The moment of physical oratory presence

2019-11-09 @Blog

Why would I be asked of my favorite movie? Who earnestly has a favorite film? I might have been able to package a response at 14 years of age. Back then I could revisit the same top-rated comedy recorded on a VHS tape daily. I could even bear the commercial interruptions also recorded. Sometimes I might not even fast forward through them. Sometimes, I would enjoy them. They would form an inseparable part of the feature film experience. And whatever VHS comedy I revisited two consecutive days, would become the favorite movie of the week.

Such was the question asked of me this recent Monday. The improvisational table topic question I was presented at a local Toastmasters club. A physical Toastmasters club. Favorite movie… But no matter. The floor space was mine. The moment was mine. I appreciated just the physical freedom in front of a physical audience.

Appreciation. To feel the weight of my legs on the floor I shared with the dozen or so other pairs of legs connected with the inquisitive sets of eyes directed at me. To feel the arms fully outstretched towards the ceiling lighting that gave my presence shape and hue. To feel the lungs fully inhale a voluminous batch of air that would give my words the due definition, and my phrases the due coherency. To bask in the suspenseful silence.

It felt enormously relieving to engage physical beings. The freedom to approach and gently poke an audience member on the cheek if the impulse so called. Or silently and lengthily pace the floor expanse among the seated figures. Or contract to a lotus position and produce that sudden air of vulnerability.

The freedom felt stark in contrast to that wretched camera lens. Those barriers inherent to virtual communication I had too well adapted. Those online deliveries of carefully arranged lighting, effective view frame angle, directed eyesight, crisp signal, and fitting gestures. My weekly ceremony, my indulgence, my zone of comfort, my passion, and my fragility.

With such rejoice, the question becomes inconsequential. The question becomes but a meta question. Who cares for my preferred cinematic feature? Slightly more concerning is the nature behind the idea. And more fitting yet is my commentary, an act of Talmudic exercise, or at least a touch of parody. How do I relate to the notion of film in the context of today’s oversaturated means of entertainment? What value lies in cinema? What does it mean to have a favorite film? What implications does such proprietorship bear?

I meditated on these points turn by turn. I voiced something or other in my best attempt at coherent speech. I tried to dissimulate the overbearing excitement in the mere presence of this space and time. The two minutes allotted to the format quickly lapsed. I had barely begun to reach the point. Thus I rambled for yet another five and forty seconds or maybe more.

Never did I mind the timing to a great extent. Never did I sense due consequence in such constraints. Yet discordantly manipulate my arms I had. Tumultuously phrased words I uttered. The head spasmodically jerked. The eyes ineffectually lingered. The palms clasped. Applause followed.

Questions, comments? Connect.