ENTERING A NEW SPORT: THEATER
Many of us, including yours truly, were required to try the same drill the first two students experienced that very first day. Our teacher moved around the room randomly choosing who would have their turn on stage. For no discernible reason, I was last to get up to perform. There I was, center stage. I took a comfortable breath and began to talk to them as if they were a crowd sitting in the stands, watching me pitch.
“This feels like I’m on a pitching mound, looking in at my catcher, just the way my dad showed me how to do it.” The students began to laugh. I shook off their laughter without anger. “No. He really did teach me. He taught me a lot of things.”
“I can remember a long time ago. It was one of those Saturday summer days. My dad and I were at Ebbets Field, together, taking in a Dodger game, together. They played their games in Brooklyn in those days. I’m smiling now because that day with my father is one I will remember for the rest of my life.” The students became quiet, they seemed to lean in a little closer. “Tell us the rest of what happened next”, the teacher called out to me.
I began again: “The Dodgers were up at bat. The game was on the line. My dad told me to stay awake. We were sitting pretty close to where many of the foul balls were often hit. Up to the plate came my favorite Dodger of all time: Pee Wee Reese. “Stay awake”, my dad said again.
Then, Pee Wee hits one up in the air and it came quickly our way. We all instantly stood up. My dad raised up to his full height of five foot five inches, stuck his left arm up in the air, and lo and behold, made a bare-handed catch of that foul ball off the bat of my favorite dodger, Pee Wee Reese. God, I loved that guy, but I loved my father more.” The students applauded.
During the course of the semester, our wonderful teacher often repeated the same drill as we all became aware she had, herself, learned as a working actress and student of the great Stanislavski.
INGREDIENTS: STUDY and DISCOVERY
The word study may not occur to those in the earliest stages of discovery itself. “Study” is imperative as a driving force for anyone and everyone who is held captive by even a modicum of flowing creative juices so presented by nature’s indelible will. An absolute necessity in the cultivation of lasting and prominent skills.
Study and discovery are essentially the same providers, bringing forth both conscience and subconscious enlightenment; without which these two ingredients, creativity becomes nothing more than a burdensome and unrewarding task. That was then, and this is now. I never go a single day without both of those marvelous ingredients entering, and reentering, my treasury.
When I returned home from Korea, neither study nor any human pertinence allowing for who I really was (at that moment in time) was anything I intended to share from my private thoughts. In other words, looking back, I was quite introspective. Two short years later, what I considered a fixation became a fact of life.
I take a personal moment to acknowledge a few persons before me. Those who taught me the “how” and “why” systems work, for all or any who fall to the long and often fickle deceptions of creativity.
Note: My acknowledgments are now complete. I chose to make them introspectively; often it’s what I do as I prepare to write my next piece, or am in the process of delivering a verbal discourse in a most intimate flow of words.
Often, during trying times—the likes of what we are now experiencing during this plague—I can easily conjure at my will the very image of my dad reaching up, catching that ball, then instantly handing it off to his adoring young son as the crowd cheered him on to new heights!
“Dear God, let the games continue!”