Due today, the answers to questions on a handout called, ‘Body Imagination – Personal Inquiry’. We keep a copy and our professor gets a copy. The paper has a number of interrogative personal questions which in answering, provide some insight as to how we operate as human beings and actors. It is supposed to be kept in confidence, so for anyone reading this, don’t tell! Shhhhh. As if anyone needed to know anything about me, well, here is what I wrote. I only present my answers. The questions, you’ll have to imagine for yourself:
The Body Imagination – Personal Inquiry
As a child, I loved all kinds of activity, especially going barefoot (which you’d rarely if ever see today). I must have obviously been far more uninhibited then as compared to now—vivid memories arise of running barefoot down the road wearing only underwear and a Superman cape I made out of a towel. I have become much more conscious of my body later in life than in childhood. I process and evaluate aging, weight, imperfections, and I’m more reserved with my physicality in interpersonal interactions…a much more inhibited self-awareness today than yesteryear. Until you put me on a stage…then all bets are off.
I experience myself as seeking balance at all times. Emotionally, I find myself to be over-empathic. I am very sensitive to the feelings of others, often at my own expense.
I think others experience me as humorous. Though I am taken seriously on many issues, philosophy, artistic expression, as a creator, I also think on occasion I serve as a very funny cartoon for folks to watch for their own amusement.
My interaction with others seeks challenge, awareness, balance, my analogy is that I tend to make fairly accurate guesses about a person by how they walk, talk, body motion, speed of language, language, and then I fire a spaceship probe and begin to discover where I am right and where I am wrong.
I learn best experientially. It is a struggle for me to deal with challenges, great effort, failing, stumbling, being seen as less than what I imagine myself to be, but I also recognize that the most profound learning comes from missteps and failure.
My creative process is organic. I try to approach my creative process with no predetermined constrictions. I also like to work fast (immediate). I am a procrastinator. I am very aware of weaknesses in my process and enjoy the process of improving myself. I like a balance between being directed and offering my own creative input.
I enjoy physical activity. Martial arts, movement, exploring space physically, etc.
I do not fear physical activity in any way, although for some reason, I find dance (freedom of dance) difficult to grasp and feel uncomfortable attempting it. I do not fear touch.
I am very excited about this course and plan to enjoy greater awareness, freedom of my body/mind connection, and applying the skills I learn here to the acting process.
When I am performing as an actor, it is to me a full mind/body organic experience. I am more interested with what happens in the moment than what is prescribed to happen by script or direction, but I value both.
I believe story-telling and acting is literally paramount to human survival. Story-telling is the process of culture and without culture, human beings literally do not have the ability to live on the earth and with each other. Without theatre, there is no life. I was drawn to theatre from childhood. My sister enrolled me in Ruth Foreman’s acting studio for children, and it was instant magic.
My acting style is organic, experiential. I believe in the script as a sort of Bible, but an actor’s point of view, it is a Bible with directions from here to there, like a boat rudder, which in the course of organic action and reaction needs little steering nudges to keep it on course. I’m a nudger.
I believe I often fall into the trap of taking my environment for granted. I am a meditator, and in those circumstances—when meditating—I become in equilibrium with things and my environment awakens to my senses. I tend to separate my consciousness from my body in ordinary waking life. I kind of figure there is much my body handles on its own as it walks my consciousness around from here to there. Sometimes, I feel if I give it too much attention, I can influence it in the wrong ways. For example, if a little cough creeps in, I figure my body will handle it and so I go on about my business. If I focus on it and say something like, “Oh oh, this little cough may be the precursor to infection, virus, and the flu!!” I feel like my body might say, “Well, you’re the consciousness…you know best.” And then you have the flue. Note to self: I haven’t had the flu since childhood. I sometimes let my body conduct the affairs of my mind. Sometimes, through pain or desire or empathy, my body gives me a signal to eat more salt or go to sleep early this evening, or go outside and sit quietly for a while. So in short, we are never independent of one-another, but we are interactive on many varying levels. Also, we are one.
I am an organic actor.
My warm ups consist of breathing, stretching exercises. A little meditation, and I often find myself developing certain rituals when it comes to the run of a play. For example, in the last show I was in, I always had one sip of rum, always set up to go on at the same time, and focused on a fixed spot of paint on the door from which I would make my entrance. I find it grounds me in the world of the play to follow a pre-show ritual. I also tend to arrive to my rehearsals and performances already as the character.
My experience with Alexander Technique: I was exposed to some Alexander during my two years in the Santa Fe College theatre program under the direction of Gregg Jones. We learned some pertinent aspects of the way the body is constructed, we did some breathing/walking exercises. We did not get deeply into it, but enough to where my experience thus-far in THIS course is comfortable and familiar.
Skills: I am a martial artist, musician, I have absurd ability to focus my awareness (I once did a two hour meditation demonstration during a punk rock show, and a 16 hour non-stop reading of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, reading in character as Truman Capote for a live audience in a loud noisy bar). I have extensive training in audio engineering, lights and design (non-academic but in the field), and I have directed over 100 shorts on various Internet media. I have been a professional bartender for over two decades and managed the bar at the Hippodrome Theatre for two years. (I tell people, I was playing a role called, Bartender, and I was so in the character that they started to believe me and pay me and come to me for drinks.) As a performance artist of some three decades, I have an ability to create room-sized discomfort among an audience…a sense of, “Oh shit, something’s about to get weird.” One might more aptly call it, suspense. I write prose and poetry, I paint, I write and record songs and musical art, and I’m a talented public speaker and show host.
My expectations in UF are to earn an MFA, and go on to a Ph.D. I have been in theatre in one form or another all my life, but never under an academic approach. I look forward to imparting what I have learned, and learning the things academic to the craft of Theatre, acting, mastery of body/mind, and story-telling. Post degree, I intend to teach, write, and act regionally on stage, TV, and film (cinema).
I am very happy to be here.