In Conclusion…

I received three ‘A’ grades, and one ‘A-‘ in Acting II. Well, nobody’s perfect. I was cast in the lead for Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol and we performed the show for four weeks, concluding with packed houses and standing ovations. I even wrote to the playwright, Tom Mula and received a very nice reply. All in all, an amazing year in which I learned a lot about my craft and was thoroughly challenged at every turn. But that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Storytelling should always be perilous and result in a happy ending. Here is Shamrock McShane’s review of our show, which played at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre.

Merely Merry Miller Marley

Shamrock McShane

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol had its premiere performance at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 1998. Then as now Bob Falls, the old Wisdom Bridge whiz kid, was the artistic director, and Roche Schulfer, the financial wunderkind, was the executive producer – both still plying their trade at the most prestigious theatre in town after having cut their teeth on the golden age of Chicago theatre in the seventies with David Mamet, Greg Mosher, Stuart Gordon, William H. Macy, and Joey Mantegna. The playwright Tom Mula is a veteran of Chicago theatre too, and the play’s theatrical conventions emerged from story theater, a form that blossomed at Chicago’s Hull House with its chief practitioners Paul Sills and Viola Spolin, a fine and noble heritage.

Mula immersed himself in Dickens and spun off from A Christmas Carol to wring a novel out of Marley’s Christmas Carol before converting it into a play. There are no royalty payments due to long-dead Dickens, making him the perfect xmas present for re-gifting, which may sound a bit harsh, but facts are facts and they’re free too. Sooner or later the commercial theatre will be done picking the old boy’s bones, but that day’s a long way off.

Walking downtown to the ART for the Sunday matinee on a beautiful sunny day, nothing at all like Dickensian London in December, past the various nightspots, the Top, the University Club, the Hipp, the Midnight, shabbily exposing themselves in the sunlight, these are the haunts of Gainesville’s pre-eminent performance artist Tom Miller, who capriciously has taken to stage acting in middle age to broaden his palette. Tom Miller is Marley.

The set at the ART is at its blackest best. The lighting, by my son Mike, is heavily atmospheric – but what exactly is the atmosphere? It is not by any means Dickensian London, but, rather, something more like Hell, or at least Tom Mula’s idea of Hell, which is an extrapolation of Dickens’ underworld, where spirits timelessly regret the precious moments of earthly life they have squandered. It is dark and sepia-shaded and sharp-shadowed with pools of blackness yawning here and there.

The original production team at the Goodman composed a musical score (design by Robert Neuhaus, original music by Larry Schanker) of pervasive moodiness that Mike has augmented with expressionistic illumination to turn whole landscapes of the play, mounted on a black and beautiful and multi-level set, designed and built by the multi-talented George Steven O’Brien and the play’s director Carolyne Salt, into a shadow play of stark extremities, beautifully bare of props and marvelously minimal.

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol

By Tom Mula
Acrosstown Repertory Theater
Gainesville, Florida
November 29 – December 22, 2013

Gushing from somewhere subterranean streams the most milky foamy fog to make its way across a stage in memory.

Into this fourth dimension wanders Marley, confronted first by the fearsome Record Keeper, who is genially enacted by Will Taylor, who sentences Marley to the hard labor of saving Scrooge. Marley has his work cut out for him. And then he has his work cut from him as his own personal demon emerges, the Bogle, played by the same George Steven O’Brien who has brought such stunning simplicity and sanity to the set, now as crazy as a loon, if loons can be nightmarishly operatic.

Marley’s Christmas Carol is pretty much a buddy pic, starring Tom Miller and George Steven O’Brien, a marriage made in Hell, both parties devilishly combustible and unpredictable. You might think that in descending to such depths of despair the tone might turn maudlin. Fear not, there are more laughs here than you can shake a stick at, if that’s your idea of a good time. You might just as well use it as a conductor’s baton in the rush of a fevered symphony. Carolyne Salt solved the problem of how to cast a drama that is musical in the deepest sense of musing on the pitiful pangs of remorse by handing the parts to a pair of singers. A pair of vaudevillians really, who can mime and mimic and stretch themselves like silly putty.

