HOW DOES ONE APPROACH A NEW TECHNIQUE?
And why on earth “are we so f@&^ing useless ?”
Whenever we delve into the world of a new technique, be it M.Chekhov, S. Meisner, it doesn’t matter; you will fail…My advice?…do so gloriously! You ARE supposed to fail! The technique is new…at least to you, it is!
Every step, every minute (mī-ˈnüt) addition in a step, every word, every concept, and every exercise will be new!
When a new thing comes along, you might think, “this sounds freaking easy,” but practically without realizing it, you are driving a hundred miles per hour up to a brick wall. Oh, and by the way…no brakes. Yeap, it’s going to be loud; it is going to hurt.
Just try this little experiment.
Grab a friend (don’t be daft, just ask them politely), stand opposite one another, and interchangeably count to three!
Let’s say you start:
Now do it again, but this time in a loop! Does not matter who starts; just count in a loop: 1–2–3–1–2–3–1–2–3…
Still easy? Good, now do me a favor! Do it fast enough so that you don’t think (no pauses in between Little cheaters) but not that fast that you don’t listen to what the other person says! Go again!
Oh, come on…Faster!
Not that easy this time, right? I bet there were some glitches?
Why? It is easy. No? I mean, you are counting to three, in a loop, how hard can it be?
Now, go on, do this for 5 minutes straight, and then come back!
So your 5 minutes are up, and now you guys are the masters of courting in a loop. Lets get you one of those participation awards! But wait…
Before we do that, let’s change things a bit… let’s mess it up; let us remove the number “1.”
Yeap! It is gone! And instead of “one,” just “snap your fingers”! The sequence now is…”finger snap”…”2"…”3"….”finger snap”…”2"…”3"….and so on and so forth! Again no pauses in between!
So?… not a champion anymore? Why?
It’s because the information is new! The exercise structure is the same….but there was a slight change…an addition, an alteration. Now you have to get used to this part! It has to be habituated, “automated” if you like, and ONLY then you are ready to move on to the next step.
You need to be patient, and you need to stop pushing and start repeating! No wonder every single technique and every single teacher worth their salt use the word “repetition” all the time! For gods shake in the world of Meisner, the main exercise is called “repetition,” the word for rehearsal in French is repetition ( yes, it is spelled like the English “repetition” but you have to smoke Gauloises and use a high brow French accent )
The only problem is you are using too much brain. You are trying to “will it” instead of letting it take you. You are trying to DO IT instead of allowing it to DO YOU. And on the way, you are being a smart ass about it!
You see, there are four stages of training for EVERY LITTLE STEP! Yes, for every step! (One would think capital letters would do the trick)
This step is you being an idiot. Did I hurt your feelings? Don’t worry I was in the same place decades ago, But you need to stop being a smart ass, stop pretending that this is a Piece of Cake, and start listening!
This step is you not knowing that you don’t know! This is you thinking that talent will get you everywhere, and this is me telling you NO it will not! You have to work for it! And first, you have to recognize that you will fail! And it is fine!… If you let your ego guide you, you will inevitably get bruised, you will quit, “this is not for me,” “this is a bunch of bullshit,” really? You gave up before you even started? Bravo!
This is you knowing that you don’t know! This is good! Now you are embracing it! You are working on it…deliberately, this is what we call deliberate practice, you fail…you get up…you fail again…you get up! It is you being brave.
And yes, it can be fun!
Where else are you going to be given the OK to fail a thousand times and, while doing so, be cheered for it?
LIKE BECKETT SAID: “TRY AGAIN. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL BETTER…OH, COME ON!!! LET ME SHOW YOU HOW ITS DONE, JUST HOLD MY BEER” (he didn’t say the beer part, but how fun would that be…drinking with Beckett ?)
Now, this is fun!
This is the part that you start grasping what is going on! You are getting better at this on a conscious level! You know what you did correctly and what you did wrong! You are failing less and less, and your competence starts giving you CONFIDENCE.
Yeap, true confidence comes from “workload,” that other kind, the kind you had at the beginning (first stage) that was just plain narcissism and ego! Yeah, f@&*K you too! But keep reading…
This is the place I want you to be…now you are doing it…but you know what? You are not thinking about it! Now it is a part of you. It has been integrated into you…now it’s not technique anymore…now its craft…this is what we call mastery! It flows from inside you, and you flow inside it!
And guess what, now it’s time for the next alteration in the exercise.
Wait, you thought that was it? That was “1…2…3”…we are just moving to the next step of the exercise, and we go from the beginning again!
IT TAKES TIME!
BE PATIENT! YOU WILL GET THERE…no matter what, just follow these steps.
The only thing you have to do…is the work.
You don’t want to struggle later on, do you? When it is too late… you don’t want to be stifled by doubts. Trust me, the Erinyes (furies) will come after you sooner or later; you will only avoid them if you work on it!
I know, I know, YOU are talented…I can’t sway you from that idea..yes, you are. But do you know how many talented people are out there? The only thing separating you from them…yes, you guessed it, work! So Work more…
Hey, I know we exchanged a few harsh words, don’t get me wrong, I love you, actor, Yeap I do, I am forever on your side…
LOVE AND PEACE
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