Thursday, February 24, 2005
Rehearsal today was an eye-opening experience, and one I was very grateful for.
My selection of pieces has dramatically improved since the first casting. To begin with, I had one monologue about diamond mines in Sierra Leone, which was a bit boring and not terribly imaginative, one poem split with three other people -- a tedious exercise at best -- and another monologue about a girl from Lebanon, which was fairly good. Now they have moved me into the introduction of the play, which has me and two other actors moving through the audience holding candles (very neat), taken me out of the diamond monologue (yay), and put me into the rather graphic but also climactic monologue involving AIDS and the rape of an eight-year-old girl. Apparently, this kind of thing really happens. Forgottenmachine sent me a pretty good link about it.
So now I have four pieces, two of which are monologues, and one of which is more or less the defining moment in the play.
I'm quite pleased with this, and also with the way the rehearsals have been going. I expected them to be quite amateurish, with the directors calling the shots, but it turned out that we all have a say in how things are run, how pieces are divided up, and how we say our lines. It is probably the first truly cooperative project I have ever been a part of.
And I want so badly to succeed at it because at its most profound this play will be so much more than diversionary: it has the potential to be a life-changing experience for the audience. I realise how truly ludicrous that sounds, but isn't it time we all had a little bit of hope about the power of non-religious transformations? Who says that art can't help people? I say it should, and with a bit of effort, it can.
In other news, capoeira was brutal tonight. We were doing a kick called the 'martelo' (which in non-Portugese-speaking martial arts is pretty much just a roundhouse kick), for which you have to rotate your body 180 degrees on your toes on a nasty hard wooden floor. Our teacher today was a girl we'll call S.H.M. (for Simple Harmonic Motion), because every time she taught us a new move she would make us practice it about 50-100 times in a row, until even the biggest and strongest guys were collapsing in exhaustion. After about 150 martelos, the bottom of my feet were bruised, blistered, and raw from all the turning. Ow. It hurts to walk, but also simply to put my feet on the ground.
As if that wasn't enough, Ava wasn't there today so I had to get a new girl for partner exercises. I picked her because she was experienced, but she ended up dropping me on my head -- literally -- when she was supposed to ease me, feet first, onto the floor during an assisted backflip exercise. Hitting my head directly on a wood floor felt like an unpleasant combination of excrutiating pain and being suddenly stoned out of my mind. She apologized profusely but the trust was gone, not that I particularly trusted her in the first place. I missed Ava, big-time. She never dropped me on my head!
I also managed to crack my back rather painfully and pull virtually all the muscles in my legs by spending a full hour doing nothing but high kicks. Score!
After the class I went to a student hangout and cafe with Soph and Dag and Mars, another former Switzerland exchangee. It was damn fun and in many ways just like old times.
I had a dream last night that I showed up at tryouts for that girls' team and it turned out that they only needed to fill one spot and the coach told me not to even bother showing her any of my skills. I hadn't worked so hard to not even be able to have a shot at it, so I grabbed a flyer, a girl who didn't look very small or tossable, and somehow managed to brilliantly launch her into the air and up into a perfect extension. I was so proud of myself and walked around the room with this girl above my head, but the coach refused to watch and told me there was no need for me to continue.
I was really upset, and thought about ranting to her, but finally decided against it because my favourite prof from Switzerland had shown up to give me a ride home. I told him I was studying Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife in my Children's Lit class, and he started to tell me about all the connections between Pullman's books and Milton's Paradise Lost (his specialty). I was really enthusiastic and thinking to myself that I really ought to write it all down because it was essay gold, but then I woke up. I didn't even remember the part about the great essay material until later. I was just struck with a terrible feeling of failure about the tryouts, and I was really glad that that part had been a dream. It did make me miss my old prof though. He was really a great fellow in the end, full of humour, candour, and utter brilliance. And I do really wish I had him to talk to about my latest essay.
Well, it is ludicrously late, and while I fully plan to skip a useless group presentation and lecture on Lloyd George and political memoir, delivered in my prof's phlegmy illness-racked voice tomorrow morning, I should nonetheless go to bed.
If I die in my sleep, please blame it on the concussion.