How to Procrastinate

March 8, 2011

Day after tomorrow, I’ll be performing a short extract of ‘The Venus Papers’ in London, over at the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane. REALLY, I should be rehearsing, but lately I seem to be going through an odd patch with doing so.

Once I get going, I usually enjoy it. I get to hear all the poems I’ve written again, discover new things about them, and find new ways to perform them. For instance, recently I’ve been thinking about how to adapt the on stage costume changes, to a bar situation. I’ve been working on specific sequences of alteration and going over each one whilst focusing on different sentences. If that doesn’t sound too poncy.

The problem is though, if I know a set of poems really well, it doesn’t always feel as necessary as it would have if, er, I didn’t.

I worry about knocking the energy out of the pieces – becoming so familiar with the words that they won’t sound fresh and spontaneous when I perform them in front of an audience. I worry about becoming used to speaking and moving in a set way, rather than coming to them fresh each time. If the Stanislavski ideal is to ‘be in the moment’ – and communicate each word, as if for the first time, couldn’t too much rehearsing be a bad thing?

With this in mind I have, since coming home today, done the following 3 things:

1. Complained about the sauna not working in my gym. And the running machine. And the cross trainer..
2. Rung my bank (after opening ANOTHER letter offering me ANOTHER free loan) and requested that they REMOVE me from their mailing list.
3. Written several emails. Drunk several cups of tea. Had some Nutella on toast. Written half a blog post…

It does of course occur to me that all of this rationalisation around the perils of over rehearsing…complaining to the man, drinking of tea and writing online… might just signal a new high in my talent for procrastination…

For example, in addition to my earnest School of Stanislavski Methodology, other reasons for not rehearsing include:

I have toothache
I’m a bit cold
I’m a bit thirsty
Someone wants to talk to me online

Hm. Stil though. It’s all worth bearing in mind. And I DO think there is such a thing as over rehearsing.

Probably, when it comes to preparing for a performance, the ideal is some kind of happy medium between not rehearsing much, and rehearsing loads and loads.

Probably, it’s very important to spend a portion of your time on the phone, complaining to your bank. And tea and Nutella are good for most things.

And there is one good thing about procrastinating. After you’ve done it for a good length of time, a change is as good as a rest. And that’s when you know it’s time to do the thing you’ve been procrastinating over. And then, doing that thing feels like the perfect, perfect thing to do. And all that procrastination feels well and truly worth it. Almost moral.

So, where’s that Venus dress. I’ll just stick the kettle on while I look for it..

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