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What are you leaning on?

Having to lean on a cane showed me what I had been "leaning" on before.

I've been recovering from a back injury the last 6 months. In October, I herniated a disc in my lower spine that caused me to lose feeling and strength in my right leg and foot.

I've made great strides and am still slowly healing week by week. There's been ups and downs, breakthroughs and setbacks, promising days and dismal ones too. There still are. 

Until feeling came back to my foot, I used a cane. It was to help me balance and to be a reminder for myself (and fellow performers) to take it easy with my body. 

For those 4 months, I performed on stage with a cane. I did about 100 shows with that cane. It changed the way that I perform:

The cane meant losing one hand that always had to hold it. 
The cane meant that the audience wondered about me in a different way. 
The cane was a constant prop. 
The cane had to be a part of my every character. 

I suddenly became aware of what I had been leaning on the whole time before the cane:

Being physical at a whim. 
Lifting people and props. 
Doing lots with both arms. 
Fitting in easily and getting a warm reception from the audience. 
Becoming whoever I wanted with relative believability. 

I had to develop a different way of improvising by not leaning on these strengths or options. I've become better at being still and staying interesting without moving too much. I've become better at reacting emotionally instead of physically. I've become better at setting other actors up - especially for physical jokes. I've become better at playing Doctor House.

Having to lean on a cane showed me what I had been "leaning" on before. Now I'm a better improvisor for it.

So, what are you leaning on? 


Rowing with the cane as I whitewater raft with The Fictionals



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