Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Acting Class

I will not speak of forms. Forget it, no way, ain't happening.

So. On to foxes.

Ms. Fleur
, my next-door neighbor, called St. Francis today to see if there was a way the fox could be humanely trapped and released elsewhere. For a myriad of reasons, the biologist she spoke with made it fairly clear that no, there was not. Ms. Fleur has a gentler soul than I do. When she told me the whole story on the phone I said that every where that humans move we are displacing some sort of indigenous population, whether animal or vegetable (or mineral too, for that matter) and that as humans, we have to accept that, try our best to keep it to a minimum and adapt to the situation in which we find ourselves.
I believe that, too.

Okay. On to acting.
I went to an audition/acting class thing today at Freddy's house. This, of course, would be part of the basis of the dream I had this morning and I actually spent three hours doing something that had nothing to do with my family or my immediate friends, unless you count Freddy, and I do. The whole time I was there I fought feelings of guilt- I should have been helping Mother pack. I should have been weeding the squash. Whatever.

I believe I am the only person in Freddy's posse of actors and possible-actors who has never attended an acting class. And I do not feel intimidated by this. Perhaps I should be.
At one point, Freddy asked for a show of hands of people in the room whose main goal in life was to support themselves by acting.
I could not raise my hand.
I would LOVE to support myself with acting but if I had my dream-come-true, it would be to support myself with writing. That's just the bottom-line truth of the matter. I do love to act. It is a joy in my life and I adore Freddy for giving me the chance and also the people at the Opera House but let's face it- I could give it up for the rest of my life and it would be a regret but there is no way in hell I could give up writing even for a week without going insane.
And there you have THAT.

Anyway, to me acting is a magical thing. It is all about flipping a switch and becoming someone else with that person's emotions and movements and actions. Give me a character, tell me the situation, and oh, please, please, please, give me someone to do this thing with, and I can do it. I can become someone else. In a way, I do not want to take classes because if I learned how the process worked, the magic might disappear.
I realize this is not a practical method for learning to act. Or even a rational one.

Freddy gave me and another girl whom I worked with in the last film I did with him a quick sketch and gave us ten minutes to come up with a one-minute scene. We did it and at the end, I welled up with tears because for that moment, I became the person I was supposed to be and that girl became the person who was making me cry and rage and it was sweet, simple magic.
For me, at least.

It's all about imagination, it seems to me. And I think that when you grow up in an iffy situation you have to learn to become very, very good at judging other's emotions and figuring out where those emotions come from and perhaps most importantly, where those emotions might land. Before you are ten years old, you have what is equivalent to a PhD in psychology and learning how to be whatever it is that the adults around you WANT you to be.
Fucked-up childhood = Good Training Ground For Writing and Acting.
I doubt anyone would disagree with me on this one.

So that was my day and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed watching other people become other people and I took internal notes on things I might want to use and things I just don't care to ever even think about. And Freddy may or may not call me to act in another of his films. I hope he does. It gives me huge pleasure and joy to be a part of that man's expression and talent and I will always love him for giving me the opportunity. There were people there today with whom I would love to work with. Who can fall into another character with ease and no obvious machinations.

And now I'm home, cooking beans and chicken and potatoes and leeks and tomorrow I'll go to Thomasville with Kathleen and Judy to meet with Dr. McCutey Pie to hear the results of Kathleen's latest scan and I am sure the news will be good, having observed how well Kathleen is doing, and so it goes.

A different sort of day but a good one. One in which I was challenged to define what I must do, what I love to do, and what that means in my life. One in which I was allowed to step into another's life, to create something out of nothing with another person, one in which I have been given all of these gifts, unasked for and yet freely offered.

And when Freddy asked that question about acting as a main passion in our lives, I was given the gift of knowing that it IS a main passion in my life but that I have more than one and if all of the paths of my life have led to this, then I can only say with great humbleness, thank-you. And I am so grateful to know that this is true, that there is more to my life than laundry and cooking and tending. That yes, these are the sacred dirt from which I grow, but there are other things which are the holy water which restores my soul.



  1. Ms Moon,

    Thanks for indulging me about Mr. Fox... I'm not a total zealot, but I did think it was worth a shot... Pun intended.

    Those beans are heavenly, and so are the tomatoes. Thank you so much for those.

    My beliefs about acting are in line with what you say here. I think it is the reason that many child actors are so incredible. They don't have grown up filters and are not afraid to totally immerse themselves in imaginating and playing "lets pretend". Grown ups I think tend to hold back, and that is the reason they need classes, to unlearn that. Well, I'm not sure if that's what you meant, but I'm sure glad you got to play with Freddy today and I'm sure he'll be ringing you soon.

    This was a beautiful post.
    xoxo m

  2. Isabel Allende, for one, completely agrees with you about childhood and writing...

  3. I know a lot of good actors who aren't on the stage.

    I wish that the fox would quit with the chickens.

  4. Sob....I'm with Petit Fleur.......I hate the idea of someone having to shoot that poor fox whose only crime is that he is hungry........Yes I know about the chickens..I want to save them too........I just wish that barking dogs could be the solution to this........

    Glad you are having fun again, Mary, dear.

  5. Johnny Depp never had formal acting lessons either. So there. It doesn't mean shit.

  6. Ah nice. You're so right about the childhood degree in psychology.My therapist says I can read her like no one else can. I have no sense of being able to do this.
    I'm glad you had some acting magic. Glad too your first passion is writing and that you share it with us so generously.

  7. Ms. Fleur- I agree with you on the child-actor thing. Sometimes you see a kid do a role so well you just want to die. Glad you enjoyed the very long beans.

    A- Well, she's a pretty good writer.

    Syd- Amen on both of those!

    Omgrrrl- Glad you agree.

    Lo- I think that fox is old and diseased. Otherwise he wouldn't be out in daylight trying to catch chickens. But you're sweet and I understand.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- Yes, but he does look like...Johnny Depp.

    Bethany- Oh, I'm pretty sure I'm right about that one. And I'm sure you know all about it.
    Love you, darling.

  8. Oh I so needed to hear all that after my day yesterday. Thank you. X


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