25 April 2009
On Friday, I did something pretty neat. Once again I visited the Steinberg Lab at NYU to help the undergraduate playwrights there hear their work aloud. Instead of reading one or two excerpts, however, I participated in at least five. They're gearing up for a presentation of a ten-minute segment of every student's work, and needed a day of hearing a bit of it all. The workshops at NYU are often an exercise in improvisation and flexible characterization (oh-ho, it seems I'm a mine worker - all right, I'll be gruff and... - who wears pumps and is accused of singing soprano... - okay, I'll spin it Harvey Fierstein...) but this took that adaptability to a different level for me. It's wicked fun, even when you face plant on something. Reminds me of role-playing games.
Speaking of which, Camp Nerdly is coming around again, and Expatriate Younce is actually venturing back from across the Atlantic for it. It doesn't commence until the end of May, so I've plenty of time to fulfill my promise to myself to run some event this year.
And on Saturday I attended a suggested-donation dance concert at DNA. Friends Matthew and Alessandra were performing a duet of Matthew's, and I was pleased to find that it was accessible for me. Modern dance often isn't. (Or, perhaps more accurately, I'm often not accessible by means of modern dance.) There were a number of dances in the mixed program that I thought were quite good, and at least a couple that didn't shy away from having a sense of humor about themselves, which I always appreciate. One dancer in particular seemed perfect for my much-imagined "cartoon show." If anyone could convince you of running off a cliff and hanging suspended for a few seconds, I imagine it would be this fellow. Matthew's dance, on the other hand, was quite serious in its delivery and content. The hour-long program, called Visa Voices (it was choreographed by invitees of DNA's pool of students from other nations), was a very mixed bag indeed.
Occasionally I get frustrated with my limitations regarding my capacity for change. This may seem odd, coming not only from an actor, but from one who rather specializes in physical characterization and playing multiple roles in a single performance. It's my urge to transform that motivated these directions in my career, though, and I suppose that urge goes deeper than the boards. I wrote a few days ago about the merits of being able to switch rapidly between activities (see 4/23/09), and now it seems to me that this virtue -- as I see it -- is closely related to my priority for change. As frightening as change can be when unbidden, sometimes I crave it so much that it's a little consuming. Spring is a good time for this, actually. It's what gets me out the door and jogging again, as it finally did this warm morning.
There are limits to what we can change about ourselves, of course, and I suppose recognizing those limitations is a valuable ability in some regards. Still, I enjoy imagining the possibilities more. When my life seems to be especially set, or even staid, I try to remind myself that life has been the most unpredictable story I've ever known. Even at its still moments. In fact, sometimes especially so. That doesn't mean I'll stop aiming to upset the routine. It does mean that the "routine" is changing even when it seems not to be, adding new steps, twisting the story and sometimes even altering my character.