Inside the Circle

 

What’s it like to be inside the circle?  Magic.  As a director with young, inexperienced actors, I was faced with stealing their attention from the general chaos of the outside world and bringing them to a place where we could focus on acting exercises and rehearsals.  Nothing worked well until I let them alone during a break and drew a three-foot circle with chalk on the floor of the rehearsal space.  Having their attention, I invited them, one-by-one, to step into the circle and become an animal, silently.  We would guess which animal they were and then they would leave. We repeated the exercise many times, creating emotions and even colors.  The rule was that when they were in the circle they had to “stay in character” all the time.  The rule for the audience was that if someone was in the circle, everyone had to be silent and give full attention to the actor.

It was from this exercise, repeated in different forms over weeks, that the young people learned inside the circle is a unique, sacred place – soon to be fully-known only to them.  Anything could be created in that space and when it was being created, honor should be given to the creators.  The circle became larger, actors created in groups and, eventually, the circle became the stage, a play was created and only then did they fully understand the magic of stepping inside the circle.

In this space, I hope to share thoughts of what it has been like – and still is – for me, being inside the circle.  My visions, memories and opinions will be honest and useful to some, useless to others.  I’ll only write what I believe I have the right to write and, hopefully, some of it will inspire, educate and entertain.

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