Monday, March 24, 2008

on kissing

so. i had written in the blog of my former production about kissing on stage. but i deleted it when i left that show. so. for those of you who read that post, here's a recap.

in the last show, "nighthawks (nh)," i was in at least two kiss scenes. and it became a huge drama in my head. i obsessed over it. i tried to choreograph it. man. it was hard. most of the reason why it was so hard is that ever since wonderful partner and i came together, she was the only one i kissed for over six years. that's a big deal, i think. and here, i was going to kiss another.

in addition, maybe you might know this about me, but i don't usually like being touched. especially by strangers. touch is actually really really important to me, so while i give it out to those i love, i'm pretty stingy about it to those i don't. i also have a sordid past that involved kissing way too many people--sometimes literally within seconds of each other--and it all becoming a hot mess. i had a "reputation" in college. i broke hearts, yeah. but my heart was broken many many times, too. i learned to pay attention to my physical intent. to be responsible. to care and be cared for. this led me to monogamy. with wonderful partner.

so kissing became huge. like HUGE! and i had a little private nervous breakdown that included me crushing on my kissee and then acting funny and awkward at strange times. and when we finally did kiss, it was the most awkward, awful thing. yeah. so awkward, we had to be "coached." which is even more awkward. and this kiss was supposed to be, like, HOT, so we had to really talk and process and stuff. my kissee was/is a great person, who was patient with my freakouts and respectful of my need for boundaries and my sacred monogamous relationship.

and then, as you know, it never came to fruition. so my freakouts were for naught.

or so i thought.

this new play i'm in, "why koreans don't hug (wkdh)" also has a kiss scene in it. when i found that out, i had a mini freakout, but it subsided quickly. i realized, i've done this now, so good.

today i show up at rehearsal and we're set to do the kiss scene. and i was ready. i was trying to reassure my kissee and tried to make it comfortable.

the thing is, unlike in nh, when the kiss is all sex-positive and celebratory, the wkdh kiss is super fraught. actually, without giving too much away (since i want y'all to come see it) it's just plain creepy. so that made it very difficult. the acting for this character is super hard. trying to find intention while being extremely conscious of the character's dubious nature is hard. and then throwing a kiss and a charged embrace into the mix--wow. but i persevered. and i thought i did okay. but this kissee (who is a first year undergrad, 18 yo and straight) suddenly ripped herself away from me just as i was trying to act it out. i saw fear and confusion on her face and i felt sorry for her. and then i felt gross.

which is hard. here i think i've overcome my fear of stage/screen kissing, and i get kinda rejected. i know i *play* a dirty old man in the production, but that moment made me, kt, feel like a dirty old man. even though, i wasn't.

it's so difficult. because on the one hand, actors are an insecure, vain bunch. i want to build up the other actors, let them know they are pretty or beautiful or attractive. but on the other hand, i don't want to come across as wanting more than i actually do. i really don't care about whether i kiss this person or not. but the script says i do. and i want to convey to her that, you know, she's not gross or anything. but it's so weird. it's like a dance that's un-choreographed, but everyone knows when you misstep.

sigh. i've been playing around with this idea in my head of shooting a short video called "kt learns to kiss." basically, it starts with a confession of me talking about how i freak out when it comes to stage/screen kisses, and then the rest of the video is just me kissing a bunch of people. some would see it as ulterior motive to kiss a bunch of people. yes, i was once a "mouth whore." but i'm not anymore. i really believe that i would be happy, content satisfied kissing only wonderful partner for the rest of my life. the thing is, i hate being so scared of kissing that i want to overcome this fear. and it's a skill: kissing on demand and making it convincing. that is what this video would be about. i don't know if it will ever happen.

so i post this now. i feel like my soul is raw and vulnerable. that's probably why this post reads like a high school kid's journal. i just want to curl up with wonderful partner and spoon.


la rebelde said...

hmmm...i guess it would be bad to come to rehearsal tipsy, huh?

k. terumi shorb said...

dude, that falls under "generally discouraged" though i think it happens more than is appropriate. besides, i would barely function if i were tipsy. so. not an option.

R. Brillantes said...

Have you read the book Sanford Meisner on Acting? I found this seminal work particularly helpful when I was in film school :)