vendredi, octobre 14, 2011

The New Year

Well. My apparent anger at silly French desserts has dissipated, and we can move on to other things.

In June I finished the second-year of my 3-year acting school and got accepted into the third year, but for various reasons, decided not to continue classes there. Mostly, I wanted to be home more often and feel less pulled in all different directions. With three four-hour classes a week, work, and rehearsals, I was rarely at home. Handsome got a little frustrated at this, and said so. I wanted some more free time, too, and frankly, the school's administration was pedantic and it tended to suck the joy out of the experience. Once, I was rushing to get to class from work (on opposite sides of the city, of course!) and when I arrived, two minutes late, the professor counted me as absent, per the administration's regulations. I nearly imploded with rage. My clown was on fire that evening, though, so always a silver lining and all that. I was also afraid that we would have a certain Russian professor as the director for the end of the year play, and I had really had enough of him and his style. I learned a lot from him, to be sure, but after a certain point, the novelty wore off, and I wanted something different. Something less invasive (when you were in his production, he owned you and your life - it was exhausting).

I had asked one of the professors I liked about his amateur school, had written him twice, but when he didn't respond, I set it aside, thinking it must not have been the right path. A classmate talked about starting a theatre troupe and asked if I was interested, which I was, but I thought it would be best not to count on it.

I went to a few workshops. I even signed up for one, not really understanding until almost too late that I had pretty much committed to it (I am so glad I got out of that one - it was definitely not the right option for me). I called a bunch of schools, I searched the web. There were very few schools that fit my requirements of real evening hours (I can't do anything before 7PM and expect to be consistently on time) and an advanced level. Most of the professional schools, understandably, only had daytime hours.

Basically, I had nothing lined up and figured maybe I'd just sign up for workshops from time to time. But suddenly, one after the other, things materialized.

My classmate got in touch, saying the troupe was ready to start, we just needed to find a rehearsal hall. She had managed to convince one of my favorite professors from the school be our troupe leader and guide.

The other professor got in touch to say, come to our informational meeting and see if you want to sign up. I did, and I did.

So now, I have two of my favorite professors from the school for a fraction of the price. Same quality of instruction, a third of the cost. That's what I call a really good deal.

The troupe has already started working on our February project : a stand-up routine (individually, of course) in a live comedy club. (Gulp.)

In the amateur school, we have already started working on a monologue. This week we did an exercise where one by one we had to imagine we were in a confined space and could not escape. We could make all the noise we wanted, just not use real words. Each time the professor felt the student was "acting" or "faking it", he'd stop them and say, "you're cheating." Brutal. But effective. I got out there, imagined I was stuck in a tunnel in a cave (drawing on some of the creepier ones we had explored in Cappadoccia recently) and just as I really began to believe I was really stuck, felt real fear and panic, at the exact same moment I felt the surge of real emotion, the professor says, "Yes, that's it, let it come." It was downright creepy that he saw it at the exact time I felt it - maybe even before I knew it myself. I screamed, I wept, out of real despair. It's a very odd sensation to be surprised at a real emotion coming from your imagination making something real. In that minute and half, I actually believed I was stuck in a tunnel in a cave. I felt real fear, panic and despair. And when the professor stopped me, I took a few seconds, wiped the tears away, stood up and went back to my seat. I had no problem "coming down".

At that point, I thought, I'm beginning to understand this acting thing...

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