Scrooge, played dexterously by Gainesville Community Playhouse regular Ed Hunter, has no idea what he’s in for when the supernatural overtakes him. This Scrooge’s parsimonious persona is so expansive he seems to engulf his spindly demons, to waltz them aside like a big dancing bear in a Disney movie. This is going to be harder than they thought, and funnier than we imagined.

What makes it all even more than that, is the dedication and spirit that Miller and O’Brien bring to the task. It seems really to matter to them. It seems as if they would be doing just what they are doing even if we were not there, if no one were there, just for the challenge of it. At the core of O’Brien’s Bogle is the heart of sprite that burns with love, comradeship, fellow feeling. Tom Miller has the depth of personality to wear a spotlight without the illumination bouncing off, and, instead, penetrating. Like the best of actors, and liars, he believes his own lies so thoroughly they overwhelm him – and us. There is real redemption in that, which is what the whole damn story is about after all.
Though the play never escapes the pitfall of defying Aristotle’s dictum that drama be performed and not narrated, nevertheless its cathartic effect at the conclusion is full and satisfying.

“Give me two players and a passion,” Moliere posited, “and I will show you theatre.”

Marley

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This is the end, my only friend…the end… (or is it the beginning?)

Miller_As_Trotsky Miller as Trotsky!

In script analysis, we had our final formal class for the semester. All that is left to do is the in-depth analysis of Angels in America, Pt. II. That will be a big-ass project in a short amount of time, but I am looking forward to it. This class has taught me so much, as the previous entries will show. My introduction to academic theatre is off to a terrific start and I’m so happy to have experienced the classes I have. Our professor wished to impart some final thoughts: fill your acting arsenal with tools, deny nothing in the script, always ask why, never assume, and be an artist and a creator who can break the rules because he or she knows the rules. Funny, Professor Schultz’s last words were, “Don’t forget all the crap I taught you.” I asked him if I could quote him. He said, yes. Here are the journals:

ACTING II:

11/25/2013

Just a short class today to answer questions and schedule our final performances which will take place after the Thanksgiving Day break. Today was our final time together as a full class. I learned much over the semester, primarily to trust myself, trust the art, trust trust trust, go for it without hesitation, and put as many tools in the acting arsenal as possible. Bottom line, competitively speaking, you simply have to out-arm your opponents. And most importantly, to recognize that acting is an ever evolving craft in which one can never safely rest on one’s laurels…this is a process, not an end. And remember to always ask, ‘why?’.

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ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:

11/25/2013

Today was the day to present my final scene for class, the Trotsky piece from All In The Timing. I had not visited intimately with the script for some time due to the constraints on my time with the Marley play, so I was not entirely off book. We worked the scene, my scene partner and I, and it was not in great shape. But this is the day, so it had to be done come hell or high-water (love that phrase.) And I thought to myself, just get up there and kick ass. Go for it. You know how to do this. If you lose a line or two, make it up better–which led to the great improv line, when I mistakenly referred to an encyclopedia: “What is the date of that dictionary…encyclopedia…whatever the fuck it is?” Long story short, (I love that phrase too,) I nailed it. Knocked it out of the ballpark. It was a loud raucous spectacle of classic camp farce, and the students loved it too. A couple of students told me it was my finest work in class, and the Professor also was duly impressed. So that was a great feeling to conclude the course on a major win! Happy!

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For no reason…

In Script Analysis, we finished the lectures. Today, the topic was on text, communication, themes, concluding remarks and thoughts of our author. It’s almost time to bear down on the big last analysis of Angels in America: Perestroika. That’s going to be a tough one given there is still a monologue, a scene, my show with the band tonight, my rehearsals for the play, my Monday night show, my Sunday night Grindhouse intros, and maybe one day…some rest. I’ll do my best. Here are the journals:

ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:

11/22/2013

Today we watched three more scenes. Nice work from everybody, and of course, commentary by Dr. Young. Topics included enunciating, listening, getting the most out of the full range of available tonality on one’s voice, etc. I pointed out in one scene, a character takes a ‘hot’ pan out of an oven with her oven mitts. She puts it down but only moments later, facing the other direction, proceeds to deliver a line while her ass made contact with it. Of course it’s not really hot, but now we know. If there’s a hot prop, treat it as such. Don’t ‘fake’ eat if you’re supposed to be eating? If you’re miming eating, putting the fork near the plate then near your mouth is not good enough: you have to cut the food, bring it to your lips, and put it in your mouth, taste the flavor, chew, and swallow. Is the food hot? Cold? Off? Is it something you’re eating before you want to or because you have to? Specificity! Good things to note.

