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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