Thursday, December 07, 2006

Big Phil

Our Christmas tree has just gone up in the apartment and Tommy and Jay are softly murmuring carols in the other room. Gather round for the story of Big Phil Gaulier who punishes me with physical torture 'fit for Jean-Marie Le Pen' if I am 'orrible on stage, tells me, on a regular basis, I am so bad I should be made into a British sandwich for the imperial lions and has taken to calling me a Mormon. The days when I am 'not so bad, eh, surprising' are the best of my life.

The first month of school was spent with ‘Le Jeu’, discovering the pleasure of having fun, the infinite freedoms of imaginary games and the importance of winking at the audience as if to secretly invite them home with you to eat caramels. Here we try to abandon our ‘shitty ideas with their sell-by dates which give rabbit fart pleasure’ and learn about the importance of breaking the audience’s watches, not their balls. One day I come to class and am asked to save my life after losing a game of musical chairs by snorting like an elephant who hasn’t had sex for forty years and who has just burst into a brothel. Another week I am in a cabaret bar singing Ella Fitzgerald whilst intermittently being asked to raise my eyes to the heavens and calmly recite ‘Mummy, Daddy, look at me, I am onstage and I am fucking boring.’ Complicity, pleasure in the ridiculous and the conviction that the theatre is as serious as a child’s game are paramount.

We are currently working on Greek Tragedy, having spent the past few weeks with the 'Neutral Mask.' This is where I would put on a leather mask and roll around on the floor like a maniac pretending to be Alka-Seltzer or fire: ‘head up Jennifer, my god! Worst student, you get zero!’. With Greek tragedy when we die we say ‘fuck you god, I am going to my destiny dancing and I am so happy about it.’ Here we try to show our soul and our passion, ‘not something artistic made for old ladies who got menopause in Vienna.’ Our ‘aura’ has to be huge and beautiful, not ‘boooooring’ and realistic, ‘Jennifer, get rid of that Stanislavski stick on your head and up your bottom, we are not in the actor’s studio.‘ The importance of having a ‘fixed point’ is also beaten into us: ‘Jennifer, don’t run about the stage like a boy scout on heat, you get the prize of the plastic spoon.’

Every day we are taught the theory that the possible flop is part of the sensitivity of the best actor, his secret, and the reality that when it comes it is always painful. We try to discover in which ways we will be loved as actors and to be sure in our heads that the stage is our kingdom.


Blogger Hammermill Inernational Paper said...

I saw Jennifer Lee in the paper: You guys have hit bigtime; gone global on the web. Happy New Year to one and all. With love, Agata

3:13 AM  

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