Monday, August 20, 2007

Faster, Pussycat, Faster, Faster

One of the corner stones of Jack Young's training is the principle that an actor, under pressure, must have the instinct to open up and reach out rather than close in on himself. Jack quotes Stoppard, who says, "actors are the opposite of people," because they reach out when the pressure is on rather than turn off. Anyone who knows me realizes how challenging this is for me.

My other huge challenge is simply to get my mind to work faster. I have a pretty good mind, but it moves at a stately pace. I must learn to "ingest text" much more immediately and bust through all the road blocks--all the little rock slides of experience--that have slid into my way over the years. E.g., keeping up with 'sequance' is hard for me; simply counting steps in a move, keeping track of the ball, memorizing lines, holding on to choices, the kind of tasks that, well performed, makes professionals professionals, and makes amateurs... a huge pain in the ass. This is a big, big challenge for me, since more than once I've been the guy who stutters on set and slows down blocking rehearsals.

If I can survive this program, I'll be an actor.

Today, I perform two monologues, a song, and a verse of poetry in British Standard Dialect for the School of Theater & Dance. I'm doing Duke Senior, a character from Bogosian, "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," and a snippet of Yeats. And I'm looking forward to it, actually. I'm not experiencing the anticipatory nausea that I spoke of a few days ago, (and which I probably exaggerated, even then.)

In terms of native ability, I rank myself as near the bottom of my class. I'm more or less okay with that. The two or three actors who clearly do the most focused, compelling work will teach me much. Already, I find myself studying these kids in their early twenties, seeking to absorb by osmosis what makes them tick. I genuinely hope that I have something similar to offer them in return.

I apologize for not having returned some personal mail, but--s**t, I'm really under it, right now. My bog postings are a way for me to get back to you. They're not sufficient, I know--and I need to connect with you directly as you do with me--but I thank you for being patient. Next weekend, I should have some time (and head room) to be more personal.

I hope all is well in the outside world.




dennis said...

Good luck to you David. Been reading for awhile. I start my second year at Rutgers in about two weeks. First year is all struggling with how much an actor has to do at the same time.

David Millstone said...

Thank you, man!

David Millstone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dennis said...

PS: You can