Call me cliche, but I found myself strangely drawn to one of those "actor" things the other day. I started walking behind people and mimicking their walks. Or at least noting them, if, like many, they were truly too bizarre to mimic in public without causing a scene. I had been having trouble understanding how to behave as a clean cut business man. Which, as one can imagine, is slightly different from behaving like a so-bubbly-it-must-be-a-put-on actor. So i considered the advice of a nameless actor from some smokey recess of my brain. Start with the walk.
How the fuck does a business man walk?
A VERY busy and important business man strode past me. This started the day of watching walks. I followed him for two blocks until he went in a different direction. I was still walking toward the park. I also followed, among many others, a homeless man. Well, I watched him, I didn't follow. He was pushing a cart, the kind that are filled with so many bags of clothes and cans and what not that they take on a bulbous shape about twice the size of the actual cart, but everything seems to fit nice and snug, each with its proper place. He was pushing it uphill, slightly, at least however much uphill it is while you walk toward the park. I got past him, crossed the street and stopped dead in my path.
Why not watch him, hes a person just like everyone else.
I spent two blocks with him, though always a half a block apart.
It was easier for his cart to fit on the street so he stopped traffic often. I don't think he cared, I didn't. He sorts our garbage for us people! Let him walk wherever the fuck he wants! Al Gore would!
I left him and finally closed in on the park. I sat at one of the first benches off sixth ave and just took out my notebook and watched people. I was struck by how many more people are prone to look you in the eyes when they feel comfortable knowing that, behind the dark sunglasses, you may not be looking at or noticing them looking at you. After about five minutes the homeless man, i would say my homeless man but it doesn't feel correct, caught up with me. I watched him walk by, I don't know if he looked at me.
I wrote these notes on people's walks in the park. I was paying lots of attention to how they swing their arms... I have always felt uncomfortable with my arms.
The business man swings his arms robotic-ly, in direct and deliberate opposition to his legs.
The hands of the down trodden sway lifelessly at their side. Whats the point in doing anything else?
I remember being "taught" how to walk in kindergarten. As if walking could be graded. We walked with deliberate opposition.
The teenagers use their hands to feed themselves. They are always hungry.
The average joe has an average walk, hands swinging nicely back and forth in harmony with the feet. It is mesmerizing.
The african american swung his arms averagely, but with his head held high.
The thinking man isn't aware of hands buried in pockets, close to his body, unneeded and uninteresting.
The homeless man still pushes with both legs, but he knows which one has more 'umph' in it.
I sit on a bench.
The kid across the park is perched up on a rock. He watches. Kids love to just watch too.
I love to write about it.
Then there is the man with one hand tucked away and one out swinging. Hard to get one past this guy. He always knows whats what.
In the park it is tuesday, and there are no business men.
Well, I suppose this must have been on tuesday then! I particularly loved the one hand in his pocket guy. He had a swagger that reminded me of the older poker players back in Vegas. They only NEED one hand. not because they are strong, but because they can either think their way or fight their through anything, but since the odds are fifty/fifty, one hand stays out just in case. Poker is always being ready.
The business men i wrote about were on the street and once i had been in the park for twenty minutes or so, i noticed there were none! I mean obviously, its a work day, but i felt it was still an interesting thing to notice. I find the more i notice, the easier acting becomes, go figure. The deliberate opposition of the arms helped me a great deal with rehearsals. I know, it sounds a little intense and cerebral for the ensemble in a regional gig, but why the fuck not? All of my decisions are based on that walk. That deliberate walk. A walk that says, i am trying so hard to walk the right way, just like everyone else. Even when rushed, they never break form, they just work harder at it. They blend in. Cause if you don't want to get fired, it helps not to get noticed at all... at least, it felt like a good place for my character to go. He has a desire to be the best at being like everyone else.
But over the top, of course... its a comedy people!