Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Back to Blogging

I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Where To Now?

Starting two classes, the mask class at Freehold and Rachel's improv class. George, one of the instructors for mask, I've had for two or three other classes. I've also taken quite a few acting classes from Rachel.

I have some familiarity with the warm-ups and methods they use, and it served as a milestone of sorts for me this week. Last year was Meisner, all year. Coming back to these forms with George and Rachel was a "stop moment" for me. I'm sure there are differences in watching me, likely subtle. The difference from my side of my skin is profound.

I remember reading Carlos Castaneda twenty years ago, and his struggle to shut off his internal dialog, thoughts and all. It is exactly what we are striving for in the training. How can you assume someone else's character if you can't shut up?

My internal dialog shuts off. I did not set about trying to stop my internal dialog, which is the trick. I could not have learned that kind of silence in a way aimed at acheiving the quietness. It had to happen through the other work. I can now shut it down with volition. That's not the all of it. Otherwise we wouldn't have to keep working on the craft. You also need to know how to recognize the need, and to sustain it. Always, the new tools to learn and old tools to hone and expand.

I noticed in the forms when I had gotten in my head, I could take a briefest moment to vacate the internal dialog and surrender. The exercises did more to warm me up. Not so much a profound change in my acting ability as an awareness of how far we can go. In a very important and ever expanding way, I am more human. That is a benefit art, an overwhelming bennie when compared to a possible paycheck bonus or stock option. That's as far as I can or care to go in defining a measure of a small artistic step in a never-ending journey of and for beauty. In the same way a barn swallow loses it's spirit, soul, and beauty when thrust into a birdcage.

I Don't Know Where I'm Going

Wow, a downpour. The heaviest rain I've ridden through since I traded in the leathers (worn for years, used once ;), for an Aerostitch suit. It is water resistant, and surprisingly kept me drier on a ten or fifteen mile freeway commute than the leathers. Last night was much nicer, even if it did smell of leather inside my helmet.

Neutral Mask started yesterday. It was amazing. There was a bit of a build-up before we put on the masks, part learning respect for them and part making the experience heightened. I felt like we were being marketed to, but didn't mind. David and Mark from last year's Meisner Progression are in the class too, and I saw a subtle something in them with the masks on which struck me as a subtle indefinable difference from anything I saw them do in all our intensive time together.

We learned of the design and making of the masks, how to handle them, and what to do to avoid eyelash rub, or burn as he called it. One of the instructors (Dave Taft) teaches mask at Cornish and he is excited to be teaching the class at Freehold, where the class period is longer and dedicated solely to mask.

After the introductions, guidelines, and build up we picked a mask and studied it, and "shoed" it. Step in the wings, or face away from the audience, hold the mask and lower your face to the mask, slipping the strap around the head. They are the masks used at Cornish as well, making them well used and cared for. The first thing I really noticed was the leather smell. We simply looked, exploring our vision, the mask, and our physical selves very slowly. Then we moved around slowly taking in and letting ourselves be drawn or pulled by the space.

The leather smell dropped from my conscious awareness immediately (thank the stars), though I found it stayed with me when I put on the motorcycle helmet, and again this morning when I washed my face.

My attention in the mask was like that of a kid. I'd get interested in the gap on top of a door and never make it there, getting interested in something else. The impression which stayed with me was a feeling of being hidden and protected by the mask, while at the same time feeling very vulnerable. I'm to explore the counter-point.

I am looking forward to the class. Not sure where we're going, by design, but looking forward to seeing where Dave and George will take us.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Diatribal Diaspora

Polarization, anger, family/tribe, and estrangement are on my mind lately.

Right now I am at a point where I sincerely believe supporting the neocons of our current leadership is at best driven by greed, deliberate ignorance, and/or racism/sexism. The only other explanation I can conceive for supporting these people is cowardice at it's most despicable and vicious, and I'm not sure you can separate cowardice from the others. They appear to be symptomatic of fearfulness.

I believe my younger brother to be the most courageous and intelligent of our brood. Yet, I see him fervently embracing doctrines in absolute opposition to courage and intelligence. I don't know what to make of it. I have not talked to him since I cut him off during our phone conversation nearly a month ago. I don't think I want get in touch again for another month -- after the election. I do not want to bear him repeating neocon sound bites, bogus statistics, or the digging little insults right now. I worry I can't simply let it go right now. I am too likely to say something as mean-spirited, which would likely tear us apart for many years. It's not equitable, it just is.

America may well be in the midst of a civil war. For my brother and I the first two casualties have been a loss of civility, followed by a loss of closeness.