Friday, November 02, 2007

Jewish Update

Over a month and five or so worksessions/rehearsals later, I'm less than 4 days away from performing my original piece for Birthright Israel Monologues. You can read about my feelings before my first meeting here. I thought then that I would document this experience but after that first meeting, I knew I wouldn't. Not because it was secret, but because it became a very personal experience for me. No, not a religious experience, nor a transformational one. Just a very personal one for me and the rest of the people in the show. I didn't want to feel the urge to write about them, their words, or their growth. I didn't want to give anything away either. But now, in the final days (and now that I've finally completed my monologue) I thought I'd share something from night one.

We spent the greater part of an hour doing a timed writing exercise. This is a fairly common way to practice I believe but she referenced this book called Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg as a good intro for us. Back to the exercise: pretty simple, she would say a phrase, ask a question, play a song, show us a picture, etc. and we had to write what comes into our minds. The only rules were keep your hand moving and on the page, don't cross out (or worry about spelling, grammar, punctuation), and don't think to hard (or worry about making sense).

Honestly, it doesn't sound too unique or amazing, but at the end of the however long (40 minutes I'd guess) I felt incredibly rewarded. Not because what I wrote was so poignant, rather because liberating thoughts from my mind, giving them life on paper was something I hadn't done in a while. I should clarify that it's a certain type of thoughts—about Judaism/Jewish stuff mostly—; however, writing was a completely creative endeavor without any purpose other than to get comfortable writing. Still with a deadline (each new question she asked) but not a typical schedule deadline like sending the pov to a client for example.

Rather than use that train of thought to go into how I think this type of exercise would be appropriate for certain types of qual, I'll show you the first thing I wrote. (The whole point of this post was to pass on the date/time for my performance by the way.) It was my answer to "Do you have any Jewish memorabilia, like jewelry, an accessory, or even a t-shirt?"

Should I raise my hand - the first thing that comes to mind is that cheesy Urban Outfitters t-shirt. The one that I wore in public only once. Not for fear of religious persecution. But scarred shitless, as I should have been) of the fashion police. Yes, you know what I'm talking about by now - "Everyone Loves A Jewish Boy." Fuck. That wasn't therapeutic like I thought it would be. It was straight up embarrassing. Whatever. It sucks and I feel like a loser every time I pay to put it in a washing machine. Well, at least it's comfortable.

Re-writing it now (I suck at using the scanner in my office. Plus I don't trust it not to be found by anyone else.) is weird, especially since I think that "straight up embarrassing" line made me sound like Kenny from Can't Hardly Wait. Either way, I wrote a couple pages that night on everything from a freestyle group my friends Craig, Vaz, and me loosely created (meaning we'd break it down drunk at house parties or leaving bars our first year out of college) to female IDF soldiers to JAPS.

Onto the reason for the post, I've written something else for this Monday, November 5th at 7PM (doors opening) at The Slipper Room - 167 Orchard Street (Corner of Orchard and Stanton Streets). I think you're supposed to email alumni@birthrightisrael.com to get on the list. There's also a show on the 19th of November, which I'll probably be more prepared for :) if you this is too short notice. Last night was the first night I saw everyone do their pieces and they are really different and really great, so as much as I don't think it would be the worst thing if no one I knew came, I do encourage you to try your best to make one of the shows.

Update: Ruvym agrees and offers his own encouragement. He's opening the show, and he's really awesome, so definitely be on time!

4 comments:

Eric said...

I will be there.

Ruvym said...

Blogger for life. I didn't know you had one of these. Awesome, now we can be blog buddies.

Ruvym said...

And by "buddies" I mean I'll link to you from my site.

El Gaffney said...

nice. see you in 45.