February 2005 |  This Issue

Claudine Jones
Scene4 Theatre and Politics

It was not exactly a precipitous decision; I had toyed with the idea off and on since I attended one of a local teacher's workshops four years ago and found it so helpful that I had immediately begun bugging every actor I knew with what I had learned.  I had the passion to leap into discussions, demonstrations of the technique, personal testimonials of times it saved me & my sorry off-book ass.

A chance workshop with the same teachers got my juices flowing again & caused me to commit once a week to:

·        leaving work smack at 5,

·        eating my dinner in the parking lot

·        jumping on the train

·        making it into the City by 6:15

·        trudging up the hill to start class at 6:30

·        leaving class by ~11

·        catching the train back home

·        falling into bed ~midnight

I've been riding a roller coaster for the last three months, having decided against all reasonable financial considerations to take the weekly group acting class.  It's identical in theme to the original workshop, but more focused on 'going deep'.  So now it's three months later.  What have I done?  I'm too old for this! I loved tearing loose in my first full-bore improv session, but my voice was toast.  It is psychologically wearing, physically daunting (if I got sick, I just couldn't face going through that whole routine after work) and has almost convinced me that I don't belong in long term overhaul of my acting self. 

Sure, I would have an expanded palette of colors to show at auditions.  I'd have a core sense of my craft from within, instead of callously painting on a veneer only to impress.  The audition itself would become a chance for me to prove that for every choice the other actors made, I could offer ten. My gaze sent triumphantly out over the director's head, my eyes darting back to the page to snatch another line of dialogue: certainly the vision of any production team.

Except for my historically faulty decision-making process, this would be great.  No, in auditions, I go on instinct which is strong but, like smelly French cheese, sometimes hard to share with others.  They're looking for something I don't think I have the constitution to second guess.  But I digress.

The issue is whether or not to poke around in my psyche to fish out what may be hiding there, so that, in a powerful, yet grounded fashion, I can arrive at an authentic me.  To play to you.  See, that's the problem right there:  in my experience there are very few who are able to discriminate amongst actors.  They see what they want—tall, short, big, little, young, old—and after a brief trot around the circle they clasp it to their bosoms and the heavy tears of relief fall.

After all, once you've got your cast, the rest is easy.

©2005 Claudine Jones

Like an orthopedic soprano, Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades. With her co-conspirator Jaz Bonhooley, she also has developed unique sound designs for local venues. As a filmmaker, she is doing the final cut of YOUR EAR IS IN YOUR NOSE, destined for release next year or whenever her long time
technical task wizard Animator Sam Worf gets his head out of his latest render.

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