In acting we study the language in the play. We use the language the playwright has given us to drive the intention of our character. Acting is difficult because you are trying to tell someone else’s truth, instead of your own. An actor wants to make sure everything is present in the character the way everything is present in their everyday life. The character is human, normally, so this should essentially be simple.
I can’t tell you how not simple this is.
When you are in passionate pursuit of intention, you try everything. EVERYTHING. right? That’s a tactic. You’ll reason, yell, push, pull, tease, ignore, whisper, run, challenge…the list can of course go on and on. In the middle of a talk, or argument you know what you want. You want to prove your point, have the other person realize you are right, and sometimes you even want them to structure their apology in one sentence “you’re right – I was wrong.”
The feeling of being right is a force to be reckoned with when you’ve been fighting for it and fighting for it. Is it okay to equally feel elated because they other person has admitted their wrong (that is the correct “their” I want by the way), regardless of what it was?
Why is after we fight and fight to be right, it feels better for someone else to be wrong?
What was in the language that pulled THAT intention out? Instead of proving your truth you proved their false? That doesn’t land logically. If you have the truth does anything else REALLY matter?
What does the language SAY.
What do the words…SAY.
Tonight for no reason I started crying. It wasn’t a laughing cry, or even a sad cry. But there was ache nonetheless. A sense of loss or failure that had quickly made it’s way past my gut and got locked in my throat, choking me up. I didn’t cry long. I’ve learned sometimes our bodies just hold emotions in and we find a way to trap it somewhere, and if you let go even for a minute, it can pour out of you breaking every dam you placed to restrain it. I didn’t try to stop crying, I just – cried and eventually looked around my room and landed on the logic work I was refreshing.
Truth tables, Truth-trees, and Derivations. Midterm on Monday. Funny thing having an acting class followed by five hours of time ending with three hours of logic. One wants me to get out of my head, the other challenges me to mind push-ups.
Both want me to find the truth in the statements being made
Both give me information asking me to derive at something else.
Both have structure and rules.
Could it really be that simple?
The bits of formal logic I’ve been introduced to, tested on, studied and lost sleep over are all simplified versions of statements we make in our every day lives.
This AND That
This OR That
IF this THEN that
Only yes, no, or, if-then statements.
Can the answer to my inability to be vulnerable in life, or my acting, reside in simply removing the content – replacing sentences with variables (letters) and cutting out any nonsense, or fillers? If I do that, would I also be willing to stick to the answer I come up with? Will I derive something new that I hadn’t thought of yet?
The simple key phrases my Professor has used in class, and when answering my questions via email, have solidified more than the glance at formal logic he’s introduced me to. They are as such:
1) “Contradictions kill trees”
2) “What do the rules tell me?”
3) “Based on what you have, what ELSE do you know, what else can you DO?”
4) “If it’s Not Invalid – it’s valid” (this does not mean it is sound, this is only about validity)
5) “Everything makes sense in reverse”
6) “You can assume anything, but your assumptions do not reside on your line of certainty”
I’m gonna go ahead and interpret those however I think I can, into what I can use it for – for acting:
1) I cannot be, or stay rooted if I am unsure of what is or is not true. Make the choice. What happens when the opposite is true?
2) Do I have boundaries? What has the playwright given me? What are the Given Circumstances?
3) Based on what you have, what else do you know, what else can you do?
4) Just because it doesn’t make sense, doesn’t mean it won’t work. Try it. Try anything and see what happens.
5) As the actor I know how the play ends, it is my job to tell the story to the audience so they are experiencing the story for the first time. Even though it already makes sense to me, how can I make it make sense to them?
6) Assuming is like anticipating. If you anticipate you aren’t staying present, in the moment.
In addition to this I have statements from other professors that ring constantly in my ear:
“You must have evidence to support your claim”
“Actors are emotional”
“You have to breathe. Everything within you is supported by breath”
Can all of these statements make me a better person? actor? logician? writer? speaker? Is it possible to have five completely different courses intertwine so well to one another that I ask acting questions when I’m writing? I ask logical questions when I’m breathing? Is it possible to have been trying desperately to keep everything separated and organized only to find that if I just throw it all together I’m better off? More…well rounded even? Is it fair to just say “well it IS a liberal arts college?” – because I think there’s more to it than that one.
And if it is better, easier even, to combine everything why haven’t I followed through yet? What am I afraid of? Why can’t analysis, and structure in writing be just as important in logic, and acting. Why have I decided (a terrible word for an actor) that it must be separated in order for me to succeed?
If I combine it all, then I have to accept that which I do not like in addition to what I do like. Now – I see what you see there, that could almost be a contradiction – but it’s not. Because what I like and do not like is content that you cannot see, it is not listed.
Do I have to see content in order for their to be a true contradiction? (is that an oxy moron?) Are there exceptions to any of the rules that will bring me closer to my line of certainty?
The content makes it specific. If I’m not specific, then I will not get what I want. Being vague is not the best of actions.
Don’t contradict yourself
Use good as well as deductive reasoning
Structure is important
The truth is more than important
Stay rooted, or grounded
Make a choice
Sometimes it is best to over simplify
Don’t let the obstacle detour you from what you want
And this part I learned on my own, just for help:
Whiskey helps truth tables
Wine helps truth trees
Derivations are sexy
Is there more? of course
Is there less? of course, but don’t take it
Have I personally derived anything else from the content I have been given? absolutely, and I will continue to test it as well
Do I now know why I was crying? Nope. But I’m under the assumption it has to do with either my breathing, my being detoured from my intention, or my inability to just keep it simple.