Feeling the Act

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?


10 Replies to “Feeling the Act”

  1. I know that feeling. My skills as a pianist are not what they used to be and it takes more work sometimes to get where I want to go. Keep working! 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  2. When I was in high school my art teacher said I had no talent. I kind of believed him even though I kept painting and sometimes found work, and, down the road, like 10 years after I graduate high school, I had a one person show. I kept being quietly productive usually after long intervals. But the voices in my head — not just my HS art teacher but my mom and various other voices — made it constantly challenging. Then, in 2010 I built a little shed where I could paint and leave everything there. It was like another world even though it wasn’t even 20 feet from my back door. I’ve since moved back to Colorado where the climate doesn’t really allow a shed outdoors without heat etc. I have a studio in my little house. I surrendered at some point to the reality that I have plenty of talent and innate ability, but I have never studied painting formally and am not likely to. I’ve seen how it goes. I paint until I learn something, I practice and then at the end of that small trajectory I paint something wonderful, amazing. At that point, it’s time to move on to the next scary thing and I have to paint myself through that, take the lesson as it emerges, and keep working. I can’t care how I do. In fact, to keep painting, I have to NOT care. Samuel Beckett’s little aphorism, “Try, fail. Try again, fail better” which I’ve certainly quoted to The Dihedral before is like a mantra for me in creative work. I’m not the shit until I’m the shit and then if I have courage I will go forward and no longer b the shit. That’s how it is for me. Loving it means that I must grow as an artist. There’s a whole world of images and colors and things I haven’t seen and haven’t tried and don’t, yet, know anything about.

    Anyway, that’s my experience reconnecting. As an older person I am far more conscious of the beauty of the process than I was when I was young. It, in and of itself, is magical. ❤ Keep going, Gaia.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I used to be actively involved in theater. My last audition was when I was 18, and I’m 40 now. I’ve thought of getting involved in community theater, but I know I have a lot of re-learning to do.

    I’ve recently started writing again, and I feel like my skill has devolved so much in the absence of active writing. It’s frustrating, but I know I’ll get back to where I once was.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dating was my activity of choice although one could argue that dating is not an activity like painting or acting and etc. The fact that I’ve never been married, tells me it’s a craft that I still have not mastered. Dating can be fun. For the most part, it’s like riding a roller coaster! 🎢 You described it best “this journey will be less of a honeymoon and more of a reunion…”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a dancer. I used to enact and dance during my school days. But after that, everything had stopped. It was like after 17 years, I joined dance classes. It was tough initially since my stamina and energy level was low. But I pushed myself and worked on it. And now, it’s been 6 years into dancing. The journey was like re-inventing myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is so good to hear and gives me a little more confidence, that even after a great, we still have the ability to get back to our roots! Thank you for this!

      Liked by 1 person

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