order, and harmony.

Later, voice class: vibration. I am associating MY voice with the vibration I feel from my lips through my throat and chest to my belly, cock and balls, and asshole.

Later yet, more miracles. I confessed to the group that I'm struggling not to seek for approval from the authority figures there, so that I could better accept the group's love and support. I was also funny, doing it. We're actors, after all.

Later yet, in the evening, Tina Packer gave a three-hour, interactive lecture on the history of theater and it's height of development in the Elizabethean world, at the height of the Rennaissance. A long, whirlwind story I've heard before, but never quite remember well enough. From Tina's version, what I most take with me is a sense of how interactive was the Elizabethean experience, both on stage and in society, and how VOICE physically connected actor and audience. Voice. It's all voice.

Please pass the cool aid.


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