Monday, March 3, 2014

Sometimes dreams are no longer healthy right?
and that's when we should let them go?

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Apparently it's inconsiderate to tell people about your dreams. Seems that's a boring conversation and it's unkind to subject others to it. But what the hell this is my blog. The other night I dreamed I was riding to Dorne with Tyrion Lannister. It makes sense since I'm reading A Dance with Dragons. But this is a recurring dream for me. Tyrion and the setting are new but the journey dream is one I've had for most of my life. It's almost always an open road and I'm almost always traveling by horse, cart or on foot. It's always a very long trip, and the travel slow. Sometimes I'm traveling with others and other times alone. I'm not waxing philosophical about what it means. I'm just committing to writing a blog post.
Happy oscars day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Meisner Level One.


I'm three weeks in to Meisner level one. I've found it remarkable difficult to access as an acting discipline. It's an intuitive technique. Body awareness is a part of it. I've practiced that many times as part of my spiritual practice and yoga. Being open to perceiving the emotional state and energy of your scene partner is another part that I have experience with both in my artistic and spiritual practices.
And there the familiarity ends. Much of this technique goes against all of the instincts and defenses I have honed over the years in all aspects of life.

Meisner technique helps you work on being transparent in your emotions, and allowing your scene partner perceive everything you feel since the expression of your emotions will cause them to feel things that they will express and allow you to perceive and feel and express and so on. Dropping the veneer allows a dialogue to take an emotional journey between the working actors completely independent of the words being said. Both actors need to allow each other to see their honest emotions for it to be effective. Trust is essential. That level of transparency and openness of emotion is a real challenge for me.

Most people maintain a control over our emotions all the time. That's part of how we keep societies running. So like most other people I've learned to find ways to work with people I don't like, and create a level of impulse control so I can be around other people. But also, I grew up in a home, at least in my pre-teen and teen years, where the adults did not want to see or hear my “negative” emotions. If I showed anger for example, in action, word or even facial expression, I would be punished. If I was anything other than happy I was expected to keep it to myself, unless told to do otherwise. Finally, I lived much of my life in communities where I was the only Black student in my class, or Black child in my neighborhood. While every day was not a violent confrontation of racial oppression with hooded Klan members. It seemed almost daily that I was confronted with stereotypes about Black people. Most often people looked at me and could only think of some Black person they saw on TV. I was told I reminded people of everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Malcolm Jamal Warner, sometimes in the same day.

In some ways I feel I had no choice but to become an actor. Since I felt so many people were unable to see just me. I decided to control what they would see. I would show them what I wanted them to see. And in studying Stanislavsky I practiced my skill at doing that on stage and off. Intentionally choosing to draw on sense memory to portray genuine emotion appeals to me. It represents control, self discipline and feels powerful. It also feels secure. I was a zealot of church of “Leave your emotional baggage at the door”. Now, Years later, enter Meisner. The Church of “Bring that baggage in open it up for all to see”. It's difficult to open that bag for my scene partner. Not knowing what they want to see, and resisting the impulse to fall back on my habits of putting up an intentional emotional tapestry to look at, while keeping the deeper feelings hidden is frightening. When my scene partner looks at my face and describes to me that they see exactly what I'm feeling I feel a torrent of emotions spurred on by my defenses and desire to block them back out that is almost overwhelming.

It is also beginning to become very rewarding. There is a new intensity emerging in my craft that was never there before.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zombie Apocolypse Training Week 4 Check In

 Alright I said it. I'm not really training to run a 5k. I have no intention of running any races. I'm not really doing it for my health either. Unless by "health" you mean out running a horde of brain crazed zombies so I don't get eaten.  Remember you don't have to outrun the zombie just the other guy.
  This week it still feels like my running intervals a very short and painfully long at the same time. I'm running from 3 to 5 times longer than when I started but that's still  precious few minutes. It is also very humbling that the other day a friend told me her running times and she runs a mile in about 1/3 of the time I do.  
 Ok so maybe I can't outrun the other guy yet, I might have to leg him first.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

It was hard to motivate myself out of bed to run this morning. Its raining today, and the soothing sound of the rain coupled with the thought of running in the cold and wet made it hard to want to get out of bed. But I did and after a short while found myself enjoying the run. It was fun thinking that I joined the ranks of crazy runners who I used to look at from my car on rainy days and think "Now that's dedication."

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ye Gods! My last post here was in march? Well some things don't change. I was terrible at writing letters back in the day and I'm bad at writing blog posts now. 
    Despite what it may look like I did finish the 21 day cleanse. And have made several changes to my diet for the better in the aftermath. my latest health phase is running. I started this week and am following a 5k training program. I'm not planning on running any 5k's just trying something new.
A First happened this morning. I got up and went for a run, and returned home before my alarm went off.  Neat!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

21 Day Cleanse Day 3

A lot of my food choices are habitual. I went in to Whole Foods today and as I walked in the door I thought about getting a slice pizza. I wasn't particularly craving pizza, it's just something I associate with stopping at that particular store. I would frequently stop there between gigs and grab a slice of pizza on the run. I'm still dealing with drowsiness from not drinking coffee. Acting is more difficult in this state. Things that are normally second nature I have to deliberately think about and think ahead of to perform. Otherwise I could drift off and miss a cue.

21 Day Cleanse Day 2

Today I noticed a lot fewer impulses to reach for food or coffee. Though I am feeling the lack of caffeine. Not in a painful withdrawal, I'm much more drowsy in the mornings. Even after I get to a show location I easily fall back asleep, if I have a spare moment backstage or in my car. I've also needed to take naps the in the afternoon the past couple days.