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New York City meets Munich

September 3rd, 2001 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Dramatis Personae

Who better to offer guidance on my upcoming presentation at >T.E.S. than an actor and director? Michael is up to his neck in rehersals for his current production, “Six characters in search of an author,” >Jennifer managed to gently twist his arm and get him to come out for a mental health break. The plan was appropriate to the holiday, grilling steaks upon the roof of Jennifer’s apartment in the village under the almost full moon.

I met Michael at the theatre where he concluding “motivating” his cast.

“They all hate me now,” he said as we were leaving. “They always hate me until after opening night. Then they love me. Or most of them do, if I’m lucky.”

Directing is a tough gig. Motivating actors and pushing them to deliver the best they can is hard work. Acting is intrinsically emotional and connecting to those emotions so they can be expressed on the stage is often bloody, messy work.

We talked about the challenging and uncomfortable process of pushing people past their limits. The conversation was about directing, but I understood well what he was facing. It wasn’t much different from >top, really. Though, the >bottom gives explicit consent in a scene. The actor/director relationship has more of an implied consent…

We skipped the subway and walked from the theatre to Jen’s, a ten block jaunt. Michael needed to be outside after being trapped in the theatre for the bulk of the day. I told him about my presentation coming up, and that I was looking for suggestions on how to make the presentation compelling and alive. I don’t want to lecture for an hour, I want to perform.

Michael was still “on” from the rehersal, and as we walked he started making suggestions. The sidewalk became a stage as he demonstrated how to map a story into physical space, so that people can see what you are saying. Before we arrived at Jen’s, we had already arrived at the narrative framework to use to hang all the topics of the presentation. The evening hadn’t even really started yet, and already it was helpful. By the time we walked through the door of the apartment, I felt like I had lots of material to work with.

The rest of the night was spent socializing. Jennifer’s friend Jeanie, who runs a production company, brought over an old friend of hers who runs an animation studio in the city. There was no shortage of things to discuss.

We ended the night by watching a tape of my suspension bondage demonstration with Midori on Gotham TV. After that, of course, there were lots of interested and curious questions. I forget frequently, that this SM View definition in a new window stuff I do is pretty exotic to a lot of people. I invited the lot of them to the talk at T.E.S., and the group had some good suggestions too. Nothing like being around the completely uninitiated to help me get in the mindset of a “novice.”

Monday evening was a meeting with another actor, Scott, who has his own theatre company, the Shakespeare Project. Scott is another friend of Jen’s (if you haven’t guessed it, Jen is a theatre nut), and we hit it off from the start. I’m helping Scott redo his web page. Yes, it’s yet another project, but it’s for a great cause, and for a great guy.

All in all, a dramatic labor day weekend.

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