Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This moment is the real thing

A few days ago on this blog, I wrote about practice forms:

These rituals -- from the big ones that take place in formal settings, to the improvised tea ceremonies with disposable cups -- are opportunities to stop and rehearse a radical kind of respect and grace.

It would be good to revisit this briefly because the word to rehearse connotes, for some people anyway, a sense of preparation, something that is often unseen by public eyes, something that is a preparation for a final performance.  One could be forgiven for thinking then that I was suggesting, above, that practice forms are about rehearsing respect and grace for some future moment. 

But this is not a good way to use the word, because there is no such thing as "preparing for the real thing."  This moment is the real thing.

I've always appreciated the Italian word for rehearsal: una prova, from the verb provare, meaning to try.  When we practice, we are doing; let's give this scene a try right now.  At basketball practice, you are playing basketball. 

Rehearsal is not just a rehearsal; rehearsal is the practice in this moment, whether there is an audience or not.  This is it. 

[Image:  Rehearsing the recent production of Our Town in Las Cruces.]

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