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The Complete Opposite of Acting

I had a memory pop into my head this morning as I was driving to work. I do not believe it is one I’ve shared here before, but owing to the fact that this blog is coming up on 7 years old… It may have slipped my mind if I did. Therefore, long term followers please forgive me if this memory sounds familiar.

This memory popped up while I was listening to a podcast where actors were talking about improv scenes in a particular show. Then, at work, I attended a self-defense course which made this memory seem all the more timely.

The year was 2000, I believe, perhaps as late as 2001 and Felix and I were the co-chairs of the drama club at Kungsholmens Gymnasium.

Felix and I had become pretty fast friends at Kungsholmen due to our shared love of the theatre and a small world sense that had arisen when we discovered we had both been friends with a guy named Michael – who I had attended 9th grade with in Ethiopia, and Felix had attended at least part of 10th grade with in India. Felix and I were both in the same grade in Sweden (though different classes – he was in Svea’s line and I believe we were introduced through her) which makes me think that he had been held back a year just as Svea and I had been when we all arrived in Sweden (had to do with the school’s expectations of age of graduation not to do with grades or anything like that.)

Left to Right – Frida, Felix, Svea, and Me on graduation day 🙂

Felix and I decided that our school was lacking with no current drama club, so we got permission from the office and started one ourselves. This was nice because certain lines could not take drama, and since our lines were different our classes did not mix in drama class. The club made for a good mixture of teens/our friends from various classes and grades.

Felix and I at the Champagne Breakfast for Graduation and He and I (with his GF of the time) at Monkey Bar

This particular day, we decided to run some improv drills/games. I don’t recall everything we did that day, but at some point we decided to play a game called “freeze.” The basic concept is that two people would improv a scene together and when someone had an idea they’d yell “freeze!” and the scene partners would… well… freeze in place. The person that yelled would then tap one of the actors out and take their place to start the scene anew and take it in a completely different direction (create a new scene altogether.)

Make sense?

Felix and I started this game as the first scene partners.

Let’s just say, this scene escalated quickly to violence. Felix was screaming at me, I was apologizing. He slapped me across the face, causing me to lose balance and fall against the piano. I was shaking, sobbing, and begging for mercy as he continued to use his fists and the back of his hand. At some point I ended up on the ground; my head turned away from him, my face mere centimeters from the ground.

Suddenly, I heard Azrin scream “FREEZE!” with an sense of urgency.

I lifted my eyes just enough to see Felix’s boot hovering in front of my face.

Felix lowered his foot and walked away as Azrin took his place and started a new scene by losing his balance and falling.

When I was tapped out a few minutes later, Louise asked me quietly if I was ok… If I needed the nurse. Turns out, all of our friends were so shocked and found our performance so believable that they truly believed that Felix’s hands were making contact with me. The fact was that Felix never actually touched me in that way.

With my history I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that I could fall into and react so believably in a scene like that – but at the time it made me have a huge feeling of accomplishment that I (we) could pull off a scene with such high emotion and action and have everyone sitting within just a few meters from us believe it to be the complete opposite of acting.

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