OK, so this is hardly scientific, but I did my little experiment today.
It actually turned out better than I had imagined because I entirely forgot to execute my plan before we did the monologues. And it went OK. I felt the beginnings of that trust, when you know you've done your work and can just let it all go. It came and went, I pushed a little. My throat hurt. For the first time in ages I was holding it all in my throat! Ah well, we're all human.
Then this evening I did an exercise with Darrelyn. This time I remembered my little experiment. I had also, when setting up my extreme circumstances that morning, dropped them into my swamp as best I could and then left them alone until it was...da da daaaaa! Time to prepare. (By the way, I'm not going into detail on any of the Meisner work because it's really not my place. If you're curious, please read Larry Silverberg's books he is so eloquent.)
And it was amazing. I did the whole thing, got into semi supine and connected. And felt very little at first. Then I let my mind wander to what I had set up that morning and it hit me like a wave. Not images like I usually get (I'm still a baby at this emotional prep stuff, it's something I've struggled wrapping my head around for years and I'm still very intellectual about it) just feeling. From there I did the preparation process that we've been exploring in class.
The coolest thing was when I got up and went to the door. I often end up in some sort of position on the floor when preparing for the deep dark stuff and I find that when I stand up my body goes into "get it together mode" and by the time I'm at the door I have to struggle to reconnect through all that social conditioning. This time, I just kept the breath connected to the swamp where my preparation was living and sure, it comes and goes and grows and shifts, but it was alive in there and SO present for the exercise that this time I really did feel I could just let it all go and be in the moment and trust.
Now this is a pretty useless comparison because it's apples and oranges. Different content, different process. But it was fun and I feel I got something from it. So I thought you might too. I for one will be dropping my preparation circumstances into my swamp from this day forward.
If you're reading words like "dropping in" or "swamp" and think I'm crazy. You might want to check out Freeing the Natural Voice or the Canada's Voice Intensive.
If you're reading words like "Meisner" or "preparation" and have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this amazing course I'm on right now through the True Acting Institute.
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.