Monday, June 18, 2012

Eating the Imaginary Apple

Two days, two Saturdays to be exact, with the same sense memory exercise.  Every Saturday morning, under the keen eye of Salome, classmates and I sit half-circled and allow the body to relax. Tension is Public Enemy Number One for the actor. Ease tension, release energy, access emotion, let all things inside flow comprehensively until that flood spills forth from the body at the time the actor needs it!

I remember doing local theatre when I was much younger - going onstage, solidifying the nerves and butterflies into tense positions and facial expressions. Thinking this was a useful approach when in reality - it limited me to the Nth degree. Even in graduate school, when I was there for one year, I developed chronic jaw issues while doing extreme character work - contorting my body in an elderly fashion, wearing a bodysuit with a hump under my costume, and being as colorful a hag as possible for a production of VINEGAR TOM. Needless to say, I overdid it - so my neck and jaw told me.

When we are truly relaxed, we are free. This is most difficult to practice and obtain. Stillness of the mind/body, rhythm and depth of breath.  We sit for minutes, minutes, minutes and let ourselves go.

I am the newest in class - and I am beginning with the simplest exercise while others more advanced go on to very interesting actions.  When I am ready, I open my eyes to find two things before me: a table and a glass of orange juice. My job is to look at both of these things with ultimate curiosity - as if I am seeing them for the first time - and I proceed to explore every aspect of both the table and orange juice.  How does it feel? Is it cold? Is it warm? Is the table made of wood? Where is the height of the table? Are there grooves along which I can run my finger? Is it dusty? Is there a ring where the glass of orange juice was once I pick it up? How heavy is the glass? What does the orange juice taste like? All of these questions I must answer and explore without going beyond to the questions where I "feel" certain things about them. Keep it light, keep it simple.

This past Saturday - the 17th - I graduated to a piece of fruit rather than a glass of orange juice.  My initial approach this change will be actually handling an apple.  Then I will re-create the apple and the table at which I sat the day before with the best possible detail. 

Hmmmm, perhaps I should choose grapes instead...

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