I AM ONE WHO

August 11, 2006.

Today was really difficult and I fought just to get through Annie’s class. She told everyone, after we performed our pieces, that there was a clear distinction between beginners and those who were more advanced in their movement. She said, “while all attempts are honored, I’m more excited by the complicated pieces I’m seeing.” I know very well I’m not included in the advanced group and I feel that any attempt I make is useless, especially since Annie has made it clear that she will not answer questions or offer help to us when we ask. She expects us to work it out for ourselves.

Later in acting class, Raina had us do a 15-minute individual warm-up where we let ourselves bring everything into the room and be exactly how and where we were without judging it or making ourselves change. She’s talking a lot about judges- those voices in our heads that tell us who and what we should be. I let myself do a yoga workout and I cried the whole time. I started crying again in the circle when she asked us about our warm-ups and I told everyone how I don’t let my feelings show and how I perceived the other actors as my judges because I feel like I don’t deserve to be in the room with them.

We had another warm-up where we still did our own thing but included an awareness of and respect for everyone else in the room. Additionally, whenever we became aware of our judges we had to act them out as broad characters within the warm-up, indicating who they were and what they were saying. Afterwards we each had to stand up in front of everyone for one minute and make eye-contact with each person and let ourselves just be seen without doing anything.

Raina introduced the “I Am One Who” exercise. Each of us got up in front of the class for five minutes and expressed every impulse that came through us and embodied every judge that we heard in our head. Whatever we felt or thought we had to express through our face, body and voice. There was a lot of awkwardness, fear, people wanting to get off-stage, humor, truth and beauty. I was terrified to go but it turned out to be incredibly liberating. I was able to get out some of my junk about the dance class, I had fun playing the comedy of the situation and Raina told me it was wonderful. So it was nice to end a really shitty day on a good note. I noticed that, as a director and audience member, I loved watching the other actors go through the awkwardness. There was something so moving about watching each person be completely themselves; it reminded me of why I love people in the first place.

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