Oct 3 – The Beginning
So here we go. I thought I might start recording my acting journey, which I have been at for a year now. Not actually acting for a year, but going to acting school for a year. I started last summer on a whim. I took a class with Nils Osmar at the University of Washington Experimental College. Just a beginning acting class. Once a week, for two hours, for five weeks.
I was really nervous about it. I am rather shy and reserved, but I have been coming to the conclusion that I need to get over myself. I saw this show on the Discovery channel or somewhere, about treating people with phobias. There was a woman who was very afraid of spiders. The treatment consisted of acclimating her to spiders slowly, by first having her look at pictures in books of spiders. Then when she had adjusted to that, they had showed her a real spider from far away. She could barely stay in the same room. Eventually over time she managed to be in the room with the spider, and eventually they got her to touch the spider, which was a big hairy, scary, (but I am sure perfectly lovely) tarantula.
Anyway, I thought I should just force myself to acclimate to things I don’t like, but wish I did. Like being shy, onions, swallowing pills, getting up early, etc. How better I thought to get over being shy, reserved, and self-conscious than have people look at you and judge your performance. Acting seemed the perfect path. I signed up for my first class, and guess what, I didn’t die.
In fact I liked it.
Not that I didn’t almost have a heart attack several times when it was my turn to get up in front of people. My mouth cottony dry, palms sweating, headlights shining in my deer-glazed eyes. Oh, I had all that, but I survived.
Then I decided to take something a little more serious. I searched around on the web, and found the acting schools in Seattle, read up on the classes and teachers, and then picked a beginning acting class at Freehold Theatre. I took that class, and again, miracle of miracles, survived it. And I have taken several more classes. We started out slow, doing exercises and improvs, then moved on to small scenes. Then I took another class where we did longer scenes. Then I took a class where we did a whole play. Really. A whole play, which we performed in front of real audiences. No one threw anything, or ran out screaming.
Over the summer I took a Shakespeare class, because I know (knew) nothing about Shakespeare except for what I was forced to read in high school. I also took a movement class with George Lewis, who introduced us to Meyerhold’s Biomechanics. Look it up on the web for a better explanation that I ever could provide. It was very difficult, but good. George is a tough teacher. He likes to push you to your edges, which I think most of us don’t like. I know I don’t.
The new quarter is just starting, and I am taking two classes. The first is Stage Combat with Geof Alm. This class I am really looking forward to. I like the martial arts aspect because I study Aikido already. And also I think it will look good on my resume, and feed into my secret dreams of being an action-star. Look out Steven Seagal!
The second class is Personal Clown, and I have to tell you this one scares me. Perhaps it is cliche to be scared of clowns. I am not scared of clowns, but of becoming a clown. The process scares me. This class was described to me as: “…we take you faults and personality quirks and expand on them to the point of absurdity.” Also it was rumored that you want to go home and cry a lot. And it is taught by the George Lewis, whom I mentioned before. Tough love.
Anyway, it’s the first clown class tonight. Hopefully I will survive to post tomorrow.