Sunday, October 21, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Twenty-Eight

I taught again tonight. This was the second and last class I’ll teach before Tatwerk decides where Viewpoints will fit into their curriculum. I got further confirmation that Wednesday’s class was a hit. This made it easier and harder to teach tonight as I covered the same material for students who weren’t able to make it on Wednesday along with those who were. I just hoped to make as good of a showing.

It’s become an excuse, I realize, but my cold continued to keep me at half speed today. The class began at 8pm, which was particularly difficult tonight, and I just wanted to be curled up at home with my family. I struggled teaching “at sick” tonight. More so, I think I pushed through and denied my illness, which made me a little less grounded as a teacher. Luckily, I think this critique only makes sense to me. The class did go smoothly, as far as the curriculum was concerned, but my lack of focus brought up some other issues for my head while I was working:

One: Why am I doing this?
I think this question came up because I secretly hope that somehow in connecting with Tatwerk I’ll find a community like I had in grad school. Reflecting on it now, I think this is still possible, but being there tonight, I realized how different my life is from these twenty-something, single artists and wonder if we would ever connect beyond the student/teacher relationship. I also struggle with the lack of a career ladder here. In the States, I’m motivated by the idea that there is always something more to achieve, more recognition to be had. I’m not sure that exists here. The students at Tatwerk aren’t there to build a career or even necessarily make theatre, they just love the process. As an American, this is wonderful and totally baffling to me.

And another thing: Can I be taken seriously as an artist when I’m this overweight?
I really hate that this came up for me tonight while I was teaching, but it did. I’ve been working hard recently to change my perspective on this, telling myself that my weight doesn’t reflect what I have to offer as an artist. I’m personally excited when I see different shapes on stage and know that there is interesting work to be made with my body at this size—work that couldn’t exist otherwise. As much as I’m trying to own the power I have as an independent performing artist, the twenty-five years of needing to live up to others’ standards in this industry still haunt me.

As with Wednesday, it wasn’t easy to gauge whether the students were responding to what I was teaching. All of the students from Wednesday were there along with three new students, one of which heads the program at Tatwerk. They were all very focused but the exercises were a bit messier and things became chaotic a few times—all of this is part of the training, but can be frustrating and confusing for some students. At the end of the class, I received really great feedback from the new students. We all discussed the differences between the two classes, having a smaller group versus having a larger group. We talked more about what the next steps would be and they all were excited.

One the way home, I spotted the above advertisement in the U-Bahn station. It’s an HIV prevention ad encouraging the use of condoms. What I loved about it was that it targeted sixty-seventy-somethings. Bravo, Germany, for allowing sexy to exist past age thirty-nine.