Though it happened a couple days ago (from the day I’m writing), I’d like to talk a little bit about the first acting class here at HSOW. First I’ll give a little explanation for all you internet folks not at the festival, and then I’ll talk about a few observations re: the experience.
Take a read.
This first class focused on the body’s relationship to the space around us and to the space between our ears (our minds!). We pressed on the floor with our feet to find their “four corners”, we took small gestures, gradually amplifying their intensity, growing them into full-body movements, we walked around slowly, moderately, and finally rapidly, avoiding collisions, and more. An exciting way to warm up a 9:30 brain and body.
A few things that struck me during the class:
Something wonderful is bound to happen when you have a room full of singers with a healthy dose of reckless abandon. I bet that if you could sit in the rafters observing, you would see bodies moving in ways you’ve never seen before and will never see again.
More on that:
By all of us committing to “abandon”, I felt a personal and collective release of embarrassment. I am no dancer, and I will never claim to be a graceful fellow. Directed movement under almost any circumstance fires off signals that tell me I should feel embarrassed. Probably a defense mechanism, but do my best to ignore them; it works okay. But to look to my left and right while doing some goofy moving, and see that no one is second guessing what they look like, and to find that neither am I; that seems to be a valuable moment.
Okay, what else.
Two activities in particular struck me as interesting and altogether new to my experience:
We were asked to commit to a motion and while performing the motion, consider how it related to feelings about ourselves. For me, I often find the mind triggering the body, the body performing an action, and so on. That happens constantly; it’s happening right now. But analyzing the emotional content of the bodies activity; that is very new to me, and while it seems perhaps esoteric and unlikely, I found that it took my brain out of its normal pattern and coerced unexpected train of thoughts from my little noggin.
I found this activity pretty stimulating.
We were asked to move against every impulse as it occurred. For example, if you feel like walking forward, walk backward, if your mind says to jump, sit. You get the idea, it’s pretty simple. Try it though, it gets vigorous fast. I found that after an action, a new word would pop into my head, and as soon as I acted contrary to it, another would replace it. Another mindset that was altogether new for me.
Finding new trains of thought through movement; that’s a way of accessing creativity, imagination, whatever it is, that I haven’t experienced much but that must have positive value.