Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Apparently, Feminists Need Acting Coaches

I work with a lot of theater performance students and they never cease to amaze me with their stories.  Through their dance lessons, movement classes, and technique workshops, they moan and agonize over auditions, call backs, and rejection.


I'm a good 6-7 years older than most of them and I'm often the one mentoring, guiding, and molding them as they prepare to leave college.  Every once in a while, though, they say something to me that knocks me off my rocker.  I was rocked today.

Theater is about absolute understanding of environment.  The balance of actor, timing, and music is critical for a flawless performance.  Actor and actor must be in sync.  Musician and conductor must be in rhythm.  Absolute understanding, nothing less.

One of my favorite students ran into my office today and dramatically collapsed on my couch. Before I even asked what was on her mind, she sat up and shared her wisdom, "Do you know what my acting coach told me today?  She said, 'Listening means having your life changed.'"

She went on, "It's true, don't you see?  When you listen, I mean really listen, you are changing yourself in response to what another person is offering you.  Listening is really about opening your mind to change and the difference of another human being.  Do you know how many times I haven't listened?  I spend so much time in theater pretending that I am listening, all the while, I am just waiting for MY cue for MY line, MY turn, MY minute to talk.  I realized today:  I don't listen. "  She paused.

I paused with her.

Listening means having your life changed.

Are there theater lessons available for feminists?

9 comments:

  1. Yes... for feminists and so-called anti-racists... :)

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  2. ... be careful who you listen to?

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  3. I like this story.

    I think I need to listen more.

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  4. Joan Kelly4:04 PM

    Who told you that I flunked Beginning Drama in high school? And why can't they let bygones be bygones?

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  5. hey, I didn't know you were theatre peeps too.

    like the new background, p.s. much easier on the eyes.

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  6. yes, it's MUCH easier on the eyes, isn't it.

    Joan K - LMAO

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  7. this is a lesson they teach in feminist activism (at least crisis line and DSV advocacy). I adopt a training for my intro level courses and teach in my pedagogy classes. It really does shift things (in that azaldua path of conocimiento "now let us shift" way).

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  8. littlem7:11 PM

    That analogy doth kick much butt.

    And jamie, I think what happens is if you're open and sensitive to your environment, you can at least then make an informed choice when you're screening. As opposed to just indiscriminately blocking stuff out out of, oh, obliviousness or self-centeredness.

    Just a guess, though, I'm sure.

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  9. Hey, Sudy. I've just passed on an "E for Excellence" award to you for your excellent blog.

    ReplyDelete

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