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ACTING II:

11/22/2013

 

Today, we all performed the self-monologues we had originally performed at the beginning of the course. The idea was to apply all we had learned and then see how different the monologue would come out. This was a workshop class and we’ll read these again for a final grade. But damned if I didn’t forget we were supposed to do this. So I did a quick read and thought, (Tom, you’re not going to get this word perfect, but you are going to step up confidently and do this anyway, and you are going to trust yourself to get through it and kick ass.) So that’s what happened. The back end of the class was for instructor/student feedback. I got a few notes on ‘who are you saying all this to’, as I was doing a sort of general reporting of facts rather than a conversation between myself and an individual (as it was before). I think that’s important for an audience to know why and to whom somebody is saying something. I will posit that sometimes, as in real life, people just say stuff for no reason (that they’re aware of, anyway) to nobody. Remember that Beatles song, “He’s a Real Nowhere Man?” I think this can be okay. It leaves the audience and the character with a mystery and I not only think that’s okay, I think that’s sometimes imperative.

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The End is Neigh!

TomMiller_JacobMarley
TOM MILLER as Jacob Marley – The Acrosstown Production of “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” by Tom Mula – Directed by Carolyn Salt
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I now have things well in hand. Rehearsals for Christmas Carol are going well. The Gainesville Sun came by for a photo shoot last night. (The photo shown above is a ‘selfie’ from my iPhone. Pretty scary, ain’t it?)

I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t register for next semester because I still have to pay for my MMR Inoculation. One-hundred twenty bucks. Christ. I thought they were going to take that out of my Pell grant on the front end. More money for a starving artist to come up with.  Anyway, and so this blog is coming to an end too. Maybe I’ll do another for my last semester at UF, who knows. I hope anyone interested in Acting, Alexander Class, an artist’s life, can find something informative, supportive, or at the very least, entertaining in this account. For me, it is simply cathartic to write about my experiences so that down the road, I can look back and learn something or maybe re-learn something. In any event, here are the journals:

ACTING II:

11/20/2013

Watched two more scenes today and their associated workshops. I was surprised how stuck on book everyone was. People were calling for lines every other line. I guess the end of this semester (with homecoming and Thanksgiving) throws everybody a loop or two. Important concepts discussed: Listen to your scene partner—don’t get caught in the trap of thinking of the lines and trying to get the letter perfect in process…intention and listening and responding is more important. Enunciate, don’t drop the ends of words, sentences. Your audience needs to hear you. (Note: There’s an interesting article about contemporary theatre mumbling here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346872/Theatre-star-Imogen-Stubbs-claims-actors-mumbling-lines-imitate-American-film-stars.html )

Imogen Stubbs, gotta’ love her.

Don’t make weak choices in your performance nor in the scoring of intention in your score/script. One person had, “Talking to her” as an intention for having a conversation. Not good enough. I am reminded how to get deeper by something my script analysis Professor says, “Always ask ‘why?’” Talking to her? WHY are you talking to her. I want her attention. WHY do you want her attention. Because I never feel loved unless someone is paying attention to me. Now we’re getting somewhere. Intention: Need to feel loved. Now THAT’S strong.

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ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:

11/20/2013

Performed my scene with my excellent scene partner and our Director for this one was very pleased because we KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK! Totally worth the mini-meltdown I had about this one. With an assist from Alexander Technique—thank you Constructive Rest, breathing, and ease of posture going up, up, up! So happy. This was my last scene for this course. Now I can decompress and feel good I walked through the gauntlet of fire. Well, this gauntlet anyway. Many more to come, I’m sure…I hope!

