My classes at Warner Loughlin Studios have been such a blessing. Challenging, yes. But a huge improvement in my life because I can create in a safe space and learn from people who are just as good, if not, better than me on a regular basis. 🙂 

The first scene my partner and I decided to tackle was one of the last scenes from The Children’s Hour. I played Karen and she played Martha. SPOILER ALERT: It’s the climatic scene where Martha confesses that she is guilty of the ‘crime’ they have been accused of…that she is in love with her best friend, Karen.  When I performed it in-class a couple weeks ago, I was a wreck. Totally nervous and in my head. Definitely worried about lines vs. trusting the work I had put into the scene for a solid week.  The following week I tweaked some of my ‘homework’ and just jumped. More importantly, I committed myself to listen. Sounds simple right? But it’s actually one of the hardest things for humans to do.  To genuinely commit to the words (intentions) coming out of the other person’s mouth without letting all the head noise and other distractions take hold. 

I was reminded me of importance of listening while attending Jay Matsueda’s performance at the Blue Whale this evening.  It has been a hectic week with shoots, callbacks, and work…I’ve been having a difficult time focusing on and mustering the energy to finish the analytical portion of my work for a scene I have to perform in class this Friday.  The Blue Whale had a beautiful poem by Rumi written on a wall panel: 

“…Listen, and feel the beauty of yourseparation, the unsayable absence.There’s a moon inside every human being.Learn to be companions with it. Givemore of your life to this listening. Asbrightness is to time, so you are to the one who talks to the deep ear inyour chest. I should sell my tongueand buy a thousand ears when thatone steps near and begins to speak.”

How perfect.

It was so inspirational to watch and listen to these talented musicians (some who just met this evening to perform!) listen to each other and discover. I guess that’s one of the reasons I love jazz so much. It’s fluid, organic…unknown. Sitting there I was enveloped by a sense that I was expanding…participating even though I was simply listening.  Excited to know that everyone else there was part of the creation.  When I perform, I can feel other people’s energy — their presence.  While it may sound kooky…it makes sense, no?  I can feel when people are resistant or receptive.   I try to give other performers my rapt attention. Hell, I try to give the checkout girl at my local cafe my rapt attention. When I ask “How are you?” I’m not being rhetorical or simply polite. I want to know. Now. If I can only just stop and give myself that same rapt attention. What then? 

My scene partner, Branca, sent me a video of this brain researcher who went into detail about her own stroke.  It was illuminating.  I loved that she described the brain as the “we” inside of us. Marvelous! The duality inside us all. The part that is present and the part that is focused on the past and future.  It’s definitely worth the viewing. Please find it below:

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