On Tuesday, I had the extreme pleasure to attend my first New York acting class. It was, in a word, awesome.
I haven’t been in an acting class in several years. While I have been making the rounds as professional performer, and I have a fair amount of experience, I haven’t been on stage in six months. Needless to say I was nervous when the teacher informed me I would be reading a scene at the end of class.
I came to watch, and I was made to play.
The three hour class flew by. It was a a whirlwind of insight, passion, and free expression. But, as focused as I was on the beautiful work going on in front of me, I was filled with anxiety. Anxiety over my coming performance.
Finally, my time came at the end of class. I was not memorized, I had not read the play, and I had never worked with my partner before. I was more unprepared for my scene than I ever have been in my entire history of performing. It was terrifying.
As I began to speak my first line, the teacher stopped. He told me to look at my partner, and find the thing I could love in her. He couldn’t have cared less about the script, he didn’t want me to “build a character.” He simply wanted me to be in the moment with another person and experience our relationship together.
It was thrilling.
The work he was having me do, was something my teachers before only hinted at. Only after we had researched and memorized, and worked and worked, until we had earned our moment on stage. But, this teacher told me to let go of everything in my life and just be here, now.
I had a great time working in this class, and I am now in talks with the teacher to join as a full time student. Because, in a one twenty minute block on stage, this teacher peeled back the veil and let me play. And I played in a way I have missed, so dearly.
I’m not back on stage yet, but I know I’ve taken my first step to get there.