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ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE:

11/19/2013

I got a text from my Alexander Presentation partner. It’s been a little frustrating but also a little rewarding that he’s not been more aggressive on this assignment. The reward comes in that I get to play a bit of an encourager. I get a very rewarding experience trying to pick folks up when their down, because so many have done the same for me. I think that’s how we get a better world; through compassion and support for one another. I remember there was a vice Presidential candidate running with Ross Perot for whom I had great respect. He was sort of made fun of during one speech because he was having problems with his hearing-aid and because he looked sort of friendly and grand-fatherly, he was sort of dismissed. What most people didn’t know was that he was a war hero, had been imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam, and he was the Senior Lecturer of Philosophy at Stanford University. His name (a classic) is James Bond Stockdale and I remember vividly him telling a great story which has always stuck with me. He was asked in the media how he survived in captivity and he said that each man looked out for the guy next to him. That always stuck with me. I don’t know why I went off on that tangent…perhaps to suggest something about Alexander Technique; if we learn and share knowledge that helps the person next to us become better human beings living with fewer stressors, blocks and misperceptions so they can become freer, more at ease with open clear channels for becoming a creator, we have a better world as a whole…but I…progress. We had presentations today on the many aspects of Alexander as interpreted by and “re-taught” to our group. It was neat to see the many creative ways in which people undertook this assignment. My idea was to mirror the ideas that many techniques in Alexander are easy to do and small efficient adjustments which, though small, will have long-term measurable large positive impact. If you know how to use just an efficient movement of your arm to pick something up instead of your neck, slumped shoulders and back—and one presumably picks up a million things in one’s life—imagine all that extra energy, how much stress over time is no longer necessary. It’s profound. Others utilized demonstrations including ‘acting’ how a person with a tight neck and hunched shoulders might go about his or her day. One demonstration had activities such as how the mind and body works during card games, throwing and catching a ball, movement…heck, we even had a demo of end-gaming involving Zombie tag. It was really illuminating and lots of fun. I felt I did a respectable job of explaining my topic, Kinesthetic Sense. I made use of my presentation partner as a model for my two simple demonstrations such that we were collaborating and he was included. When it came my presentation partner’s turn to present, I was sort of surprised to see him speaking from information in his smart phone, which was not entirely organized. But with what little he had to work with, he tried and our Professor encouraged him to state things in his own words and make up ways to demonstrate and visualize the concepts he was trying to get across. I am sure he learned much just from that interaction. I know I did. After the class, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I say Alexander should be easy and lead to ease. That is not at all to be confused at all with the idea there is significant work that can be ongoing for a lifetime. I have seen people taken to their deepest selves, I have seen tears, passion, commitment, I’ve seen a few have their off days, (me as well, no doubt), but now as a class we have come through a beginning—walked through a doorway which now remains open. There is another door ahead and a sign that says, “Alexander II”. But that’s a story for next semester.

11/20/2013

Today, I made great use of Alexander Technique. I was determined that my final scene in Acting for Directors would be remembered and knock the ball out of the park. I had all the freeing thoughts, I was focused on breathing naturally, effortlessly, up, up, I thought. I did a five-minute constructive rest after a brief warm-up and when it came time to perform, I did not have the jitters, I was not in my own way, I was wholly there and with my excellent scene partner, we were those characters for five minutes. We rocked. And in the closing remarks for the class, comments about our performance were uniformly complimentary. And that great weight that was on my shoulders turned into a pair of wings. (This is an allusion to the play I’ve signed on for the lead: “Jacob Marley’s a Christmas Carol”. There’s a little creature in the play called the BOGLE whose mission it is to redeem the ghost of Jacob Marley so he can get his little wings and go up to the sky to become a shining star.) I obviously have theatre of the brain, my favorite disease. This is my last entry, as this journal is due tomorrow. Although it is the 20th, I know what I would write tomorrow so I’ll write it ahead of time now to my classmates and my Professor. See entry 11/21/2013…

11/21/2013

Thank you.

