Thursday, March 2, 2023

Cyanea nozakii Cthylla; Acting!


Beauty is diverse! The deep-sea cephalopod-jelly "Cyanea nozakii Cthylla" was rumored to be a mythological cryptid. This photo was taken in the deepest depths of Marianas Trench in a 2022 expedition by an experimental AiUV (autonomous intelligent underwater vehicle).

The clinic board meeting was intense. It was just over 3 hours long and when it was done, I was ready for bed. Instead, I started reading and that led to my falling asleep in my chair. The rest of the day was very, very slow. But … I did it. I got through all 800 words with no block. I’m amazed, thrilled, relieved and excited.

I’m no actor. I prefer being myself onstage, that’s why I liked doing The Flame and MC-ing some of my productions. As I’ve often written, I feel very safe onstage. I feel free to be me. But something wonderful has happened.

I decided to not just run lines, but to truly rehearse. To speak clearly, to exaggerate in places, to slow my speech down in others, brought in pauses and inflections, changed my pacing, and added lots of gestures and sounds (sighs, gasps, a laugh, etc.). I’m so solid with the first 800 words, I can relax and to my delight, I started adding words here and there, making it feel much more natural and alive. The script has become a base, but I can riff with other words. It’s as close to acting as I’ve ever come.

The writer within wants to call the oral and gestural variations the “colour” of my monologue. The colour is changing my monologue. It’s changing me. I’m becoming a different Chris, the way stand-up comedians become characters in performance. It’s giving me great confidence. I want to succeed with this project.

And miracle of miracles, my body is learning a colour script. I’m doing my emotional and gestural blocking. Every rehearsal isn’t the same, each successive one, right now, makes me better. But all the good fits, as I improvise various alternatives in rehearsing, stay. I find the rhythms, the places I want to punch, and the slow, quiet times. 

In the opening bit of my monologue, I say: “I knew, from birth, what I would be—that the theatre was the place for me. But when I stepped upon the stage, I knew something was lacking. I knew I sucked at acting.” I desperately wanted to be an actor, but I did not know how to get out of myself and into a different character. I had zero confidence. I was terrified; all I felt was fear and that acting for me was being fake.

This is different. It’s putting polish on old withered me—giving me a professional face for when I’m onstage. I’m so old, and I’m so tired of being afraid like when I was in the closet, and more recently, when my speech became so awful to create and hear. I may be over being afraid of judgement—freer to be colourised.

This has become the most wonderful project. I love memorizing, I love that I have found these new skills or new freedom to not be myself. To say my words, yes, but not me my shy self this time, for the first time. I’ve learned a lot. I won’t know for sure until I do it, but I’ve learned a kind of self-determined “acting” skill that betters the show and my experience. I’m really excited about doing this now. 

A new person has joined the Communications, Membership and Fundraising (CMF) committee. Her name is Lu. And our board has given our committee one month to come up with a recommendation on how much to raise and a plan on how to do it. In a month. It’s likely to be a plan to raise 25 grand or more.

Luckily, we have a fellow named Don E. on our committee. He’s experienced and successful in fundraising, and I really like working for him. He fills me with confidence. I think he’s a great guy. But I will likely have more work writing copy for articles and campaign materials.  But I got another person, a new soon-to-be board member. That helps.

The new part-time administrative co-ordinator is going to spend as much time as she can helping Nancy and I on the recruitment and retention campaign. That’s going to lighten my load a lot. The budgeting and accounting have been a source of anxiety. Now, that’ll be off my plate.

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