But a couple nights ago at rehearsal this thing happened. It wasn’t a big moment in the scene. An emotional climax or big laugh line. It wasn’t a monologue. It was just an exchange with another actor who happens to be a great actor and great friend. He said his line. I said my line. But something happened that I can’t really articulate. And it’s more than “being in the moment” the way you hear actors say. Or maybe it wasn’t, I don’t know. It seems like we say that a lot and this was different, this moment I’m talking about. It was a split second where I wasn’t thinking about my next line, or the previous ones that I’d botched, or where to put my prop before my exit, or any of the crap in the previous paragraph. This little moment where I had forgotten myself.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot for the past couple of days. We do so many things to try and get there. Worship, meditation, camping, yoga, booze, pills, sex, rock and roll. Chasing this elusive moment of presence. Some methods are more successful, more healthy than others. To be here and now. I’ve tried a lot of those things, not all, but a lot. But still, the only truly consistent serenity I feel is on a stage with other actors.
On my way to rehearsal last night I was listening to the best podcast in the universe, Improv4humans with Matt Besser. The source they were using for their scenes was a musician I’d never heard of named Cory Branan. I’m now a fan. He played a song called The Corner. Change the lyric “these seven years” to “these three years” and you’ll get where my head and heart has been.
I hope I'm learning gratitude and humility. That I don't need anything more than I get. I hope I'm learning that an occasional moment of presence is reason enough to be in a play.
Out on the corner of what I want, what I tend to get
Day drinking and dreaming of you,
I let the ashtray smoke my last cigarette
Once I had a casual acquaintance with my impending doom
Years ago she promised me some day soon
I'd howl at the moon from room to room
I ain't transcending much of nothing
I've been down in it, I ain't free
Weren't no experiment - these seven years they went
like a life out of me