Week Twelve: The Elysium Etudes / O. Henry
Happy Saturday, friends. Welcome to EA’s Rehearsal Playground. Each week we’ll celebrate our Mainstage material and capture graveyard echoes emanating from EA’s Spoon River.
All subscribers have a new Weekly Character Challenge + March’s Mainstage Rehearsal Project waiting below!
How It Works
Each Saturday delivers new weekly character rehearsal challenges straight to your inbox. Something dynamic, something experimental, something transformational. Something to push the boundaries of truth in character. This Spring … the world of EA’s Spoon River.
Your Weekly Character Challenge
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
Nightmares do something to us. They leave something behind.
Dreams open doors and possibilities. Tastes we never considered possible.
This month we’re gifting our transformational growth with the ability to live through our character nightmares and character dreamscapes.
Up next, The Nightmare/Dreamscape Etudes.
This month we’ve infused fantasy and nightmare scenario “button-pushers” into the world around us - and crafted a conveyor belt to move us through the full experience.
This week we’re meeting our preparation with the willingness to surrender/accept whatever comes our way.
Etudes are about living as the character.
No matter what happens, the deal is we stay in character and experience life as the character.
Sure we have an idea, a setup, of how we want an Etude to progress.
Etudes are there to answer questions. To gift us with knowing through actual experience.
We want those knowings. We want things as actors from our work, sure.
The challenge to release guiding our work, to accept everything as the character, is why we prepare so meticulously.
Why we think through ways to ensure our conveyor belt will carry us and do all the work of being in control.
We care mightily about the value of our Etude.
But for an Etude to mirror life … to give us a visceral, experiential knowing … it can’t be “rehearsed.”
Just like in life we make plans, but once it starts, it is real life.
Surprising, uncontrollable. Something to react to and deal with as best you can.
Always as the character.
Never as the actor.
Even if that means pushing back against the setup and world you created as the actor because you need to, or want to, as the character.
When the Etude is over remember to fulfill your Rehearsal Bargain by pouring out your experiences - the discoveries & challenges - into a Rehearsal Report.
Take time between the Nightmare Etude and Fantasy Etudes to learn from your work.
Make choices to set yourself (and environment) up with even deeper levels of permission, freedom, surrender and acceptance.
Gift your growth by learning from each (Nightmare or Fantasy) Etude in order to live more fully and freely in the next.
How It Works
On the first Saturday of the month, our Mainstage Rehearsal Project gets posted for subscribers to play with all month long. Each project builds out an array of rehearsal tools, applying them to work you’ll remember forever. The stuff that makes acting worth believing in.
This Spring we’re delving into the works of O. Henry … unlocking deep truths, forging character connection, and working from the depths of artistic beauty and creative love.
March’s Mainstage Project
After reading all of these short stories by O. Henry - step away for a day.
Your character will be the one most living in your soul after that full day is up.
This month, please Creatively Communicate what only you can taste of the heart/soul connection you feel to your character.
Find the image that captures the connection.
Find the song that captures the connection.
Find the object (one you can actually touch vs. discover online or see behind glass in a museum) that captures the connection.
Find the poem that captures the connection.
Create an original piece of Creative Communication that captures the connection - adding/expanding on the forms of expression listed above.
It is true, fellow citizens,
That my old docket lying there for years
On a shelf above my head and over
The seat of justice, I say it is true
That docket had an iron rim
Which gashed my baldness when it fell—
(Somehow I think it was shaken loose
By the heave of the air all over town
When the gasoline tank at the canning works
Blew up and burned Butch Weldy)—
But let us argue points in order,
And reason the whole case carefully:
First I concede my head was cut,
But second the frightful thing was this:
The leaves of the docket shot and showered
Around me like a deck of cards
In the hands of a sleight of hand performer.
And up to the end I saw those leaves
Till I said at last, “Those are not leaves,
Why, can’t you see they are days and days
And the days and days of seventy years?
And why do you torture me with leaves
And the little entries on them?
Over and over they used to ask me,
While buying the wine or the beer,
In Peoria first, and later in Chicago,
Denver, Frisco, New York, wherever I lived
How I happened to lead the life,
And what was the start of it.
Well, I told them a silk dress,
And a promise of marriage from a rich man—
(It was Lucius Atherton).
But that was not really it at all.
Suppose a boy steals an apple
From the tray at the grocery store,
And they all begin to call him a thief,
The editor, minister, judge, and all the people—
“A thief,” “a thief,” “a thief,” wherever he goes
And he can’t get work, and he can’t get bread
Without stealing it, why the boy will steal.
It’s the way the people regard the theft of the apple
That makes the boy what he is.
Play Along With Your Own Spring Character …
Read Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River.
Choose your Spoon River character or work with one of the echoes above.
Invest in your character over the Spring with our weekly work.
Share your discoveries and challenges.
Cinema Elysium Presents … The Saturday Matinee
Let’s begin our celebration of O. Henry’s Full House (1952) with the film’s first short story - The Cop and the Anthem, starring Marilyn Monroe and Charles Laughton.
ALL MONTH ON SUBSTACK
I’ll be providing feedback for paid members posted work and available as a teammate for the discoveries and challenges inspired as you explore.