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Posts Tagged ‘anger’

Anger Mining

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on September 20, 2018

So, as part of my acting class, I need to have emotions on speed dial. One of those is anger. I’ve been going into myself, mining deep, to touch those feelings, tag them with a keyword that I can use to retrieve them. There is, after all, a range of anger, from annoyance to rage. A lot of that is buried within us, and many of us actively work on remembering pleasant memories, creating, sometimes, a “happy place” to go to, or just trying to keep destructive emotions from boiling up and spilling over in situations that don’t call for that. Anger management is all the rage these days.

But, as an actor, I need those emotions. If I fake them, pretend to be angry, or pretend any other emotion, it’s going to look like that: pretense. I need emotion to come from within and express itself in my face and body language. So I have memories I can mine for that: my father, especially, and the irrational demands he’d make on me when he got pissed. I was married twice. My first seven-year marriage dissolved suddenly in anger, but the anger was short-lived. She said she wanted us to separate. Since I’d never heard of anyone who “separated” getting back together, I said we should just get divorced. We decided not to stay married, and eventually went back to being friends after the divorce. The second marriage had a long run, fourteen years, but the last few were full of intolerance, recrimination, and angry blow-ups that were ignored, passed over and buried. Great fuel for an actor.

I often tap these feelings in class, and have done so just before I do a monologue. The monologue becomes much more powerful, and real.

However, I had a dream early this morning. My father was raging at me for something. The dream had a lot of details, I could see him quite clearly. We were in the basement of the last house we had lived in as a family. I saw the concrete walls. Oddly, there was a shelf on the wall nearest us, and there was a stack of dinner plates on it. There hadn’t been any such shelf or stack of upside-down stacked plates, but the brain does what it wants sometimes. I was listening to my father, and getting angry. I was also tired of hearing all this crap from him. I grabbed a plate and threw it on the floor, shouting at my father to cut the crap as I did so.

The plate didn’t break on the concrete floor; it just landed there with a dull thud. That was not very satisfying. We both looked at it. I needed to get his attention back on me, on my anger. So I looked at that stack of plates and made him look at them. “You know,” I said, “I can start breaking all of these on your head.” My anger rose. I said something to the effect that I wasn’t going to take this anymore. I felt we could just go at it here right now, beat the crap out of each other, and have it all out. I could feel my chest tighten, I could feel the adrenaline in my body. I was pumped up and ready to fight, and the emotion was taking over my body. It felt overwhelming, like a terrible rage.

THAT woke me up. My heart was racing. My chest ached. I was shocked to be feeling such anger. My dad could do that to me. He did it one last time in real life. He was slapping my teenage head back and forth, and back and forth, and I snapped. Knocked him on his ass to the floor and tried with all my strength to stomp his head into bloody pulp; really wanted to see his head explode. Fortunately he was stronger them me, even in that state, and he was able to leverage his arms against my leg so I couldn’t bring it down. His anger had dissipated. In fact, I remember him smiling. He had always wanted to toughen me up, make me fight, not take crap from anyone. Guess what, Dad, it worked! And you were the one I wanted to take on the most.

I did love my father, but he died many years ago, in his fifties. I had moved away long before that, and never heard from him. He and my mother had divorced not too long after I’d left home at 18. After I got the early-morning call that he’d died, I was numb at first, and then sad, but by evening I was overcome by emotion and tears. I remembered all the good things, and regretted that I’d never see him again, never spend some time talking, never be able to ask him any questions. Still have those regrets sometimes.

But, I’ll say this: Thanks Dad. I think I’m going to find all that very useful.

Posted in 1960s, Dreams, family, madness, My Life, relationships | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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