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Terrifying Joy!

This was my post today on FaceBook: Today, I can say with certainty, I’m not sure if I’m really good at this theatre stuff, or if I entirely suck. Also, I can’t be sure if I’m taking UF seriously or if I’m fooling myself with false intention. This is how I know I’m an awesome performance artist; I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. “My adult fetal position is a posture of terrifying joy.” – TM

I’m tough, sad, lonely, blessed, happy, healthy, horny, hopeful, nice, brutal, angry, calm, ferocious, small, grande, self-centered, other-centered, misused, misunderstood, punk, goth, gay, straight, docile, timid, hurt, damaged, healed, metal, armor, stone, soul, sand, soft, clay, melting, ice, wax, sun, iron, lost, safe, sound, light…

Yeah, so I’m an actor. I do it my way. I don’t like people, but I love them. I want better for them. I know we can do better. This is a bit of a rant, but on our beleaguered FaceBook, I saw a post about a man who pieced together an old camera lens with a new-fangled digital camera and took remarkably close-up photos of snow flakes. Every one was astounding, amazing, had such precision structure, it was beyond beautiful, it was alien and yet, familiar. Every one of these gems melts into the same water. Can’t we fucking figure that out? Can’t we be our most beautiful selves, our most beautiful souls, and have those manifestations come from a place of love? Every day I read such horror stories, the evils we are capable of against each other seem to know no limits, but then there are these snow flakes. This guy who duck-taped an old lens (the past) with a new digital camera (the future) and captured such beauty (the now, the moment, the frozen evaporating dreams)…isn’t this theatre? http://www.boredpanda.com/snowflake-macro-photography-diy-alexey-kljatov/

Here are the journals:

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ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE:

11/16/2013

Now I’m thinking I want to do something I heard about, which was advice for music but maybe applies to all artists. I forget who said it, but it was basically “Learn your [musical] notes, and then forget them.” So you can play them as if for the first time with the organic energy of the moment. I’m thinking I want to study up on my part of the Alexander presentation and then put those notes away and just talk/inform as if I was having an enthusiastic conversation with a buddy at a coffee shop instead of some lecture modality. That’s all for today. Just a thought…

11/17/2013

Shit is about to hit the fan now. We’re at the end, and I refuse to go out with a whimper. In fact, I’m so enthusiastic about Alexander II that I’m determined to include that as a class choice for next semester. My partner for the final presentation and I both share absurdly busy schedules but we planned a unique way to get past not having as much availability for discussions and rehearsals as others. We’ll use each other as our demonstration models. So for example, when I talk about the nature of Kinesthesia, I’ll demonstrate the examples by getting my partner to visually show what I’m talking about. I’ll do the same for him. This will be a nice organic interaction that won’t be some forced Disneyesque kind of thing. I don’t think that’s the way to do Alexander. In fact, I think not having had such a premeditated presentation will provide a more in-the-moment experience. That’s what Alexander is all about.

11/18/2013

Had a meeting with my Alexander Presentation partner today, just getting together on the spirit of our mutual presentation which will happen tomorrow afternoon. I think we’re going to meet a bit before class to shore up our notes and make sure we’re on the same page. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the different ways my peers will show their materials and understanding of various techniques. Now I have to put this all in writing, a task which has been elusive due to my psycho manic impossible can-not-be-done schedule. Let’s do it!

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ACTING II:

11/18/2013

 

I was pleased with my performance on the Mamet scene I’m doing today. It’s in the ‘workshop’ stage. I felt natural, had a reasonable grasp of my lines, motivations, it felt organic. My scene partner is coming along beautifully too…Mamet is no easy animal to capture. Six things or more go on in any sentence…hell, any ‘part’ of a sentence. If Mamet was here, he’d say something like, “Just say the line as I wrote it and stand in place. You got this!” And in a Mamet play, I’d respond, “Just say? Or say. Which say are you saying to say? You…so this dog in Pasadena, no—you know what? Forget that. Say what? Say, ‘You got this?’ – ‘You got this?’ You don’t got this. You don’t got shi…Sherlock Holmes! Say that, fuckface! Sherlock…aw, forget it.”

