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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Illinois: a quiet day

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Illinois: a quiet day

There was a baby naming ceremony at a relative's house. Most of the people there would be people I wouldn't know, and it would be noisy and dull. I asked my grandmother for clarification as to what exactly I'd be doing there, whether there would ever be a quiet point where we could talk to individual people outside of a big crowd. I went back to the living room. A few minutes later, I came back. "I've been thinking about this, and I really don't see what I'd get out of going." She said to go talk to my grandfather. I said to my grandfather that I got really uncomfortable around crowds, and I'd prefer not to go. He told me he was very disappointed, and I went back to the living room.

I couldn't focus on anything with that hanging over my head. So a few minutes later, I went to my grandparents' room to confront my grandfather. I said to him, "I don't understand why you don't see where I'm coming from here. I won't exactly be having any meaningful conversations with people when my brain's shutting down because of the crowd. If it were a one-on-one conversation with someone, that's one thing. But being in a big crowd where I won't even notice that they're there because all I'll see is the crowd, that's something else.". "C'mere." He hugged me and said I could stay home. A few minutes later, he asked me if I'd go to the bar mitzvah party. I hadn't planned on going, but I said yes.

So they left the house. An hour or so later, my cousins all left as well. So I had the house all to myself.

First I worked on the game. It's turning out more interesting than I planned.

Then I read my book a little. Excellent storytelling.

Then I played piano, working on Variations on V.O.V. in particular.

Then I summarized a little bit more of my blog.

Then I took out the play, knowing that I'd never get such a perfect opportunity.

I stood by mirrors and practiced the voices and kinds of movement for the characters, being as loud as I was supposed to be on stage. And then I moved back into the living room, and started playing scenes. I paused for the other characters' absent lines, so that I'd have to think about how I was moving around and reacting as they spoke. And I kept in motion the whole time, trying to find the emotional gist of every line (and often being surprised by what I found).

I worked on the play for many hours. I kept moving through the house, from the living room to the den to the basement to the mirror bathroom and back to the living room. I memorized all of my lines for Act 1, I got more comfortable with the voice of Ambrose, I learned things about what the characters are going through. And then I stopped trying, really, and just played around with my voice to see what weird things I could do with it.

(All at the top of my lungs, of course.)

As I was in the middle of this, a couple walked through the backyard to see what the property was like. I stopped being quite so loud for a few minutes. From my comfortable seat in one of the living room's swivel chairs, I waved hello in a friendly manner. They passed by in the direction of the beach path, and I went back to my silliness.



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