I Can’t Think of a Title for This Post

When I was living in Chicago I took Meisner classes at The Artistic Home.  I studied with Kathy Scambiatterra and Monica Payne- two very brave and smart and wonderful women who I respect a great deal.  You may not know a lot about this technique, so I’ll tell you as much about it as I can without making it sound too crazy.

Basically, it’s a class to teach actors how to follow their instincts so that they may react truthfully moment to moment on stage.  That may seem like a simple task, but it is not my friend…it is not.

So, for instance, if I had to play a character who had drowned her baby in the bathtub, it would be a difficult thing to relate to because I LOVE babies and I have never and don’t ever plan to drown any babies in a tub, or any other body of water.  BUT, if I get cast as that character, I have to be able to relate to that woman, embody that emotion, and carry out her actions, deplorable as they may be.  To tap into that, we turn to Meisner who suggests that we examine what emotions that character is going through- desperation, fear, love, guilt- and use our own life experiences to relate to them.

In a typical Meisner class we would start out with tag: one person enters the space and just lives in it.  When a classmate feels compelled to join them, they can do so by entering the space with an observation, and they begin an exchange. There were many classes where an entire minute would go by with one person on stage…waiting…wondering…waiting…getting more self conscious by the minute…”why isn’t anyone joining me?” they are thinking…fearing.  Meanwhile, as a classmate in my seat, I am sitting there feeling fear, frustration, fear, stubbornness, fear, anger, fear.  Monica would always say, “When your head tells you, “I don’t want to go in” THAT is the time you MUST go in.  When you feel fear, break through it and it will dissolve.”

And I think about that all the time.  I used that guidance in class because it was easy.  Well, it was an easy cue to follow, but it wasn’t always easy to carry out.  But in life, when I feel fear or frustration or anger it’s not as easy to barge right through it and bust it up.  I tend to sit and stare at it and hope it doesn’t notice me and goes away soon.  I try to befriend it hoping that if I sit on the couch and give it tea that maybe it will move on.  But it doesn’t.  It just gets more comfortable and suggests OTHER things to be afraid of/frustrated by/angry over.

I’ve been afraid of writing lately.  Well, I’ve been afraid that I don’t have anything to write ABOUT.  This blog isn’t focused on any one thing so I don’t always know if what I have to say is worth putting down.  So, instead of walking away from the computer today, I sat down and wrote this post, and I am glad I did.  I can’t be the only one feeling this way, right?

I’ve been swimming in a pool of self doubt lately and it’s time to get out and dry off and jump into the pool of self love….but not the kind of self love pool that you find in Cancun on spring break.  That’s just yucky.

This is what came up when I searched "Self Love Pool" in Google Images. Yeah, I could find self love in that pool...

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July 27, 2011. Uncategorized.

3 Comments

  1. Sarah replied:

    I totally loved reading about your experience and the basic process of those classes!

    I just started blogging this year and I can totally identify with what you are going through in the area of fear of writing!

    I’ve found myself worrying if anything I write is worth while to read. And, sometimes I catch myself thinking, “What in the world am I going to write about today that people will want to read???”

    I think I’m starting to get to the point where I will simply write. I’ll fight the temptation of worrying about if anyone will read it or not. Instead, I’ll write because I love it.

    Happy blogging!

    -Sarah

  2. theskyandback replied:

    It’s great that you wrote it. I had never heard of that acting technique before, so I totally learned something. Score!

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