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ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:

11/18/2013

 

Our scene (thank God) was pushed to Wednesday. I say ‘thank God’ because we had a terrific rehearsal on Sunday. We had it down pat. After class today, we were to rehearse a bit more and I got caught up in UF academic BS, trying to get next semester in order. There is only one advisor and I sat for an hour waiting to see him, and had to be late to our rehearsal. Finally, when I got in front of my advisor, he said there’s an academic outstanding financial obligation I haven’t taken care of (probably my inoculation), and I hadn’t consented online to all the rigmarole students have to agree to each term. In other words, I waited an hour for nothing and was late to rehearsal. I could not, for the life of me, remember my lines for this scene. And the director was so pissed off, and it was a total disservice to my scene partner for me to not have the lines, but worse; I questioned what the fuck I was doing at UF if I can’t show up to a scene with the lines memorized, especially when I had done this scene flawlessly the day before like freakin’ six times? It was personally horrifying. I cursed, preened like one of those asshole actors you hear about that are tough to work with, and I was looking for someone to blame for quite a while before I settled on me. ME! ME! In my Billiard Therapy, our instructor says, “If it ain’t in, it ain’t in.” In other words, if you didn’t hit the ball in the pocket, you did not do what was required to succeed. It’s easy to block myself. I fucking hate that. Pardon my French, but sometimes (ask Quentin, or Kushner, or Scorsese) a good vernacular ‘fuck’ is all that will convey the gravity of the situation. I sat on the bench afterwards, waiting for the bus, wondering if I’m bullshitting myself that I’m any good. I’ve had this scene for weeks now. No excuse. Absolutely ashamed of myself. As for class today, we watched one scene (extremely well done), and then Dr. Young directed us through a serious of Qigong exercises and ended with a five-minute meditation. Best part of the day. But then, this.

 

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Back on the Wagon! Double-Down.

Script analysis: We are on to Angels in America now, our last project. I submitted my re-do on the Character Analysis. Honestly, I got a 50 out of 50 on my first try, with notes to improve it. I did not spend all week from scratch. I just thought about the notes and finally saw a deeper way to express what the character’s motivations were. But as it was not a huge stretch and there wasn’t hours and hours of work put into it, I hope I don’t suffer a poor grade on the re-do. I think I had it pretty close on the first go around. Then again, why didn’t I get nuts with it? Probably because I’m overwhelmed. Oh well, let’s see what happens. I feel confident I’ll get my game on for the finish line this semester. I really do.

Here are the journals:

ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:

Friday/Monday OFF for Homecoming & Veteran’s Day. (Gators lost.)

 

11/13/2013

 

Woke up late, had the beginning of a flu, missed the entire day, sadly. No more absences after this or I’m going to be in trouble.

 

 

11/15/2013

 

I had worked hard on the Trotsky scene, still didn’t quite have all the words, but pressed on anyway. This was our first showing so it didn’t have to be pitch-perfect. I called for ‘line’ a few times but never broke character, and I put on quite an energetic and funny show. My scene partner did a great job rolling with a few improvised lines but in the end, we remembered all our Director’s blocking, and our set was set up at the end of the room (nobody had done that yet) and we made use of the big window leading out to campus. Pretty neat stuff to use a real window with people walking by in the scene. We also have a giant mirror (the largest set piece of any scene yet). So in the end, Dr. Young’s note for me was not that I did not quite have my lines, but that there had been remarkable change comparing my first scenes (when I didn’t have the lines, I kind of collapsed) to this scene in which I didn’t stop, didn’t let on. He said I had made great progress and reminded me: you don’t have to be perfect the first go-around. “This is a PROCESS”. We got our journals back and Dr. Young liked the things I had pointed out which I’ve learned over the course of the semester. He said, “Now you have these notes forever.”

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ACTING II:

OFF ON 11/8 & 11/11 and Missed 11/13 due to illness.

