Moving and Acting, but also Brains

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:

The first.

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.


The second.

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.

The first post that I post

Hi internet people,

This is my first blog post for HSOW, pretty exciting stuff.  So here’s a little bit about me to get the whole thing rolling.  Let’s begin with how I ended up staying here in Halifax for the next month:

When I didn’t know how I would spend my summer back in the winter, I spent a few weeks leafing through YAP Tracker trying to find a workshop that programmed Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” specifically, so I could audition for the role of Bottom and hopefully get cast to do the whole thing.  I found HSOW, sent in a tape, had fortune thrown my way, and signed on to play Bottom: part-time weaver, part time donkey (full-time ass[1]).

Okay, that’s that.  How about some background about myself so you can get some perspective on my, well, perspective.  I grew up in Los Angeles, California, specifically Pacific Palisades.  For anyone who has been to southern California, it’s more or less between Santa Monica and Malibu.  If neither of those places give you a point of reference, then you won’t know the precise location of my childhood and, while you may feel a vague sense of lacking as you try to understand where I’m coming from, you probably won’t because exact location really isn’t that important.  I spent years going to a few schools (pre-school, elementary school, and high school) before heading off to Peabody, in Baltimore MD where I’m currently a student. I have parents, an older brother and a medium/small white/brown spitz-type dog who passes the time sleeping and barking loudly, a lot.  She’s from Iceland, her name is Gigja. We didn’t know to pronounce it either for the first few months.

That’s probably enough for now.  It could have been too much. Maybe it isn’t enough, but what more could you want to know, dear reader?

To give you an idea of what to expect from these posts (is that really fair? I don’t think I know what to expect from these posts), I’ll probably stop the personal history there, unless things come up that relate in some way.

Bottom line (that better be the first and last pun), I’ll be relaying the experiences during my time here in Halifax in one written form or another for anyone that’s interested to read.

Much love,


[1] Please don’t misread that to be a knock at Bottom.  I mean it with the utmost love and affection for the guy.