Obama Begins the Train Ride

It’s Sunday, our first day off. I had a few hours this morning before I had to go uptown to my first singing lesson and I was able to watch Obama make his speech in Philadelphia before leaving on the Amtrak trip, a miniature version of Lincoln’s train ride to DC. Will he ever stop moving me to tears? I couldn’t help sobbing. The whole idea that he is taking hold of this historic event and the way he is doing it: Marking its historicity, reminding us that it is important beyond him as an individual. Making us really look at what it says about this country. We’ve done something many of us thought would never happen. Many people in other countries never thought we would do this—elect a black man. And, my friends abroad tell me it is making people look at the U.S. differently. Wow! Look what they’ve done! I cry for all these facets of this historic moment.

Then I went way uptown to the home of Deb Lapidus where for an hour, I practiced singing the Kyrie with her help. It was a HUGE experience for me. A singer I’ll never be, but Deb explained about placing the voice further back, breathing from the back of the whole body, like playing an accordion. She used images that made me see the process of singing in a different way. Kate Wilson, the voice teacher who has given me lessons in warming up so that I won’t risk tensing and getting hoarse, also used wonderful imagery (click here for a video). Both Kate and Deb teach at Julliard. I am impressed.

I will record some of my next singing lesson so you can get a sense of how Deb works. I left feeling so much more confident. I also got an idea of how to act this scene. I won’t give it away by saying more. I hope Moises likes my idea.

This afternoon, Samantha Mathis (she plays my daughter) came to my apartment and we got to know each other a little. I like her so much and find her deeply moving. In another case of sex-degrees-of-separation, it turns out her father’s fourth wife was Casey Hayden, the woman Tom Hayden was married to before he and I married. We ran the lines in our first big scene together until we couldn’t see straight and both of us had little break throughs. In fact, we even forgot to eat dinner.

Gotta crash now cause I have an early call for a hair cut and color…my own this time.

See you next time.

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1 Comment
  1. It’s so wonderful hearing your humility and enthusiasm approaching the work! Some might assume an actor with your experience – and onstage even, though some tiem ago – wouldn’t feel so nervous about, well, being “good”. That said, I suppose that is the sign of a true artist.

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