I have a lot to say but I don't want to get too heavy. Instead I would prefer to talk about my latest and best venture into acting. I started studying with Richard Seyd up here in the Bay area in the hope that when I move to the Los Angeles area, I will be able to continue with him. I spent a year at Strasberg Institute in Hollywood a few years back and while it was fun to be in such a multicultural and multinational group, I didn't really learn much. To make matters worse, it wasn't cheap. Seyd is British and I think that makes all the difference. He's not so much into the actor getting into the feelings of the character as much as he is attempting to get the actor into thinking about what the character is doing and saying. He likes his students to engage their minds. I think that is what is sorely missing in America. We are all about "feelings" and "going with our instincts" and not too much about thinking (for the most part) as if thinking were in opposition to those other things. Seyd claims and I tend to agree that understanding the character intellectually leads to clarity about feelings and a deeper and stronger connection to the character one is playing. I am currently working on a scene with my acting partner Mick, a drummer and teacher in the Bay area. He's a cool guy, a sweet guy but I keep wondering if he really understands this guy on a gut level, intellectually and emotionally. The scene is from Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, currently on Broadway with Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johanson. I am playing Eddie Carbone's (Mick's) wife, Beatrice or "B" as he calls her. The scene is when Beatrice first confronts Eddie albeit in a roundabout way about his feelings for his 18 year old niece Catherine. I'm having trouble with the scene because Mick does not appear to me as in any way aware of Bea's presence. I get the feeling I don't even have to be up on that stage. Mick would do just find without me or anyone else. And the trouble for me with acting has always been the same. What do I do when the chemistry is off or a fellow actor is so blocked from certain feelings that nothing I do will make any difference? Or in this case, when I just can not seem to impact him? My friend and director, Andrew T. told me to push the actor by knowing clearly what I want from him and doing my damned best to try to get it from him. Maybe. But then am I not "acting" when I should be listening and responding? I just don't know. It's a mystery unfolding.
What does this have to do with our currently dismal state of the Union?
I think sometimes when I watch Barack that he is "acting" presidential, balanced, intelligent but I wonder what Barack the human being really wants to say and do and I wonder if he will have the courage it will take to push back and push hard. To expose himself up there on the world stage. To cut to the chase and get the job done. And I wonder the same thing about me as well.
A work-in-progress. Let's not bring the curtain down too soon.