the transformative power of live theater


Antaeus Diary: Breakthrough!

An entry from Nicol Zanzarella

Antaeus Diaries provide unique perspectives on Classical Theater from the Antaean point of view as veterans and newbies alike detail their experiences in their own voices. In this installment, Antaeus Academy student Nicol Zanzarella shares a fantastic class experience.

Even with all the stress we have in our daily lives: a day-job, family responsibilities, bills to pay, not enough time for our own sanity, (hopefully) rehearsals and/or auditions to be at AND just trying to squeeze in time with your scene partner and do some decent work in class – (a class you take to better yourself, keep fresh and stay focused on your craft and most of the time you feel like you barely have the right amount of time to THINK about it – let alone do the work for it!) a breakthrough can still occur!!

Thanks to one of our fabulous repeat moderators (thank you Geoffrey Wade!) and ALL of the feedback that we get in class each week I had a personal breakthrough in my work in class last week! It was a week that my scene partner and I weren’t even sure we would get through. We both had SO much going on that we weren’t sure we could coordinate to get in a rehearsal so that we could re-work our scene from Uncle Vanya. We actually even tried to give up our spot to more deserving classmates that might have been better about trying to be responsible and make time even at 2 a.m.  if they had to. Alas, we had no takers and were encouraged by Cindy to just get up there anyway and see what would happen even if we didn’t have the proper rehearsal time. Well, thank goodness we did manage somehow to eek out an hour and half the night before class to go over our notes from the first performance and get some ideas of what we each needed to be working on and run it a few times, etc.

Along with many great notes about the scene and character – there was one thing in particular that I knew I needed to focus on as a goal for this class more than anything else – TO STAY OUT OF MY HEAD and so stop “apologizing” in my acting. This is an old, bad habit of mine from way back that had somehow found its evil way back into my work when I started my classes at Antaeus. Geoffrey Wade – a wonderful company member, actor, director, photography, mentor (see last week’s blog) gave me a note about this after we went up with this scene the first time, and it completely unlocked a door for me. To his credit, he was with us for the majority of last session (this is my second at Antaeus) and he directed me in one of our scenes from the last showcase so he is somewhat familiar with my work at this point.

I knew this was happening, but you can only tell yourself so many things you care to listen to in your own head. BUT to hear it from someone else – someone you trust – wow…talk about a moment. SO, that was my main goal over anything else for the re-work that night because I knew if I could find a way to free myself from the jail of my own head, everything else would come flooding through – AND IT DID. Thank God!!

There is much more work now to focus on for the scene to be in its rightful place but I succeeded in reaching my main goal and it was wonderful! I felt like myself again. I felt confident (the kind that is good for you) in a way I haven’t for a while and I can’t wait to get back up there and do it again and keep this ball rolling! Then we can get down to all the directorial nitty gritty but not until my own tool belt is full-up again. It was a really great personal moment for me and EXACTLY why I am in this class – to make breakthroughs, large and small, in my acting work.

I must also send a shout out to my lovely scene partner, Maria, who not only allowed me the space to work on what I needed to but did some of her most beautiful work in our scene that night – kudos girl!

Thanks for reading,

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