Can A Place Hold A Memory?

I found myself thinking this while sitting in the audience tonight at rehearsal. I love sitting in the empty theatre of whatever show I’m performing in and coming to a state of comfortable balance in the space; just observing, centering myself. It’s a space of exploration for me. I’m curious about the great actors who may have graced that stage before me. How cool is it that I get to be in the same space? I’m not sure if it’s just me projecting my assumptions or not, but either way it’s special to me.

I learned about centering myself in the space in a class in college called The Speaking Voice In Performance. For the first few classes we laid on the ground, eyes closed, focusing on being in the moment and the breath. It may not seem like work, but you’d be surprised at how much emotional work and mental effort goes into quieting your brain and allowing yourself to let go of your anxieties or thoughts. After a while, with the noise of the outside world drifting away outside the black box doors, for an hour each day my mind quieted long enough to hear things I’d never noticed before. The hissing of the pipes, the creaking of a door, the sounds of the building becoming increasingly louder, as I myself grew increasingly quieter. The energy of the room became more apparent than it had before. This room had its own life, its own energy, its own vitality. I became just a passerby in the big scheme of things. I liked that. It reminded me that my anxieties are not the totality of the truth of my existence. There were many bigger elements outside of myself. For some, realizing that they are a tiny particle in a much bigger universe is frightening and makes them feel unimportant. For me, it started to relax me and showed me that the universe is vast and wonderful if you stop long enough to listen to it. It is not frightening nor depressing to me, my small nature in the big scheme of things; it is a relief. I am only in control of what I do. I can’t control the world outside of me, much as I can try, but at the end of the day I am not responsible for the actions of everyone and everything else in my vicinity. It’s a huge weight lifted. This vast world and the infinite space beyond all have their own marvels that I get to be privy to, should I choose to wonder at them. So, can this microcosm of a space in the big expanse hold a memory?

It may be far-fetched to jump from the contents of the last paragraph back to the original question, but in my brain it makes quite a bit of sense, so I’ll try to span the bridge as best I can for you, dear reader. Quieting my brain enough to be rooted in the space I’m in with no outside distractions, no cars honking, no passersby cursing, no trains humming, and getting in tune with the energy of the space leads me to question how one effects the environments they’ve spent time in, energetically. Who came before me in this space? On this stage? In this audience? In this dressing room? What great work has been performed exactly where my two feet are planted? How many wonderful memories have been created in this theatre? How much laughter? What did that sound like? How many memorable performances? How many standing ovations? Am I standing on the same ground, the exact spot, of the great performers who have inspired so many? There are so many that I admire. Have they left their energetic mark on these walls? As I experience the room, thinking these things, my imagination goes deeper and deeper, until I can almost see and hear each of these instances happening. Am I walking in the literal steps of the greats who’ve gone before me? I like to think so, and hopefully someone will come along and wonder the same about me…

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