Thursday, June 30, 2011



"I stand, therefore I am. From there I move forward into all things" This is a quote that Ronlin has said to us repeatedly. I never used to think about the beauty of just standing or walking. He describes walking as a play unto itself. There are two opposing forces: horizontal and vertical...and the struggle between the two of them is the play. The simplicity of it is beautiful. 

Today was full of mind candy. We had class in the morning and discussion at night This was lead by Ronlin and Joan. We discussed art and theatre and the burden we carry as artists. I wrote a ton of notes and quotes and poet's names and such that made sense in the moment. Out of context they are kinda all over the place, but I will try to make some sense of them. My mind is buzzing with all the rich and deep knowledge that was presented to me tonight. I want to go and DO. I know this is the place for me. The universe has aligned itself, and I am here and the universe is happy. And I am happy. 

DISCLAIMER: this blog is extremely long and contains a lot a looot A LOT of schtuff.

This discussion was started with a quote from Artaud. Paraphrased it is that theatre exists to remind people that we are not free and that the sky CAN fall on our heads. He went on to explain that theatre is a calling. In each one of us there is something that says "be there".

ANOTHER AWESOME PARAPHRASED QUOTE: Man becomes all things not by understanding them. When he doesn't understand them, he makes them out of himself and transforms them. (this quote gives me chills).

Our work is about how far I can extend myself, how far my image is projected into space. Not about what I am doing in this moment, but how it is affecting the world around me. 

ANOTHER AWESOME PARAPHRASED QUOTE: Is that when our work is eccentric, it is dynamic. When it becomes concentric (revolving around ourselves) it leads to death.

Self-Consciousness leads to immobility.  

Fear hides behind comfort and is the fuel for courage.

I am a moment swimming in the infinite.

Let go of the things you feel you need to defend.

The actor must journey From-To. The ‘How’ is the character.

When you show an audience this much: |---------------|, they see this much: |--|…BUT when you show them this much: |--|, they see this much: |---------------|. (This was used to teach us about clarity of motions. Simple clear moments tell a much more compelling story than a serious of muddled ones. The audience can fill in the blanks, which makes a profound piece)

Prepare to invite and manifest the mystery.

DID YOU KNOW: That we are hardwired for empathy rather than aggression? The brain waves used to feel empathy for another are the same as when we are going through an event ourselves. INTERESTING!

We had a brief discussion about feelings. A lot of times during acting classes we are asked “How do you feel?” or “How did you feel in that moment”. A lot of times I know what I feel, but I can’t articulate it. Or the words I use to describe a feeling don’t do it justice. Often times I use my body in gestures to describe how I feel. Joan spoke on this. She said that she likes to ask: What do you notice. This is because feelings can be misleading. They lean toward comfort. Focusing on what you notice is more objective. I thought this was a very interesting way to look at it.

One great thing Ronlin keeps stressing is that great art doesn’t always introduce a new idea, but rather it points out what we already know.

We were then read some poems. Here is a list! I found most of them online.
Poet: Billy Collins
1. Introduction to Poetry 

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means. 

2. The Night House

Every day the body works in the fields of the world
Mending a stone wall
Or swinging a sickle through the tall grass-
The grass of civics, the grass of money-
And every night the body curls around itself
And listens for the soft bells of sleep.

But the heart is restless and rises
From the body in the middle of the night,
Leaves the trapezoidal bedroom
With its thick, pictureless walls
To sit by herself at the kitchen table
And heat some milk in a pan.

And the mind gets up too, puts on a robe
And goes downstairs, lights a cigarette,
And opens a book on engineering.
Even the conscience awakens
And roams from room to room in the dark,
Darting away from every mirror like a strange fish.

And the soul is up on the roof
In her nightdress, straddling the ridge,
Singing a song about the wildness of the sea
Until the first rip of pink appears in the sky.
Then, they all will return to the sleeping body
The way a flock of birds settles back into a tree,

Resuming their daily colloquy,
Talking to each other or themselves
Even through the heat of the long afternoons.
Which is why the body-the house of voices-
Sometimes puts down its metal tongs, its needle, or its pen
To stare into the distance,

To listen to all its names being called
Before bending again to its labor.

3. Curtains (I couldn’t find this one online)

Poet: John Moffitt
1.   To look at Anything

To look at any thing,
If you would know that thing,
You must look at it long:
To look at this green and say,
"I have seen spring in these
Woods," will not do - you must
Be the thing you see:
You must be the dark snakes of
Stems and ferny plumes of leaves,
You must enter in
To the small silences between
The leaves,
You must take your time
And touch the very peace
They issue from.

Poet: Hafiz
1.   A Barroom View of Love

I would not want all my words
To parade around this world
In pretty costumes,
So I will tell you something
Of the Barroom view of Love.
Love is grabbing hold of the Great Lion’s mane
And wrestling and rolling deep into Existence
While the Beloved gets rough
And begins to maul you alive.
True Love, my dear,
Is putting an ironclad grip upon
The soft, swollen balls
Of a Divine Rogue Elephant
Not having the good fortune to Die!
2.   Tripping Over Joy

"What is the difference
between your experience of existence
and that of a saint?
The saint knows
that the spiritual path
is a sublime chess game with God
and that the Beloved
has just made such a fantastic move
that the saint is now continually
tripping over joy
and bursting out in laughter
and saying, "I surrender!"
Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
you have a thousand serious moves."

3.   Maniac Screaming

We should make all spiritual talk
simple today:

God is trying to sell you something
but you don’t want to buy.

That is what your suffering is:

your fantastic haggling
your manic screaming

over the price.

4.   Someone Should Start Laughing (one of my favorites)

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
How are you?
I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
What is God?
If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,
If you think that the Sun and the Ocean
Can pass through that tiny opening
Called the mouth,
O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly Laughing -

         Keep in mind this was over 60 years ago. It is amazing how much this is still applicable today, perhaps it hits more deeply now.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.
I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail

Here is a link if you want to listen to it:

HEAVY STUFF! I know it is a lot, and I am sure there are things I forgot to include, but I think this is all for now. It is a lot to chew on.


this is mittens the cat that lives by my house

she likes me. i think it is because we have similar looking footwear.

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