Just A Moment
All we had for class this morning was stage combat. My lunch is cooking, and after that I'm catching a nap and doing more imagination homework. I'm really looking forward to this evening, still feeling a little tired from yesterday. The only feedback John gave us was to forget about the words. In my class journal I talked about letting go of the homework. All the technical things we do to understand and communicate the layered meanings of heightened text. People don't really want to hear your homework. It may be clearer and more engaging than the flat readings we've all seen in all too many Shakespeare productions, but they want more.
Part of getting into the world, really playing there, is letting go of the words/homework. Once you have a real connection with your partner, the homework and the connection work together to create rising action, personal stakes, intention, etc. I got a hint of it last night. I want more. I expect the audience does to.
I've felt this in other plays. But, well, this is Shakespeare... There is the tradition and the culture behind Shakespeare. The power of the words is amazing. Otherwise you wouldn't have brilliant people still analyzing and embracing it for their entire life 400 years later. I look forward to taking this work to other Shakespeare productions, other classical works, and modern works too. It was so good to have a glimpse of where this work can take me as it assimilates.
When you learn to program, the knowledge is there. Then comes experience where you learn shortcuts and better ways of writing code, but it doesn't substantially change. There is a sense of building something, but not a lot of art, except in your style and approach. Learning to fly is very technical as well. Once you have the knowledge, you develop the physical skills. There is art in there, and it must be carefully and closely harnessed, so you don't become a smoking hole. It is intoxicating. Surrounded by blue sky, cutting through the air, banking to skew your view of the world, the beauty of the world from above.
In theatre the learning is not technical. Even classical training. Especially. You work on physical movement, and hitting the mark is not so important as the journey. You work on voice and speech where volume and articulation are not so important as the connection, which the technical skills simply serve to help communicate. As you practice you constantly struggle to break out of the harness.
As I've droned before, I was a model pre-med student. I was a good naval officer and aviator. I am a very good programmer. They are finite paths. I'm thinking of Rachel's recent posts, because I change direction so often. Whether I become a master in these fields doesn't matter -- I can't follow through that far. There is a point where it simply becomes more of the same for me. The only reason I am still programming, and enjoying it, is because it supports my passion, and is actually a recovery time when needed for an intense production.
Theatre. Acting. I've met people that are considered masters, but nobody I consider a master. They are amazing, brave, alive, and vibrant. I admire them in a nearly divine way. You often feel energized just being around them. I feel this is an infinite art, and mastering infinity is a ridiculous concept for me. It is the conundrum of finding the infinitely high integer (number), then just adding one to it. Once you've mastered the infinite world of theatre, what is beyond the boundary of your mastery? You could master a process, but it is your personal process, and only yours. You could master the area of endeavor which cries to your soul. You are a master. It is a subset. Don't get all huffy. It is a wonderful and 'masterful' accomplishment. Something to be very proud of.
I'm going on about me. I need a changing focus, and art allows you to change focus and continue building. It is what I have craved my whole life. Right now I can't imagine turning away from acting and theatre. It is possible and I would still live. Only if I have art. Without that there is no life for me. I was dead long enough. That experience does define me, it has to, but I've had enough of that definition.