Movement Class / Professor Tiza Garland
Character Analysis (Movement I): Tom Miller
I.) Given Circumstances
A. Environmental Facts
1. Geographic Location: Gainesville, Florida
2. Time/Date: 11:07PM / September 3, 2015
3. Economic Environment: I am always following slightly behind the bills.
College tuition is expensive, the cost of living (especially for Students) is also expensive, and if there were time to work, the available jobs are low paying, generally unskilled, and extremely competitive. There never seems to be enough money to get ahead. Mostly because I am a poor saver/planner. But I am working on it. I listen regularly to right-wing radio (mostly for laughs) and Dave Ramsey’s Money show, in which he offers sound advice for getting out of debt and moving to a cash-only lifestyle where you save, buy what you can afford, plan for retirement, invest to grow money, and make yourself into a good giver.
4. Political Environment: In the US, I observe a two-party system and it is usually the choice between worse and evil. Locally, Gainesville is politically active with many choices and activist interests, but ultimately it is a reflection of the larger two-party system even though local politics are supposed to be non-partisan. It does not really matter who gets elected because behind the scenes of a city commission that seems to act in the hopes that nobody shows up to complain or interfere, there is the entrenched city staff that manages its own agenda and has undue influence over commissioners who are typically inexperienced and who do not even read all the materials on issues they vote on. Most of the best political action occurring in this town is populist and happens outside the system. I was a candidate for the City Commission in 1995 and managed two campaigns, so I have an insider’s perspective which is why—I stay on the outside, where I’m more effective.
5. Social Environment: Gainesville is generally a town with a diverse population which, for the most part, tolerates each other’s company. It has a liberal bent, but is surrounded by a right-leaning beltway of people—the ‘blue’ in the ‘red’. Many see Gainesville as predominantly a college town; young people, partiers, a drinking culture. Older folks are either teaching, or they have hung around since college for love of the city, or they’re indigenous. These factions do overlap but only to the slightest degree. I am a night owl, I barhop, and I find myself comfortable in many establishments, from the gay bar to the neighborhood ‘Cheers’ club, to the country bar. But I am not as interested in drinking as I am observing people and interacting socially, both as a performance artist and a gadfly. I also tend to frequent the downtown coffee house, Maude’s, which I affectionately refer to as the “…known Center of the Universe.” There is always a good conversation, a colorful mix of characters from every socio-economic status, and one or two thought provoking incidents per day—mostly non-violent. It has an outdoor patio which serves as a gathering place for the locals. I am considered by patrons and management, “a regular.”
6. Religious Environment: Gainesville is all-inclusive. Generally tolerant. Occasionally, a provocative issue (abortion, gun-rights, gay marriage, transgendered bathrooms) will bring out religious protests, mostly folks just get along. There is also a group of Hare Krishnas, a good number of atheists, and a strong Jewish and Muslim presence. Ocala has Scientology. I happen to run my own church, which is actually recognized and sanctioned under the Universal Life umbrella called, ‘The Reverend Angeldust’s Tabernacle of Hedonism’. It is really a performance art show disguised as a church, but it sometimes in such a way that I am not entirely sure it’s not a church. We allow for all religions to participate in our ‘services’ and if you do not have one and wish to, ours worships Jamba, the Great Dumpster Goddess, from which all sustenance cometh. (This is all true—our church has a large presence on the Internet and a Google search will turn up dozens of returns.) I personally consider myself a spiritual agnostic and my overarching faith is science.
B. Previous Action: I have been on a fast-track to earn a degree as a student of non-traditional age since I started back at Santa-Fe. As my final year was approaching, I took the summer off and used the time to work on art projects, indie-films, musical recordings, and I sound-designed a play at the University of Florida (The Liar). At the end of summer, I realized that I had run out of loans and I missed my FAFSA deadline by one day which cut off any additional funding for the year. All I had was a small amount of grant money—just enough to cover the cost of classes for the fall semester. I decided to attend anyway, despite the fact that I would have little to no money to survive for the term. Re: Section A #3. I have faith things will work out if my intention is strong and good.
C. How do you feel now? I feel immediately overwhelmed, as if I have bit off way more than I can possibly chew. But I do not know how to learn without extending the range of what I believe is possible. I knew the movement class would be challenging, but that in doing the work, at the very least I would get into shape and at the very most, I would have a paradigm shift in my learning and performance skills. I do not see a down side. And just to make it even harder on myself, I auditioned for Oedipus, a production outside the already rigorous schedule at University of Florida, and won the part. It remains to be seen if, like Oedipus, my pride blinds me out of my stupidity or if I just end up being able to handle more than I ever thought I could because I pushed my limits ever further.
A. Choice of Words: I tend to meld with my environment. I will mirror and match someone to whom I am speaking for the purposes of achieving the most effective communication. My choice of words speaking with an academic scholar will likely differ if I am speaking with, say, a Bronx blue-collar veteran or a second-generation Hippy who finds things ‘groovy’, or a neo-feminist in which I will manage my vernacular with particular sensitivity to neo-feminist gender issues. Unless I am on stage in my ‘host’ character, in which case I will screw with everybody for the purposes of breaking taboos and challenging convention for the sake of discussion, art, and malleability of perceptions and pre-conceived notions. Normally, I go out of my way to be very polite. I also use words for which I am aware of their meaning but could not, if asked, present the definition. Example: “I find nomenclature somewhat limiting.” I know what that means, but I couldn’t say. In elementary school, I used to be made fun of because I had a broad vocabulary, so I am very sensitive and somewhat empathic as to what language I should use in what circumstance.
