Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My ETI Reflections by Luisa de Paula

I am sitting here, staring. Not able to write a full, comprehensive thought on my experience on Ensemble Training Intensive. I don’t get it. There is so much to talk about. There were so many feelings about it, lessons, discoveries! It’s hard to grasp on to. Where is everything? Where is the me that went through it all? It’s even harder to write about it in a few paragraphs and not a whole essay, pages long.

Well, maybe that is the very reason. Maybe it has caused that big of an impact in me. I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore; we are done with the regular, rigid class schedule and headed to our final project: the production of Pericles, which I can barely wait for! But I guess I am still processing; processing all the new information, new concepts; more familiar ones too that I just hadn’t practiced enough; new depths of work; the exploration of the marriage of emotional/intellectual/physical work; my voice and self expression; new words (oh new words! I love them. Oh, yes, Shakespeare was a word whore!) I know this is a total cliché these days but… I want to say it anyways: his work is mind blowing!! And some days, I swear, I thought my brain had certainly blown up! Brain matter splattered in the best and worst way. Yes, all over the walls, and floor and my bed, bathroom; the streets of Belltown; the dance studio over plies, tendus, jetes; in the black box studio.

It turned me inside and out at times. It made me closer to my true self in a way that I don’t remember ever feeling. It gave me freedom. It gave me the room to be who I am at this moment and express it.

I questioned it though. I pondered over it. What I mostly questioned (maybe out of some subconscious mental efficiency) never seemed to be the reasons of neither the struggle nor the struggle itself but how to overcome it, or better, how to embrace it. Some part of me knew that I was in the right track somehow; that this was a positive way of dealing with myself. This was where I had to be. I tried as much as I could to embrace fear, to embrace the unknown and to trust. Trust what was ahead of me. Trust my teachers. Trust my classmates. Trust the art form. And it felt like a lot of trusting to me but I kept on task, as much as I could. I kept doing what I had to do. Oh, and there was a lot of doing! There wasn’t one day that I wasn’t reminded of all the “doing” I had to do! I learned about less talking, less thinking, less hanging on feelings and a lot more just plain “doing”. It didn’t seem that there was any other route; I wasn’t going to have it my way. It was either do it or jump off the ship.

Well, and I gotta say, on the quitting note, something I realized about myself, unless I give all that I can give, I can’t quit! And somehow I always and I mean, always feel like I didn’t give enough of myself. Hmmm… truly it’s like a catch 22: with acting you are never gonna get it! It might feel that you got closer and closer to it but there is no getting it. God, it’s hard!! And it‘s magical because of it!

We are driven to these challenges.

Photo above: Parker Matthews and Luisa de Paula in their ETI Shakespeare Recital
For more information on Freehold Theatre and all of our acting classes (including our upcoming Shakespeare Intensive class with Amy Thone), go to our website: http://www.freeholdtheatre.org.

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