Like A Virgin (Again)

On February 2nd, 2023, I officially returned as a student to the Scene Study 3.0 class at the Richard Lawson Studios. To give you some quick context, I have been a student of Richard’s for many years. Then on March 13th, 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced all of us to attend classes virtually. AND WE MADE IT WORK! I remained a virtual student up until August 2020. At that time, I decided I needed to unplug (figuratively and literally) and take a break. Well, it’s true what they say about “taking a break.” A one-month break turned into two, turned into three, turned into a year, turned into…you get the point. However, it didn’t mean I was not doing anything for my career. I was incredibly productive throughout the pandemic, lockdown, quarantine, and beyond. I still am. And I was still a virtual student in the Professional Development Program 3.0 class.

I finally decided to return to Scene Study for a couple of reasons. 1) My good friend, Lindsay Hopper, kept hounding me about when I would return. She hounded me via text, via Zoom calls, at gatherings, via smoke signals, in my dreams, via numerous languages, via songs and interpretive dances…LOL. 2) When I looked at my raison d’être (purpose, reason for existence) at the beginning of 2023, I knew that being back in class was integral in keeping it alive and thriving. By the way, if you want to read my incredible blog entry from last week about raison d’être, click on the link at the end, but only after reading this wonderful entry first 🙂 Keep reading below 🙂

Returning to class, I knew I wanted to start from scratch again. I knew I wanted this to be a reset. I knew I wanted to get comfortable with being on a stage again. I knew I wanted to use the class as a space where I exercise my raison d’être. So with those things in mind, I told Lindsay that I wanted to start with exercises before jumping back into scene work (I also have a few scene ideas based upon the research I started doing once I was back in class. I am also interested in receiving a few scene suggestions from Richard and my classmates.) So in terms of exercises, I am on the class schedule for an Environmental With A Crisis, a Song & Dance, a Personal Monologue, and an Improvisation. Keep reading below 🙂

On April 27th, 2023, I did my Environmental With A Crisis exercise!!!! I was both nervous and excited. I joked with a friend and colleague earlier during class and said, “I feel like a virgin again!” The Environmental is the first exercise that every student does at the RLS, and it teaches us how to be a person in a place having an experience (which is one of our acting principles at the school.) In this exercise, you recreate a specific part of your home on the stage. And you live within that environment by doing an activity that engages, absorbs, and involves you. Keep reading below 🙂

I decided to recreate my home office on stage. I brought many things from my office and organized them the same way on two desks that the theater provided. I wanted to bring so many other things from my office, like paintings and my Vassar degree, but I knew there was no way to hang them in the theater space. For the activity part of this exercise, I decided to color in my drag queen coloring book because that engages and involves me. It also soothes me and brings me a sense of relaxation-which is important for the second part of the exercise. Keep reading below 🙂

So, during a class break, I set up my home office environment. Once I finished setting up, I sat down and began coloring in my coloring book. I wanted to get into the reality of my home office and the experience of the coloring book as soon as possible. Once the break was over, the stage manager called the exercise, the lights went down, and then the lights came back up again. And there I was at my home office, coloring in my book. My tablet played songs that I specifically curated on Spotify because these were the type of songs that I would have played while coloring at home. Keep reading below 🙂

The second part of this exercise now involves a crisis of some sort. The actor, at ease in their enviroment and absorbed in their activity for a few minutes, receives a crisis that turns things upside down. The point of this second part is for us to receive and respond to the crisis as a person would. Does the crisis land? Does it impinge? Do we question or doubt what we’re hearing? Do we process it in a moment to moment way? Once the crisis is delivered, what happens next? How do we continue living in our environment after receiving the crisis? Do we make a phone call? Do we continue processing what we just heard? How is our behavior and life altered because of the crisis? Are we able to go back to our initial activity? What would a person do in this situation? Keep reading below 🙂

My Environmental With A Crisis went great! I was so proud of the work that I created after being away from a stage for so long. I had a specific environment. I had an engaging activity. I had a clear event within the environment before the crisis occurred. I was in a relaxed state which then allowed me to receive the crisis better and be impinged by it. I had an experience. I got emotional. I had an inner and outer life. Keep reading below 🙂

I lost my virginity on stage again, and it felt so good LOL. Equally as impinging (no pun intended) was Richard’s assessment afterward and realizing how much love and support he and that room have for me. Richard said to me at point, “You’re back home.” He also asked me what I am after in this new chapter and how I can utilize class to achieve my goals. Pedal to the metal in terms of backward thinking for forward motion with my goals. I got to share my raison d’être as well! Keep reading below 🙂

Here’s a picture of my environment:

Here is the link to last week’s blog entry about raison d’être:


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