Life is a Stage: Play It Up & Play it Out
About a year and a half ago, in an attempt to get out of my house more often and start performing again, I started taking an acting class at a studio here in San Diego.
This particular acting class trained actors in the Meisner technique, which focuses on working from impulse to impulse, from true feeling to true feeling.
I was performing a scene with my classmate, attempting to work truthfully in imaginary circumstances, and let my natural impulses be my guide.
At the end of the scene, it was time for feedback.
My acting teacher turned to me and said:
“There’s were a lot of authentic, visceral emotions going on with you in that scene, but you were playing them to the floor.”
I realized he was right immediately.
Any time throughout the scene when I had been particularly affected, really, truly feeling something, I had directed my gaze and my energy towards the floor and not towards the audience.
“You can play it up, or you can play it out,” my teacher continued, “but you have to let us see you.”
Let them see me.
The process of creating Art so often forces the artist to hold a mirror up to herself, look her vulnerabilities in the eyes, and either stand down or go on.
The truth is, when confronted with real, visceral emotions in my day-to-day life, making them be “seen” is the last thing I want to do.
In any truthful, human moment, I don’t play out my feelings to the world.
In life, as on stage, I have a habit of playing them to the physical or metaphorical floor.
I am not alone in this ingrained shame of human feeling.
Many, many successful, full grown adults struggle to give their own feelings validity, judging any emotion that falls above or below the median until it cannot exist in any space other than the black hole of our inner discontent.
The purpose of Art, both creating it and receiving it, aims to unearth those key elements of humanity and bring them to the spotlight at center stage, not to be judged, but to exist as they are.
If we want true, genuine, connection with the people in our lives, we have to be brave enough to let them see us.
When you laugh. cry, break, mend, learn, scream, hold on or let go, stand upon the Stage of Life, play it up and play it out.
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