One of the participants in the Meisner Acting Lab that finished Phase One yesterday shared an entry from her journal. I liked her perspective so much that I asked if she would mind recording it to share on my website and she generously agreed. Here are Hannah's thoughts on the structure of the Meisner work:
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I understand why actors get so superstitious. Why we shroud our art in mystery. It's so personal and so undefinable. Sharing it only dulls the shine. The emotional preparation work really brings this home. It's lonely.
Something I'm coming across everywhere in my own life at the moment is the loneliness that sharing brings. Counterintuitive perhaps. But one of those true life paradoxes.
Have you ever had a passionate conversation, even when you are in agreement with the other person, about something you care about deeply and it leaves you feeling depressed? I'm a puppy. I get SO excited! I'm riding this high of positive energy and passion (and sometimes the other person is even along for the ride) and then, somehow in the midst of all this, emptiness creeps in and by the time the conversation is over I am consumed by grief.
And this is when I feel, acutely, the human condition.
That large neon sign of "I AM NOT THE SAME AS YOU" placed right beside the one saying "I JUST WANT TO BE LOVED AND NOT ALONE!" I'm sure we get the little reminders of this all of the time, but when it's touching something close to my self, close to my heart, when it is related to something that I consider to be a part of me, an experience that is a piece of my "me-mosiac", that is when this feeling descends like a ton of bricks.
Experiencing it in this context makes me wonder if it comes from a lack of ownership of myself. I'm a young teacher and especially being here, surrounded by amazing, talented, experienced and wise teachers, I feel myself revisiting my highschool years, trying so hard to impress, to be like. I feel a different age depending on where I am or what I'm doing. My literal self-image changes depending on how confident I am. Sometimes I see myself as I was when I was 5, sometimes 10, sometimes 17. Sometimes even the age I am now. ;)
All this yearning to fit in and reminders of high-school make me wonder how many parts of myself I habitually compromise without even noticing. It's scary; owning something important to you. Especially with the knowledge that different things work for different people, especially with so many other opinions out there, especially fearing that you might be "wrong". I mean someone else may think I AM wrong and, for them, they may be right! Oh subjectivity is such a bitch.
I find myself thinking: "Who am I to express my opinion to the universe?"
I have such an ingrained notion that in order to deserve to put an idea out into the world you have to believe it 100%, no doubt, no room for error. Perfect confidence in whatever it is you happen to be doing at that point in your experience. A ridiculous idea. Fascist! Powerful.
Note on 28th July:
Saw this on facebook the other day, I think on Yvia's status. It's what inspired me to choose this fragment to go up next:
"The experience of separateness arouses anxiety; it is, indeed, the source of all anxiety." - Froom
Picking up the pieces
Returning to normal life after "Meisner camp" has been a lot harder than I had anticipated, but I am finally ready to start picking up the pieces and preparing for the workshop in August.
You always become close to the people you share workshops like this with, but the experience I had at the Meisner Certificate Training Program was much more intense than anything I've felt before. Something about the work we did there and the kind of people who are drawn to work with Larry in this way did something very special to me that I will never forget. I am comforted by the fact that we have managed to cajole Larry into offering a Part 3, which I plan on attending in January 2013.
I did a lot of writing while I was in Oregon, but not much editing or posting, so I'll be posting retroactively over the next week or two as I order my thoughts. Stay tuned.
In the meantime I feel the pangs of separation from my classmates deeply. Larry Silverberg posted this quote for us. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing:
"There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” - M Scott Peck
Danielle Benzon coaches entrepreneurs and performing artists in voice, acting and audition technique. She is also certified to teach the Meisner Approach through the True Acting Institute. Danielle is based in Vancouver, Canada.