Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rough night in class last night ...

Last night was a rough Meisner session.

It was one of those nights that just felt "off" anyway.

I was ramped up from BigHugeCorp, the gods (ATM, traffic, stray cat, elderly driver, unobservant mom, etc.) were conspiring against me as I tried to get to class on time, and I had a disconnected night when I was up front.

The upside is I learned a bunch of stuff.

We're doing Door / Activities, and I was not bought into my activity.

The Task:

Without going into too much detail, I was doing a stop-motion animation, and it "had" to match some already completed audio and be done in 37 minutes (5 seconds per move (frame) x 15 frames-per-second x 30 seconds = 37.5 minutes).

The problem was as I was doing the animation (and being interrupted by the person at the door), I realized I had an out. There were like 4 places where I could snip the audio, and still have a usable animation, even if I didn't get done with the full 30 seconds.

So I realized pretty early I was easily going to get at least to the first mark (did), and maybe the second or third, despite interruptions.

And, because I wasn't bought into the task, the emotional state of my scene partner (Lynn Burnor, who was dialed-in and amazing, and it's her birthday on Saturday so buy her drinks) was more compelling than my thing, so I kept trying to make (rather than let) my thing be more compelling.

Frustrating as all that is, I get it. And I learned.

On Urgency:

More importantly for me, I learned something big about me and urgency.

For me, I act with a sense of urgency with most of the things I do -- running, management, writing, home improvement, fight the good fight, etc. This equates to "this is important, so I'm doing it." If I find something's not important, why am I going to do it?

That's all well and good, but urgency for me is directed, it's focused. It's do it quickly but do it right. It's "panic won't help me get this done."

So, my epiphany last night / this morning (it all blends, I had a gig for which I was prepping) is that as an actor, I'm working on being less careful. Careful urgency does not serve me in acting.

Panic does.

I know what that feels like. I know the red hot flush at the base of my skull softball-sized knot in my neck slick palms I can't get dry keep wiping them they're keeping me from doing anything aRMpiT sweAt SPICKETS WON't SHUT OFF!

That's what I need when I need urgency for a scene. I need to be blind with panic. I need to be desperate to get done not knowing if I can and every interruption my have just cost me everything. Not showing urgency, but so bought into the why that the urgency manifests.

So, that's where I need to be.

And I know what that looks and feels like.

Now, it's just about the work.

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