Seeking Stillness

I keep telling you I have a lot on, but I’ve got no kids. One of my friends with a 3 year old helped with some of her wisdom, acquired much harder than this. “This is your yoga – find the stillness.”

All of us are capable of more than we think we are. Jen has two kids and she’s commuting from Bristol to be in a hot room with us and cover for Olivia/Maria this week, book in hand.

Running around like this is having more of an effect on my mental health than on my physical health, weirdly, but only when I’ve got time to think. But I’ll always find time to think.

I’m probably getting accidentally fit. Summer Shakespeare jobs often do that – build fitness as a side effect of making the work. There’s a lot of running around in hot places. Shared warm-ups. Even the act of speaking the verse is more physical and muscular than you might imagine. Patsy Rodenberg, our old voice teacher, would often come back to this. “You’ve got to be fit to be an actor.” If I’d understood that at secondary school I’d probably not have been such a deliberate outsider, ducking out of teamsport when possible to go fuck around on my own, forgetting that it is in those games that the spirit of togetherness is forged. There’s that apocryphal quote that “*insert conflict* was won on the playing fields of Eton”. It might have been won a lot more effectively if it hadn’t been, of course. But whoever seeded that quoteshape had probably played on those fields, and thus have understood from the inside how playing together in safety either at a fee paying school or in the park or anywhere you can find a space without someone yelling – it brings people closer together in adversity.

It’s part of why we always start Twelfth Night rehearsals with a game of Foursquare. Brings us together. Gets us ready for the day. Also it’s fun. And we all hug at the end. Bloody snowflake actors. It’s lovely.

It’s been hard again today, making Twelfth Night in a hot room, but hard in a good way. We have had two consecutive days looking at long tough scenes. As Patsy says, even the comedies are physically hard. Tomorrow we’ll look at some more tricky stuff and it’ll be lovely but hard again.

My brain gets in the way on a normal day and when I’m tired I overthink stuff even more. The thing to remember in that circumstance is that everybody else is tired and hot and thinking about their own shit too. Someone asked me “Do you find you work alone a lot,” and my brain immediately went to “oh God I’m not listening well enough I’m being too vocal and shutting down ensemble work I’m a bad human FML.”

No. I’m just worrying so much that the double job is affecting my work in the rehearsal room that I’m looking for validation of my negative expectation. Or am I? *slap* Stop thinking Batman!

The stillness my friend is talking about will come when I see those wandering concerns for what they are, float them away, and just knuckle down and make nice work well without the internal noise. If I can truly learn that watery wisdom from this process then that alone will make it worth the difficulty. If I can learn that AND have shitloads of fun with glorious people making wonderful work, all the better. I meditate pretty much every morning for fuck’s sake. This should be child’s play. NMHRK


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: