I got some sad news this evening. Paul J. Curtis, founder of The American Mime Theater, of which I was a member for several years, died yesterday. I’m truly sad to hear it because, while Paul was the most candid and brutally honest director I have ever had (I cried at least once a rehearsal), he gave me some of the most valueable instruction of my career. Quite a bit isn’t sharable here, just the ins and outs of physical performance in the moment, but here is one thing I can pass on to you, and I hope you find as useful as I have.
Posit – to put something somewhere firmly.
EVERYTHING you do on the stage must be “posited”; you have to look like you meant to do it. Every movement. Every gesture. Everything is deliberate. That means that there is no such thing as a transition – the transition IS the move. Raise an arm to grab the rope? Posited. Wrap the silks around your leg? POSITED. Whack your head on the wheel? Yup – totally meant to do that. There is no movement wasted, no indulgent “noodling” around – you must move like you mean it.
In Paul’s memory, I challenge you to take one phrase of choreography, or an entire piece if you’re feeling ambitious, and make every single solitary moment deliberate and conscious, even if it should look casual. How far can you get? It takes practice, but you’ll know it when you do it, and you’ll recognize it when you see it – it looks like magic. RIP Paul, your work lives on in countless luscious, full, posited moments. Love always, Laura
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