Acting is Believing
Preface: My story of love-lost that I kept concealed deep in my soul for over a year ... suddenly became revealed ... not by choice ... but by chance ... or was it? It was a huge unexpected relief that released deep pent up emotions.
In 1974 I decided I would attempt to finish my college education and enrolled back at the University of Arizona. During that summer prior to classes starting full time, I signed up to take a class that would be fun… a class offered by the drama department … a class in acting.
The class was based on the Russian actor and director, Konstantin Stanislavski who reached his hay-day in the mid 1920's. We studied from his book entitled, "Acting is Believing." His philosophy was great not only as an acting methodology … but it also offered me an understanding into my life … about believing in myself … in everything I do.
It turned out that the instructor for this class was the head of the drama department, Margo McElroy. She was in her mid 30's and I was in my mid 20's at the time … and she came with lots of prestigious credentials. In my eyes she was absolutely stunning in everything she did, wore, the words she spoke, her movements, her gestures. She did not wear much makeup … her long black hair was always pulled back tight in a pony tail … and to this day, I can still picture her beautiful face with high cheek bones, her soft lips and her warm smile.
There were perhaps 10 of us in this class and so we arranged our desks in a semi-circle where she taught us from … and it was there where class members would perform different exercises from Stanislavski 's book.
I was so mesmerized by Margo. She resembled and represented to me in so many ways … the girl who I had recently ended my first deep and meaningful relationship with and still very much loved.
Each day I would sit almost the entire class with my head held up in my hand as I leaned my arm on the desk top and would just innocently stare at Margo … losing all sense of time and space. My eyes would follow her every movement. I did not mean any harm, but could not help myself.
But during the second week of class, in the middle of her lecture, she pointed to me and in an irritated voice called out, "You, out in the hall … Now!" I was stunned by her words. I looked at her and asked … “Me?” She just stared angrily at me. I immediately got up and left the class. I could hear her closely behind me as we reached the hall.
She stood inches in front of me as she peered deep into my eyes for several seconds. Then she spoke in a firm voice, “I cannot take it any longer … you … just sitting there … everyday with your intense stare. I do not think I want you back in my class.”
Being that close to her, I could feel her intense energy surrounding me. My heart was now pounding … and my emotions from my recent relationship began to rush through me. I took a deep breath … and somehow remained calm as if a great reckoning was about to be settled.
I softly looked back in her eyes and calmly began to speak, “Margo, I was thinking the very same thing ... I do not know if I want to be in your class any more either. Seeing you every day is not easy for me. You remind me in many ways of the girl I still so much love who recently ended our relationship."
There was a silence after she heard my words … and I could almost feel each of us touch the other’s heart. Then I saw a warm soft smile come across her face. There were no further words said between us in what seemed an eternity. But I knew she felt what was in my heart and in that moment we had formed an understanding between us. She motioned to me to come back in the classroom. From that time on I stopped staring and sat back and enjoyed the remaining three weeks of class.
I was always grateful to her and for the next several years she became a wonderful mentor and friend to me. A few days after our mystical encounter in the hall, I wrote a song entitled, "Would You Like to Fall in Love?" based on those tender feelings I experienced in that moment in time … when we both silently spoke to each other with our hearts … “It’s OK … It’s OK.”
by Ron Kaufman Age 60
August 11, 2007 Tucson, AZ