The moment of physical oratory presence

2019-11-09 @Blog

Why would I be asked of my favorite film? Who can address such an inquiry? I might have been able to package a response at fourteen years of age. Back then I could revisit the same top-rated comedy recorded on VHS, daily. I could even bear the commercial interruptions, also recorded. Sometimes I might not even fast forward through them. The commercials formed an inseparable part of the feature. And whatever VHS comedy I revisited two consecutive days would become the favorite movie of the week.

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

Appreciation. To feel the weight of my legs on the floor shared with the dozen or so other pairs of legs linked to 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 that would give definition to my words and coherency to my phrases. 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 urged. Or languidly pace the expanse among the seated figures. Or shrink 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, directed eyesight, crisp signal, fitting gestures. My weekly ceremony, my indulgence, my zone of comfort, my passion, my fragility.

The question becomes inconsequential. The question becomes a meta question. Who cares for my preferred cinematic feature? Slightly more concerning is the underlying nature. More pertinent yet is the commentary, the 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 presence within this construct. The two minutes allotted quickly elapsed. 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 ascribe consequence to such arbitrary constraints. Yet discordantly manipulate my arms I had. Tumultuously phrased words I uttered. The head spasmodically jerked. The eyes ineffectually lingered. The palms pompously clasped.

Questions, comments? Connect.