Hold it loosely

Things are as they are. Yet sometimes there is a reaching in us, a grasping, to be right. Sometimes we churn ourselves up when another tells us what is right with that we think is wrong. Inside, we object to their opinion. We are angry that they feel they have the right to tell us what is right. And we bear that anger with us as we carry on with my work. We carry our work and our anger in our tightened fists.

But of course they have a right. The have as much right as anyone else who wants to express themselves and appear as if they come from a place of knowledge. Why should their right upset us so? Why should their opinion trouble us?

It is because we are holding on so tightly to what we feel is ours.

But it is not ours.

Then we get angry at our anger. And we beat ourselves up for not being able to be benign.

But everything is as it is, without meaning. Everyone is trying to make their best way in the world. Everyone is trying to make their mark. So let them.

Why should their mark even slightly affect the way that we are going?

People try to quarrel with you. Leave the quarrel with them. Agree with them, or not. But do not take the quarrel with you when it is past. For they do not do the same.

We must learn to hold it loosely, or else we will perish.

Published in: on January 8, 2013 at 11:16 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Spin cycle

I am currently doing a workshop of a new musical, written for and performed by ex-convicts with the help of professional actors.

This is an extraordinary project, done by a well meaning charity, hoping to impart life skills and lessons of team work and discipline through art to men who have gone through the prisons system and who may find it difficult to re-integrate into the larger society.

It is also a large learning curve for actors who are used to that cushy atmosphere of ‘la-di-dah, let’s make art, what’s my motivation’, it jolts us into a harsh and unrelenting reality, harsher than anything some of us have ever had to face, and it teaches us about our perceptions, preconceived notions and gives us useful coping strategies and communication techniques which we would not normally derive from our gilded world.

It is also a great place for observation.

There are things we take for granted. How we learn is one of these things. In a musical theatre setting, you are taught a vocal line, you attempt to sing it, you make a mistake, you make a joke about your failings, you try again and you get better.

With the boys, it’s different.

They are taught a vocal line, they attempt to sing it, they make a mistake, the other boys laugh at them, highlighting, spotlighting and relentlessly tearing into their failure, they get angry, the anger escalates, the tension builds, the rehearsal disintegrates.

And that cycle repeats.

It is impossible to blame them. You cannot help but sit and think about the sort of environment from which they came which did not allow them to make even the slightest mistake. The surroundings that they’re used to, where ridicule is the order of the day. The society that they must negotiate, where the only way to save face or earn respect is not through effort but through rage.

And the artistic outsider’s impotence grows…

Can a song and a scene really make a difference?

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: