Saturday, November 5, 2011

Remember, Remember

"Lo, for it is in times of despair that a man looks to his past, therefrom seeking to mine nuggets of happiness and to examine them for whatever solutions they may offer to his foul and current state!"

                                                                                                   - Saint Loicus the Benign*

Oh, to be me from exactly a week ago.

I was a genius, then: witty, complex, mysterious, savvy, virile, unshakable.  I was ahead of my partners in conversations.  I had perfect table manners.  I looked good when I took off my clothes and looked at my butt in my waist-level wall mirror. 

At the very least, I was a competent performer in a level one class full of comic geniuses at the Second City Conservatory.

This week I am a fool.  I am clumsy, unflattering, plain, bumbling, flaccid.  At the very best, I can put one foot in front of the other, make it through doorways without bumping into the frame, and enunciate English words clearly enough that they will probably be understood by other Americans.  Probably.

I should have known from the headwind I faced on my bike trip into the classroom that this would be a tough morning.  I should have clued in when our warm-up was a simple game of wordball with a basic alteration: if the passed word ended in a vowel, we were to move one step to the left as an ensemble; if the word ended in a consonant, we were to step to the right.**  The entire class did our best 7th-grade-boy-slow-dancing-with-his-mother-in-preparation-for-his-first-date impression, stepping on each others' feet like we were getting paid for it.

That was only the beginning.  The end . . . the humbling, oh, the humbling.

Our final task was to perform a 15-minute set "as if we were performing for a crowd in Romania, only 40% of which speaks any English."  Translation?^  We were to use only cognates in our dialogue (i.e. international words that can be understood in any language) and over-indicate everything that was happening on stage.  I thought that sounded both simple and fun. 

15 long, long minutes later, my body hair had multiplied tenfold, my eyes had developed astigmatism, my brain was somewhere under somebody's shoe, and my testicles had been removed and sold for stem cells. 

So this is what they call learning, eh?  To hell with personal and professional growth. 

. . .

Okay, I'll give it 100 more weeks. 

It's fitting that today is the four-month anniversary of my first full day in Chicago, because I swear, if I didn't have a calendar and an acting resume, I would think I was right back at the beginning.

And by "the beginning," I mean somewhere around peek-a-boo.


*Three days later, I'm still in the mood for looking back and using the word "lo,"^^

** Damn you , "y!"

^Translation!  Get it?

^^ Also for using multiple footnotes.

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