This week was really interesting as far as classes were concerned. Mostly because I learnt a valuable lesson. Or at least put it into practice. Thanks to Bonnie Gillespie for the awesome acronym 😉
You see, I truly embraced the concept of not hesitating and just doing it, even if I’m not ready and even if it scares me. Actually, especially if it scares me. On Monday, we were working on qualities, and one of the activities was a staple of drama schools, where you pretend to be an inanimate object. In this case, leaves. I was in a group of 4, but all the other groups had 3, so I figured I would go last and probably not do it as long as everyone else, which was great, because I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy being a leaf while my teammates were the wind blowing me around. Instead, once everyone else had gone through it in their tiny groups, I had to be one leaf in the middle of the entire class. All because I didn’t just do it from the get go.
I was also really scared about stage combat, because I didn’t understand how the attack worked, but I went to class early and practiced with a friend and the teacher is not only not as intimidating as he was in my mind, he was actually incredibly nice and helpful. Plus, armed with the knowledge that it was okay if I didn’t get it from the get go, I really enjoyed class, and learning a slightly more difficult routine 🙂
For our rehearsal days, we were supposed to get cast, but instead, we chose who we wanted to play on Tuesday. I had absolutely no idea who to choose, because the only scene that interested me was the one between the princess and her lady, where they are talking in french about the English words for certain body parts. It is such an odd scene, and not in verse, or even in English. Since I am here to challenge myself and to learn, when a group was looking for a French King, I volunteered. It slightly broke my heart when the teacher asked someone else to do the french scene, because I so wanted to do it, but I was also really proud of myself. I have a scene in verse, with 2 kind of speeches, lots of imagery and the Shakespearean kind of writing that scares me and I want to learn how to do. Plus, another group wanted to do the same scene but didn’t have a French King, so without having to learn any extra lines, I get to do two scenes 🙂
Keeping in line with my newly found ‘Just Effing Do It’ or JEDI mantra, I literally jumped up to present some of the research I did on my character, even though I was terrified because I thought my answers were terrible and wasn’t really sure of any of it. I just decided that I had to put myself out there, and just fail better next time.
On Thursday, which was supposed to be our first day or rehearsals, our director was sick, so we were left unsupervised. Or at least without a teacher for most of the day. I only mention it because had this been high school or even university, I would have gone home and taken advantage of an unexpected day off. As it was, we did what we had done on the previous days when the director was there. Yes, we did mostly play games, but we were still learning stuff, and I was so impressed that we all were so much more interested in learning than in having the day off. We did go to lunch at Speedy’s (from Sherlock) slightly earlier than our normal lunch break, but in less than an hour we were back to work. And I don’t think we even took our morning and afternoon breaks.
Another thing I learnt on Thursday is that knowing your lines is not at all the same thing as being able to speak them. If you sat me down with a pen and paper, I could have written down my lines, but when we went through the scene, it was like I didn’t know a word of it. So, if you hear someone talking to herself in verse about the English bringing war on us…that would be me, trying to get used to speaking like that.
Wednesday was really strange for me. Because I have recently discovered that I can’t sing. Or at least not in the classical way I am supposed to be singing here. Failing and looking (sounding) bad in front of others are things that absolutely terrify me, but I went for it anyway. I could hear myself, and knew it sounded nothing like how it was supposed to sound, but I kept on pushing through. Had this been karaoke, I would have died of embarrassment and walked off and hid under a rock somewhere, but I gave it my all. This might not have been a good thing for the people listening to me, but I showed the teacher that I was willing to work and fail and hopefully get better. I am trying to make up for lack of talent with preparation, just like I make up for not knowing Shakespeare by knowing history. Sometimes.
On Friday, we had our first taste of RP, which was awesome. We learnt all about the letter R, then did a little activity with a script to put it into practice. Reading it and speaking in RP in front of people, even if it was just a few words, was so much fun 🙂
Another really interesting thing about this week, other than my JEDI lesson, is that Debbie saw right through me. A lot of time I would do the activity and not really understand it, but I tried and that’s what counts, right? Only she saw through one of my defenses. I keep mentioning how I use my knowledge of history to cover for not knowing Shakespeare’s history plays, but I also use academics and reasoning and stuff like that as a kind of shield. She mentioned it in passing on Thursday, but on Friday she really put the nail on it. We were doing an activity that was probably supposed to be instinctual, and when she asked how I was getting along, I told her I was just going over the text to make sure it works. You see, I was using my research and such to make sure I was right or that something would work before I tried it out. I was judging things based on whether or not they worked, instead of noticing what they do and what’s interesting about them. She had a little conversation with me about it, and I think she left thinking it all went over my head, but really, I was so happy that she wasn’t going to let me go through these 14 weeks without learning everything they could teach me. It obviously scares me to take away that safety blanket, and to not know, or to experience things in a way I don’t normally do, but I am also grateful. Because now I have a better chance of growing and getting a whole lot more out of this semester. Part of me would love to stay off in corner and pass under the radar, but I’m pretty sure that’s the fear talking. And I don’t want my fear to hold me back. I want to face it and come out stronger.
Our last class was movement theater, where I am pretty sure I was out of my comfort zone from the second we stood up, but I also think I love this class. I did things like being led around the room and running around with my eyes closed. And most of the time, although I was scared, I trusted that I was going to be okay, and was able to actually enjoy it.
I finished off the week having supper with friends. I can’t believe it has already been 3 weeks!
“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.”
-W. Clement Stone