Not feeling it

I seem to be coming home frustrated this week, and today more so than ever. Started the day with our Creation Group, trying to come up with a scene to present to the class on Monday, on the theme “Fantastical World”. It’s not going well. We’ve had two-thirds of our time and have almost nothing to show for it. We can’t even agree on what the theme means — exactly how “fantastical” is it? I think the scene needs to be based on the real world and its behaviours in order for the audience to relate to it, and to make the fantastical element clear and contrasting. But we keep gently not-quite-reaching consensus on both this and the need for a narrative/dramatic build (yes, we need one, others don’t seem to quite agree).

Things like this make me think about how much of a leader I am or am not. Generally, in any situation, if someone else wants to take charge, and they’re not a complete idiot, I’ll more than happily sit back and let them. Conversely, if I’m explicitly put in the position of leading a group I’ll usually enjoy doing that. But today… it feels like we need one of us to take control, particularly as time runs short, but I find it difficult to do so when I don’t explicitly have the role of being in charge. I feel embarrassed about doing so and fear that people will think me bossy. Sometimes I think I need more ego.

Then we had more mask stuff. Continuing from the waking up and the cave and the incredible landscape, we were now in some outdoors place — a forest maybe — and were exploring it for the first time. Huge spaces, little objects, make the audience feel the vast space. Hmm. I didn’t like it, and purposely avoided going up to have my turn until we ran out of time. Cowardly. But it’s all still too reverent for me and — I realised this is a big problem for me — it’s all so solitary. The person on stage is exploring on their own and I find this boring and free of drama, whether I’m watching or doing it. I want reactions with other people, something to happen.

Finally, voice class. We had homework to memorise 3-4 lines of poetry or prose. We lay down, comfy and relaxed. Quiet. The sound of birds played. African song. More birds. A train clattered past outside the studio. Some Beethoven piano. Birds again. We had to think of images from our text, maybe say some of the words out loud. Then we were sitting up and in pairs, whispering the words intimately to our partner. It was quite an atmosphere, near-silent, intense.

So, had I known what we’d be doing I would probably have picked a more profound piece of text. After all this, the silence, the drifting away, the solemnity, the moving close to each other, I whispered these lines:

This winter
I hope you get a splinter
If you make a toboggan
And it is a mahog’un

For all his merits, John Hegley and Poem about not using tropical hardwoods because it diminishes the rain forests perhaps wasn’t the most suitable choice for this occasion.

But aside from that I just wasn’t feeling it, whatever “it” was. Other people were really moved by all this and I don’t want to belittle whatever they felt in any way — it was obviously real and personal. I enjoyed the sound of a woman whispering Italian close to my ear — so quiet but so loud at the same time. But otherwise I felt as if I was with a bunch of friends and an hour earlier we’d all taken the same illicit substance and now they were all up and I was sitting there feeling aliented, as if I’ve done something wrong, and that if I say or do anything at all I’ll break the spell and ruin their shared moment.

Pffff. Annoyed with myself for many reasons. Must keep going.


  • Ah, the horrible price of learning. Don't forget that part of why you're actively learning is to come up against things like this and work through them. It's trite, I know, but if it were easy, or lacking in these meta challenges about why and how and who are you, it would be far less rewarding in the long run. It doesn't help right now, but you'll feel a hell of a lot better for it when you've got through it. Don't be too hard on yourself.

  • Oooh it's so interesting to hear this. We hardly ever get to see any of you guys so I've hardly heard anything about how you are finding it.
    Reverence is just one of those things - annoying, but not normally encouraged by the teachers, esp Thomas and Amy. I was extremely sceptical of all things wide-eyed and naive, and got frustrated. But fundamentally, doing those exercises has changed who I am as a performer totally, in an amazing way. Now, in the second year we are doing story telling and theatre and tragedy - it's all brilliant - but the first year, which sometimes doesn't seem to help much theatrically, is crucial. Or was for me, anyway. Coming to term with who I was when I was alone on a stage without a character to hide behind has enabled me to create characters in a much more honest, and much clearer way than before. Anyway, I could go on forever. But don't give up! It's all much more useful than you think it is!

  • Thanks Emily. Recently I've managed to drop my cynicism guard a little, which helps. I just have to trust that the teachers know what they're doing and go with it for the moment, trying not to worry too much about how silly it might seem to cynical me.

    By the way, don't take whatever I say as a guide to how everyone else is feeling, as I can only speak for myself!

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Thursday 16 November 2006, 6:07pm

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16 Nov 2006 at Twitter

  • 7:30pm: Dinner and 'The Wire'
  • 6:59pm: Testing UK mobile number for sending twitters
  • 6:36pm: i'm very kissable
  • 6:23pm: Blogging again, with added joy.
  • 6:18pm: Listlessly reading RSS feeds
  • 5:53pm: Blogging, typing with a clatter
  • 5:20pm: ibuprofen - aching back/shoulder.
  • 4:42pm: sandwiches: one lemon curd, one chocolate spread.
  • 4:41pm: back home. deflated.

On this day I was reading