Discipling the Body

Leave a comment

What is your relationship?

51aYimGWM L SY344 BO1 204 203 200

As previously mentioned here, I used to be fairly involved in live theatre and it’s still an interest of mine. I would much prefer to see a live play or musical, than a movie. I’m currently reading one of the classic acting texts “Audition” by Michael Shurtleff. Michael was a broadway casting agent for years and this books aimed to help actors avoid the most common pitfalls he witnessed over his years in that role.

I’m re-reading it partly our of interest, but also to see what lessons I might derive from it for work or life. After all, if “all the world’s a stage”, the maybe the acting world has some actual lesson we can learn. I’m barely into his first of twelve “guideposts” and I’ve already found something interesting. In guidepost one Michael is saying how important it is for an actor to know their relationship to the other characters in the scene.

Frequently I will ask an actress after she has read a scene: “What is the relationship?” and she will answer “He’s my husband.” “So?” I ask.
She looks consternated. “He’s my husband” is as far as she’s taken it. It’s not far enough. The fact that you are married to a man tells nothing about how you feel toward him at this moment in the scene. (p.34).

Are you married or else in a significant relationship? Or, do you have a parent or sibling? How do you define your relationship to them? “Who is that?” “She’s my wife.”. That tells me nothing than perhaps your legal status. I don’t expect anyone to provide a deeper answer publicly, but could you provide anymore than a superficial response to your spouse, privately? “Who am I?”, they might ask. “You’re my wife, of course”, you answer.

What defines your relationship? What do you think and feel when you look or think of them?

The fact that two people are married, is a fact, not an emotion, not content. Shurtleff goes on to write: That is what you need to explore. That is why the fact of relationship is of no value to the other actor unless it leads him to explore the feelings in the relationship now. Not how it was when you got married, now how it was last week when he got a raise (although this information is of value in creating an emotional past to the relationship), but how you feel now. The now is the imperative question you must answer.

How man of us try and ride the wave of high emotion, only to stop paying attention and realize that the feelings we felt early on have faded or dulled? Some of this is natural, if it s a maturing love. Relationship will change as the high emotion of love changes to the choice of love; real love. If someone were to ask you (and it wasn’t weird for them to ask you for some reason; say a therapist) how you felt about your spouse, would you give a canned response, would you give a response you believe to be true, but is in fact outdated/ Do you know how you feel about each other? I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with a marriage if you can’t answer the question, but it might be time to really talk and do the work so you can answer it.

Find the love in the scene. One way or the other it’s there. Love affirmed or love deprived. It’s there.

Leave a comment

Love is the light scaring darkness away.


The title of today’s post is taken from the song “The Power of Love” – You can read the lyrics here: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gabrielleaplin/thepoweroflove.html

I first hear the song when it was sung by the brother duo Richard and Adam on their album The Impossible Dream. I became aware of that album after hearing them on a youtube video of their audition on Britain Got Talent. It’s a powerful rendition of the son “The Impossible Dream” from the musical Man of La Mancha about Don Quixote.  Watch their audition here.

I’ve always loved this song. It’s a powerful call to action, for anyone troubled the injustices of the world. Give it a listen.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true 
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

1 Comment

Line! :: What theatre can teach us about dealing with time of crisis

I remember the first time I heard an actor yell that out. It was back when I was about 16 or 17 years old. I was involved in a local community theatre company. My roles varied, but were usually on the technical end of things. Assistant Stage Manager, Stage Manager, Assistant Director, and one even Director. I think I acted in one play and it wasn’t terribly good. I’ve acted other places, but nothing for a very long time.

At any rate, back to the story at hand. In front of the stage, sitting at the same level as the audience was a bench, facing the stage, with such as high back that the audience couldn’t see who was sitting on it. This was the prompter. They sat there for the entire run of the play, script in hand, ready to prompt any actor who forgot their lines. Ideally of course they were never needed, but on occasion, such as the night in question, it was good to have the safety net of the prompter.

Usually when an actor needed the services of the prompter, they tried to whisper or simply look, usually with a look of fear, at the prompter, to get fed their next line. On this night however, the actor, for some reason, decided to yell his request. It was startling and a bit embarrassing, but he got his line, and on the production went.

As unusual as the manner of the request was, the need to make the request was not. It was expected. Whether it’s poor preparation, nerves, illness, problems at home, or whatever, once in a while, actors will forget their lines. Worse, sometimes they skip or rearrange lines, which then forces their fellow actors to try and adjust in a way that is neither obvious or harmful to the story.

Actors generally work in an ensemble, a group. They all know their parts and know that each part much be performed if the whole is to function properly. Prima Donna’s aside, most actors I know, at least understand this concept, especially at the community theatre level.

Are there times that you need to yell “Line!”? Times when you need to rely on your team (co-workers, friends, etc). Line is a desperate call for help from an actor. Without their lines, the show limps along. Are we afraid to yell Line! When we have difficulty in our lives? Do we go looking for the prompters in our lives? Do we know who to do to for help? When it comes to real life, we don’t always know what’s going to happen when the page on the script turns, so we need to be more resilient and responsive than an actor does, but we also shouldn’t be afraid to yell Line, when we need to.

Whisper it, yell it, write an email or whatever you have to do, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is real life, there’s no script, so don’t try and go through it alone.