Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Adventures in Acting, Part II

I, apparently, rocked the theater tonight, and it felt fabulous. There was laughter coming from all corners of the room. I didn’t want to look up at my teacher because out of the corner of my eye I saw her cracking up. Inside I was cracking up too, because inside I secretly knew that I never would have done this a year ago. I had a table and two chairs and I wore a skirt and tights and hiking boots. I couldn’t get a hold of my steel toes or I would have worn them. Too bad for that! I ran through it twice before show time, quivering, but I was reassured every step of the way.

“Do something with your down time!” instructs the woman in the front row.

“Are you still searching for words? Do something to fill the space…” she drones on. Easy for you to say woman! I’m trying here and I’m trying. But I never felt threatened in any way. In fact, I probably felt the most comfortable I have ever felt in front of a group of people, performing. I forgot my lines, so what! I just kept going. Clicking my pen, biting my rolled piece of paper I was using for a cigarette. Going with the flow.

It dawned on me that I’ve never “performed” in that sense of the word before. Sure I perform everyday as a fifth-grade teaching assistant. Performing, though, is so much more than that! To act is to want the eyes directly on you. For the first time tonight, I felt a small dose of that wanting.

Another revelation I came to tonight: Acting can’t be rushed. For the entire length of the class I wanted to just rush through my monologue and get off stage as fast as I could. But tonight I realized that there is so much in what is not said. That’s the DOING that my teacher had always talked about. It’s not just doing though, it’s doing and allowing people to watch you DO. It’s scarier than I’d ever imagine.

I’m coming back next session, starting April 9. I can’t wait.
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