B. Choice of Phrases: As I believe the smallest things potentially have epochal significances, I tend to phrase myself cosmically on occasion. Examples include, “Maude’s Café is the Center of the Universe.”
“This coffee is stellar.”
“What you just said is a universal truth!”
“If you compress the life of the earth down to a year, human beings have been here for barely a minute and in that time, we’ve managed to develop the means and the will to destroy the entire planet many times over. Can we not argue about a cable bill?”
C. Choice of Images: When describing things to others, I often use relative significance to illustrate points. I think of the sun, and then I think of the two black holes that are eating each other (NASA recently discovered them) that are 150-million times the mass of our sun. As an artist, I love the use of metaphor which can immediately appear in the mind as pictures: “You are the flower of sunshine’s happy tears.” I tend to think cinematically. I deeply resonate with imagery from Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, and David Lynch films. Sunsets are romantic for me. The full moon is some kind of emotion. The sea and sky are archetypal references I often use in conversation, and musical lyrics.
D. Distinct Characteristics/Mannerisms: I have been told my voice is unique, but I have never been able to have anyone articulate what it is, and I do not know either. I just often hear, “I could hear your voice instantly…” I can get a ‘whither’ vocal quality when I am feeling disappointed. When I sing high notes, sometimes my voice will separate into two simultaneous tones, which I like. I am articulate. I have a significant command over the ability to deliver delta-rays of sarcasm without the victim noticing. I have no discernable accent of any kind.
E. Sounds of Dialogue: I have the voice of a ‘host’, maybe a TV show, but the kind that is naturalistic and not a put-on, like an FM radio DJ jock might be. I also have a strange irony: when I am being my most truthful and passionate, I sound phony like a car salesman. The softer I speak, the more my voice tends to fall apart. I have a very weak ‘low voice’. I tend to get throaty and shrill when I shout if I do not consciously think about it. If I think about it, I get Greek.
F. Structure of Lines and Speeches: I am usually succinct in my ideas. I used to watch a lot of Judge Judy, and I am not a fan of yammering small talk, so I tend to state economical pertinent facts and try to get to the gist of a matter. If I am passionate about something, or have had a glass of wine or three, I sometimes will fractal out through many through-lines at once which to me sounds sophisticated, but to others sounds like rambling. Occasionally, I will follow a few threads down several roads and wind up at, “…what was I talking about?”
III.) Character’s Inner World
A: Desires of the Character: I want peace, profound acknowledgement of the moment, to be in a state of constant wonder, to never have within me closed internal doors, a shroud of gratitude, to grow in my ability to be a story-teller, and to always be challenged or find challenge, and to be a giver.
B: Will: I meditate and allow ideas to manifest. I try to rediscover myself and the world again and again through reflection, writing, poetry, art, music, and performance. I am pursuing academic training, which I have never taken all that seriously before, as a means of enlightenment. I seek to push my boundaries, and accepting Oedipus and committing to it in light of all I already have to do becomes a gauntlet which will test and improve my skills.
C: DO NOT COMPLETE FOR MOVEMENT I
D: Decorum: In public, I am well spoken, engaging, I try to make others the star of the show by listening and acknowledging, I am a ‘blender’ and am very hyper-aware of my surroundings and others. If I am in a dirty loud place, one can expect me to be dirty and loud. Likewise, if it is clear a quiet poetry reading or presentation is going on, I will not be the guy with the cellphone that goes off, or the guy that says at the top of his voice, “WHAT’S GOING ON? THESE GUYS DOING A SHOW?”
E: Summary of Adjectives: Adventurous, Aggressive, Empowered, Fragile, Studious, Romantic, Eager, Cautious, Challenging, Funny, Crass, Bold, Engaging, Sensitive, Empathic, Goofy, Off, Unique, Eccentric, Wizened, Experienced, Awkward, Hopeful.
F: Overall Character and Mood Intensity: I am a high-energy person who likes to be lazy. Somehow I make that work. I am definitely a person who has a certain intensity about him when he is committed emotionally and intellectually to a task. Essentially I manage to do an absurd volume of projects, activities, tasks, and from an outsider’s point of view, it appears as if I am barely doing anything. And this tends to piss people off. It also confuses me, because I constantly ask myself if I am accomplishing anything even though there is ample evidence that things are being accomplished. I am the most imperfect of perfectionists.
IV.) Initial Mood Intensity Expressed As:
Irregular but healthy—occasionally stops and freaks out the body.
Bunched up in excitement and fear, like a chewed piece of gum.
C. Muscle Tension:
Shoulders and upper body are tense, ready to pounce and seize up at the same time. Legs are tight and shaking. Muscles and brain are at odds.
High in the chest, the breath is held in, not at all natural, like a bellows propped open with a stick.
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