An Actor Prepares, malgré lui

David Choi
Corinne Chateau
THR 501 106 – Basic Technique I
November 3, 2015

An Actor Prepares – Assignment 2 v2

I take on the driving, freezing rain in defiance, naked and possessed by my compulsion, but human malgré lui. I am 40 miles west of Denver, alone and 1,838 miles from home. To stand in this stinging, frigid rain is, of course, my protest – my objection to a culture of numbness, conformity, non-creativity and the lumpenproletariat. I am objecting to what I had become after 35 years of social conditioning. It’s a clarion call to my subconscious for the reorganization and reassessment of values, harmony in my root chakra and a peaceful psychic consonance. There is fervor in my blood, a readiness in my veins, puissance in my musculature and a blazing pang in my gut which screams for survival.

Indeed, my yesterdays are survived by a multitude of intense memories like this, each with a resplendent story of their own. And after placing myself in an entirely relaxed state, I am able to  recall this particular painful chill quite well – only now I find myself wholly unburdened by its vividness and the indelible fight-or-flight sensation that it has left on my psyche. The trick then, is to be able to summon this sense memory again and again at will – and the whole of it – not just my innate facility for thermoregulation but my inner purpose and all the preceding actions and desires leading up to that moment in time; to be in communion with my inner motive forces, my truth. To remember all the relevant historical appurtenances, to call to mind the hail’s temperature, mass and velocity, the momentum of each individual crystalline clump of water molecules – the same water molecules that at one point traversed the earth’s oceans and laid locked in glacial masses. To recall the sharp striking pressure on each part of my body – my brow, my cheeks, my ears, neck, chest, all the way down to my toes. To sense how the unceasing barrage of ice grains bond and freeze over the epidermis and hairs that stand on end creating miniscule glaciers that cover the entire surface area of my body. Under its crust the water molecules closest to the heated capillaries return to a more fluid arrangement creating nanoscale lakes and rivers that gather the sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and other trace elements found embedded in my protective acid mantle. I am a scientist, a researcher and a documentarian on the hunt for spiritual recourse. There is a certain madness to this method and I must detect it, dutifully, with extreme specificity and accuracy and represent it without a hint of artificiality for my entire reputation is at risk. Yet, questions abound, from the farflung to those germane: How does my presence on this planet affect the overall change in displacement, salinity and temperature of the aggregate water molecules on earth and how would that affect sea level rise and coastal flooding? How much water is reabsorbed? How can I remove myself from flights of fancy and keep my thoughts fixed in the here and now? How confidently do I stand after five, ten or thirty minutes and what does that ultimately say about my will to survive? What are the consequences of the circumstances which I have fashioned for myself, that which brought me to this very spot, this moment in my history? How has the configuration of my subconscious evolved as a result of this experience? How does my disposition and resolve affect my inner climate and fervor? How can I concretize this experience and my inner motives to make them eternal? How can I know intimately well this road paved with truth and absolute faith which leads me to recreate these conditions that which otherwise lie dormant in my psyche?

The exercise brings to mind a previous life’s resignation; how easily I slipped down the slippery slopes, how readily I was greeted by darkness. The gates of hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way: But to return, and view the cheerful skies, In this the task and mighty labor lies. With that life behind me its vestigial sense memories of inner longings, ambition, and movements fill my character. To recall the connected emotions, to portray a sublimated version of them in an unbroken through-line of events and emotions, replete with the elements of the inner creative state and relevant super-objectives, hoc opus hic labor est.

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