The Weight

Fall and the Harvest Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Fall. Changing Aspen Leaves. Willows. Dogwood. That little furry Animal scurrying into the Woods last night. Chekov. Acting. Emotion. Truth. The waning Harvest Moon. Joseph. Bio-hazard cleaners. Abandoned property realtors. Jon. His ashes. Kate, always Kate. Ruth, a good day yesterday. Jen. Gabe.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Acting

 

Over to Evergreen Mortuary. Second time in two years to pick up the ashes of a loved family member. On the way home Joseph said, Don’t make this an annual thing. Yeah.

Heavy. The gravity of that small box. Once in my living room, wondering about retirement on disability. Once in his studio cleaning up some discarded metal. Once on the slopes of A-Basin, on skis he had made. Where he most felt himself. Once at the birth of children. Now in a plastic container in a small paper sack along with certificates of his death.

Neat and tidy. Yet a definitely, defiantly messy and untidy life. The artist. The father. The stepson. The teacher. The friend. The man who dreamed and failed to execute. The sick man, troubled by illnesses both mental and physical, serious ones. The angry man who raged against injustice. Who sought to right it in his chosen world, teaching art to a diverse elementary school in a poor neighborhood.

That small box. So weighty. Held in his brother’s hands as we left the mortuary. Jon.

 

Marty came. The stager. A porkpie hat and a Range Rover. Upbeat. Task focused. Taking pictures with her phone. Running commentary on this. Love the industrial look. Oh, Stickley. I have this, too. What a great space. Let’s move that bookcase up to the formal dining room. Maybe that chair back upstairs. Yes. Love that painting. My eyes keep being drawn to it. Can those strips come up?

She’ll send me a staging sheet by Monday. Joe came along for the tour. He just sold his house in Georgia. Flush with real estate knowledge. Engaged now with Jon’s house and Dad’s.

Hawai’i moving closer. Still distant, but pieces of the project coming to life. Robin comes next week for our first three hour session. Pruning. Deaccessioning my life in stuff. Purging. Suppose it’s sort of like constipation, all this stuff. Can’t move on until it clears out.

I can hear the waves of the Pacific beating on the North Shore of Oahu. Aloha Rocky Mountains.

 

Acting. So tired last night when I went. Almost didn’t go. Maybe just leave it. No. Signed up. $325. Loved the last class. And Tal’s teaching. In the car headed down Black Mountain Drive toward Evergreen. Mule Deer out along the road. The Arapaho Forest. Upper Maxwell Falls and the few cars left at 6 pm. Denverites most likely. A pre-fall hike, after work.

Following the curves I know well. Seeing the Mountains rise, Maxwell Creek still full from late rains. The occasional gold flecks in the pannier of the Mountain side.

Tal cut his hair. Shaved. Importance of Being Earnest at Stage Door. Nikkia. An East Indian like Joe? So young. 25. Tal only 27? That woman from the performance for the old folks. The one who took the sword and danced around the bodies. A timid woman. I’ll remember their names after next time.

Tal starts and ends his classes with a question. The first one, after reading Chekov’s 8 characteristics of a civilized person, what is a civilized person. Expected, safe responses. Respect for the other. Care in relationships. Me: I don’t want to be a civilized person. Look at what the civilized people of Chekov’s day did to the world. Imperial Russia. I’ll go with Whitman’s barbaric yap.

Clapping together. Harder than it looks. My reaction times, a hair off. 75 year old eyes? Distractions? Got better. Walking. Feel the soles of your feet. Your ankles. Your calves. How they move. Make the hips act. Change your gate.

A Strasberg warmup. How do I feel? You stand up and say How do I feel and answer honestly. My turn. I feel sad. I feel exhausted. I feel weary. I feel bored. I feel relieved. I feel angry. I feel loved. I feel…and I let out a big sigh.

After the clapping and the walking and the tightening and releasing work I’d begun to loosen. Emotional knots becoming untied. The Strasberg work put me at last in the room, attentive.

A Tal lesson on the Five Questions. Learned these in scene study this spring. The answers are in the script and they determine how you approach the character. Who am I? Where and when am I? What do I want? What do I do when I do or don’t get what I want? Distilled by the director of the Yale Drama program. Which is three years long and starts with a year of Chekhov, then a year of Shakespeare, and finally a year of new work in collaboration with the playwrights program there.

After that our first acquaintance with the scenes Tal has chosen for us. Reading. The fun part. Speaking the words of another. Sending them out there. Trying to know what the character wants. Who he is. Where and when he is. Early. Fun.

Last question as the evening came to an end. What gets in the way of love? Fear. Lack of vulnerability. Judgment. Ego. I wanted to dive in with the work the Ancient Brothers had done, but resisted. Taking up the right amount of space.

 

Home late. A sweet conversation with Joe. Then bed. So nice to have him there when I got back.

 

 

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