19 October 2007

Not what was intended

In the show that I am opening tonight (see sidebar, come see show), my character, Alma, has an emotional response where she cries. Myself, I'm not really a crier. Okay, the end of West Side Story makes me cry (odd because the end of Romeo and Juliet doesn't), but, in general, when I am upset I don't necessarily cry. I was surprised when I cried at my sister's funeral.

I am, in fact, usually surprised with I cry.

I've gotten physically cold when upset: once during a very upsetting discussion with Steve I was shivering and my teeth were actually chattering. But I didn't cry. Not even later.

So in getting this show ready I've been trying to learn how to cry on cue*. And just as you can sort of convince yourself that you are in a better mood than you really are by acting happy, you can set up tears by doing the things that your body does when you naturally cry.

Unless you're me.

Crying has happened a couple of times in rehearsal and then I spend the rest of the evening surfing the prolactin and adrenocorticotropic hormone wave, which is its own experience.

And this creates a new twist: my weirdo psycho-physical system seems to have realized that I'm trying to manipulate it for my own ends and is refusing to play along.

The last couple of rehearsals instead of having sad tears role down my cheeks (and sting the bejeebers out of me), I've had tearless sobs which are the lachrymal equivalent of the dry heaves. My director is fine with that because it is still an organic response although it plays merry hell with my pacing for the speech it underscores. And it feels freaky, like hiccups gone wrong.

So heaven only knows what's going to happen in each performance. Maybe tears, maybe dry sobs, maybe a perfect phlegmatic nothing.

Of course, for a couple of reasons, I'm so tired today that I could quite possibly just weep my way through the entire performance tonight. We must be careful what we wish for.


“I want to feel passion, I want to feel pain. I want to weep at the sound of your name. Come make me laugh, come make me cry... just make me feel alive.” Joey Lauren Adams


*"Crying on Cue" is also the nickname for the "Character and Emotion" class given at the Studio Theater. Maybe if I could afford the prices Studio charges I wouldn't be writing this post.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Onion juice? Also I hear plucking a nose hair is quite effective.