9/23/08: Scene Day

Dear Dick Wolf:

Well, another big Scene Day at the Howard Fine Acting Studio has come and gone. It took place this past Sunday. Are you familiar with Scene Day? Perhaps Christopher Meloni told you about it, being an alum and all. If he didn’t, here’s the gist:

Twice a year, students are invited to perform scenes we’ve been working on in our respective classes. Some actors do monologues, some do three-person scenes, but for the most part, there are two of us on stage at any given time performing for the entire school, including Howard himself and the rest of the staff. Also, past students can attend…but that’s all. No friends, family members, etc. Only folks affiliated with the Studio.

My friend Nakisha and I put up a scene from the play Speaking in Tongues (GENIUS play). Five minutes of chaotic set up, five minutes of performing, two minutes of strike. BAM BAM BAM. And while we strike, the next scene sets up. It’s a rush for everyone involved.

So, how did our scene go, you ask? Well, here are a few comments we DIDN’T hear:

“Very weak.”
“Silly and not useful.”
“O.M.G. shoot me!”
“I can’t tell you how much I hate this soft crap.”

So, what did we hear? Hoots, hollers and lots of clapping. Yep! People seemed to like it, and it felt good. Our teacher, the always fantastic and inspiring Laura Gardner, gave me a big hug and said we were terrific. She has this warm way of letting you know when you’ve made her proud. She’s her students’ biggest fan, our biggest supporter.

And at its core, that’s what Scene Day is all about. Support. It doesn’t matter if you have an “off” performance. If you drop a line, trip over a set piece, or don’t muster up the tears you so desperately want to cry. True, I probably would’ve beaten myself up for days had any of those happened to me. I’m an actor – it’s what we do. But the beauty of Scene Day is that these things don’t matter. We come out in droves to support people just like ourselves. Those who are doing the same thing we are – honing our talents. Getting up in front of our peers knowing full well that we may suffer titanic embarrassment, but taking that chance anyway. Refining our skills in the hopes that someday soon we’ll get the chance to make a living doing what we love – acting.

Support is what inspires us. All of us. You, me, my coworkers down the hall. Not criticism. I wish everyone in our lives knew that.


Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 7:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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