I talked to my scene partner today. Andrew.
Andrew takes care of his grand-mother and studies theater at the New York Studio 3 here in Asheville. He performed with his other scene partner, Bruce, last night. A scene from Death of a Salesman. Kelly, the teacher, told everyone she wants us to choose scenes that challenge us, that stretch us. Scenes that are dramatic.
I spent more than an hour last night searching for scenes and scripts online. I ordered two books of scenes and also a copy of All My Sons.
As I looked, I realized there are a few certain scenes I really want to do. These are scenes that have been with me for the past 25 years or so. One is a scene from Fool for Love which I saw two actors in my drama class in college perform exquisitely. Another is a scene from Betrayal which I did back in London in 1989. Another is the Eugene O'Neil play Long Day's Journey Into Night was always in our house growing up, and though I never read it all the way through, I feel it is, like these others, a stepping stone in this path backward to get something I left behind.
I was talking with Brett today about this sudden decision to take an acting class. I told him--and he is only one of two people I have told about this, and I'm not promoting these blog posts--I am keeping this in a semi-quiet-- I told Brett that theater classes were always about community. Scene work was done with a partner. Plays were done with multiple communities working together. When I left theater, I went solo.
Poetry is not about community. Say anything about it that you like: you write that shit by yourself, and the majority of work is only ever seen by you.
Also, scene work is about talking to someone else. Dialogue is life. I have forgotten how to do this.
Things that happened in 1989, the year I left the theater, not in this order:
- the Berlin Wall came down
- I studied in London
- my grandmother died
- my parents split up
- during intermission of Betrayal another student came back stage and grabbed me in my dressing room. I got away, but when I reported the incident the school brushed it off as a "cultural difference (he was Egyptian)" and the attacker sent me roses with a card with a joke on it and life continued as normal.
- I met a man who would figure deeply into my life but never fall in love with me
- started to "hear" poems in my head while I slept so would sneak out onto the little verandah over Queens Gate Terrace and write them out until I could sleep. These poems were powerfully symbolic and entirely dissociative, but beautiful. It was the first time I didn't rhyme.
- started to paint, too.
- left theater and never did it again until now.