 

11/15/2013

 

Ran scenes for workshop. I was supposed to go today, but my Scene Partner didn’t show up. So I tried to gather as much constructive information from watching the workshops as I could. Some of the comments included ‘enunciate’, ‘be specific in your actions and have motivations for your actions’, ‘listen’, ‘make use of the space’, ‘make choices’.

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ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE:

11/14/2013

I had an acupuncture treatment for the first time today. It was a free offer from a three-year acupuncture student who had read about how stressed I was with everything I have taken on. The Alexander connection is that as I was undergoing the procedure, I made interesting connections with the whole mind/body connection. I don’t know if acupuncture is a real-deal thing (I know Alexander is…) or not, but it does absolutely put you in touch with your body. These needles go in, you feel sensations all up and down your arms, legs, you feel your whole body pulse as you relax for the 30 minutes while the needles are in, and you get in touch with yourself and other things seem to melt away. This may simply be a matter of taking time for yourself –very important—or maybe there’s more to acupuncture than that…there are some studies, endless personal testimonies, and it’s been around for near 8,000 years and still going strong. Just an interesting experience, and I did feel a renewed sense of energy and a big bounce-back the next day.

11/15/2013

Back to school (I missed a sick day), and it was so amazing to see what happens when you miss a few days…things pile up exponentially. I was mortified to learn that Alexander Technique class was back in session (we took a two week break for one-on-one appointments.) I believe I may have been told of this before we broke. I am almost certain it was not mentioned in my one-on-one with our professor, though that is how others seemed to have found out. I asked a number of class mates and they said they knew only because they had asked or been told in their one-on-one sessions. I take full responsibility for this—I believe ownership of circumstances and/or ownership of what to do in bad circumstances is within the power, generally, of the self. But I’ll be damned if the syllabus said we weren’t coming back until the 19th. There is a question mark by it. I should have read that as, “Tom, you better ask in advance.” They always remind us how important punctuation is in a theatre script. So is being punctual. When I miss something like this, it really pisses me off!

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Tough stuff, this.

A bit in the dumps today. Had a long night of doing too much with too little…did a fun video promo for my Sunday Night Grindhouse Movie-Hosting deal at MARS Bar. Did a performance art comedy bit at 1982 Bar last night, with a few…ok, a slew of beers. Still working on three scripts, a monologue, and a script for an entire play (a couple of weeks and we go.) And my body decided, “I don’t give a shit if you’re studying Alexander Technique, I’m gonna’ shut this mfka down.” Ha ha…I’m feeling the hints of a cold coming on, and Tommy don’t like no colds. (I’ll be downing an entire box of ColdEeze and that’ll take care of business quick. Always works for me.) A good friend is loaning me some bucks so I’m back in the saddle that way. The electricity will not go off for Christmas. Boy, when I stick my boot in poop, I stick it in there good. Of course in India, they make homes out of poop, so where there’s a will there’s a way. And always, it’s good to view the world from different perspectives, as well as yourself. Here are the journal entries for Alexander today.

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11/12/2013

I came to a realization today that a door in my brain has truly been opened with Alexander Technique. The reason is that it occurred to me I consider something about how my body is performing every single day. I now have that awareness to ask, how does this feel? Is this good? In other words, I am in conscious consideration of my ‘self’. And though my involvement with my ‘self’ is only short periods of time here and there, it is more than no consideration and over the long-run that would be a lot of consideration. So the mission then is to deepen this connection over time and enjoying that process, that ‘means whereby.’

11/13/2013

Missed the alarm this morning, missed classes, and feeling the pangs of a cold trying to manifest itself. Too much partying, no doubt, and taking on more than I can comfortably handle. It’s a sad reality for a guy who likes to push the envelope and challenge myself to imagine the fact that, yes, there is a limit sometimes and rest and reducing stress are important matters. So I’m taking a me day (and tomorrow, there is no Alexander class so there’s another day) and I’m going to ease my pace of effort until my fire lights up again. Fire can be good. Burn out, when you need fire, can be bad. So what is called for in this matter is attending to the fire to make sure it’s burning at its best. More wood, a poke here and there, exposure to a little more oxygen… (And to go out of my fire metaphor a bit, a whole lot of fresh clean water. Ha ha.)