Saburo Teshigawara's Luminous
© Dominik Mentzos
The kind that elicits a “fight or flight” response that originates somewhere in the very pit of my soul. It manifests itself as shaking knees, breathlessness, and a projected personality somewhere between a mummy and a rabbit eating a carrot in your garden as your German Shepherd strolls out of the door. I can pretty much talk to anyone one-on-one, two-on-one, ten-on-one, around the table, on a conference call, in a park. Fine, fine and fine. But prop me up in front of a group of people, and a deer illuminated by your headlights on the darkest road has Prozac running through its veins compared to me. Add a podium, and ... well, I'll hate you.
All right! I am working on it. And, no – I have not tried Toastmasters yet. Shut up.
Also, I write plays (on the side – way on the side), and have no desire to ever step on the stage. It does not jazz me. My ego is not fulfilled by the thought of applauding audiences (OK, I could probably bear to get up on stage for Maestro Oscar, Tony or Obie). But, I have felt for some time that my writing would be improved by a clearer understanding of actors, their processes, and their needs.
So, the spring semester has begun, and I have elected to take Fundamental Principles of Acting. Aren’t I brave? We met for the first time tonight , and I must say that I am looking forward to it. It helps that we will work in a small “acting room” – whatever the hell that is – and not on a stage. And, I am neither going to think about, nor sweat out the fact that I can look forward to embarrassing exercises and a final performance in front of a class full of limber, indifferent post-teens. None of it signifies. It’s the actor's process, world-view, and needs that I seek to understand. Nothing else matters, right?
Uh-huh. We'll see in two weeks when we each must sit in the center of the room, and be barraged with personal questions while attempting to represent “psychological gestures” (unconscious tics we all occupy ourselves with whilst conversing, zoning out, or merely breathing). Oh, and it's not our own psychological gestures we must slip into the conversation; it's those of random classmates we must demonstrate. Yeah. Great.
Ooop! I meant “Yea! Great!”