Tonight I had my second acting class after seven years. I thought it would be a bliss and that I would see fireworks as my previous ability shone through naturally. Unfortunately, that idealization was just that, a product of my imagination. You might think that getting back in touch with an activity you used to do on a regular basis must be easy; unfortunately, it is not. Acting is like a muscle you must constantly work on, if you neglect it it’ll lose its strength. Although I am enjoying the process and I am not doing as bad as I could, I recognize that getting back in shape will require more work than I thought it would.
The last time I actively worked on my craft was when I was 18 years old, a couple of months before I got pregnant and many more before I moved overseas. Life took me on a different journey and my ambitions of being an actor deemed. However, I felt the need to reincorporate activities I had once put on hold. I was catching myself getting very immersed on my anime and TV shows, and sometimes crying because I wanted to imagine what X character felt like during Y scene. I was having the itch and decided to give acting another shot! I thought that because I had contained my urge for so long, it would all feel natural the moment I was in front of an audience again. HA! So naive, not only is my muscle suffering from severe atrophy, I am also learning a new and untapped craft: TV and Film.
For five years I trained and worked on stage. The energy built with the audience and the synergy created with the cast fueled me. “Project, project, project!”, ” Bigger so everyone can see it and feel it!” All those phrases are ingrained in my brain. Unfortunately, they are the opposite to the ones I am hearing now. Acting for the camera is a whole other monster. It is intimidating and it is more contained. My old habits are kicking in and controlling them is less intuitive or “natural” than I thought it would be. You know you have some work to do when the professor praises the class while he loads you with corrections.
I am appreciative of strict, honest, and straight-forward professors, as they tend to be the most supportive of mentors. After today’s performance, the teacher gave me a list of strategies to use so I could gain confidence in my delivery. Among those, he suggested to write down difficult lines and to image the “wall” closer to me. I nodded as he spoke, while containing the tear on my right eye. I was overwhelmed, because I agreed with every word he said. I saw myself naked in front of that camera as my confidence slowly dwindled. It was at that moment that I realized this journey will be less of a honeymoon and more of a reunion with your ex-lover (with whom you are trying to get back with).
I recognize that I am impatient and must remind myself that there is a natural order of operations. As I was putting my son in bed, he asked me how my class had gone. I told him that I was not very satisfied with my performance, but that I was willing to work hard to get there. His words grounded me. “It is your second class after seven years, one step at a time,” he said.
Have you ever reconnected with an activity you used to perform a lot? How was your experience?