[Un]Acts of the Contrarians

In improv, it is first and foremost (judging from my first two classes and meager prior experience in theatre) to "get out of your head." But, last night my teacher stopped another person in my class after a scene and asked him, "what were you thinking when you made that choice?" Naturally, he was thinking that his character wouldn't do this, so he went in a different direction. So, what does it mean to get out of your head if you need to be making such measured, thought-out decisions in a scene? It seems more of a mantra than anything else. And I realize how applicable this mantra is to so many of the arts, not just performing. It's a means of avoiding psyching yourself out by putting too much intellectual pressure on your decision-making. More thinking=less action is the accepted equation. But this is obviously, judging from the above example, the manifestation of a false dichotomy.

An easily adoptable dichotomy, however. I find that when I'm reading more, I'm writing less. When I'm blogging more, I'm journaling less. It's an imbalance of energies, though. When I read something I'm really fond of/impressed by, I get in my head about it, viz I could never be this good, I'm not smart/witty/popular enough to make any difference with my work. These worries usurp the energy that would otherwise be used for JUST WRITING. Likewise, the energy that would otherwise be channeled into attacking a scene is channeled into fretting about character development, or, what am I going to do/say now to keep this character consistent: am I awkward? Derivative? Will they all laugh at me (I hope so)? Some people attempt to dull this internal critic/advisor through chemical means. It never works, which proves the futility of accepting the dichotomy of thought/action in art. We must do as we think and think as we do and separating the two is poison.


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