Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Seeing and Hearing on Other Realms: A Theory (edited 6/11/08)

I am currently writing a piece about my experiences studying in Paris at Le Mimmodrame de Marcel Marceau and what happened to me while I was there.

There was an exercise in dramatic arts class to visualize a rose. I asked the instructor if that wouldn't be like having a hallucination, because it sounded impossible to me. He very nonchalantly said, "Yes. Exactly." I had been so shocked by his response, but you didn't question too much at Marceau's school. The school's motto was similar to Nike's ..."Just do it!"

That week-end, I had gotten a library book out from The American Center in Paris on Transcendental Meditation and experienced an altered state in my "chambre de bonne" (maid's chambers) in my little room in Pont de Neuilly. I saw things, felt things and heard things that I never had before. I was isolating myself on week-ends and honing my acting/mime skills through all the exercises I was learning. I was determined to find a way to create - to become a serious actress.

I went into a trance-like state and it felt like some negative entities were taking over my body. I heard an actress who was alive then ... Colleen Dewhurst say, "Beware the cat-o-nine-tails" I had no idea what this meant and I was frightened by the whole experience. The book had said you could tell spirits to leave and that they would because it was your body. I guess I was playing with fire. Later ... much later I found out that Colleen's words meant to be careful about "whips" being too harsh on oneself or by others.

Marceau's school was too strict. It did not give us enough for the imagination and exhausted us with all the physical training with nothing left for our spiritual selves. I suppose this can be interpreted many ways. I was impressionable and overworked.

However, I still do believe my meditative state was a kind of channeling. I know people who didn't try to invite such an experience, but experienced hallucinations visually and auditorially and this wreaked havoc in their lives, causing them to be labeled as "mentally ill".

Well...perhaps human beings tap into areas of our brain and don't have a roadmap. The sixties were a time when people used drugs to travel to different realms of the mind. Meditation alters our mental state in a positive way...reducing stress.

So...perhaps we will find out with new technology that what is called an "illness" is an opening of mind centers that cause us to hear and see what is conventionally nonexistent, yet...perhaps exists on another realm. Sound crazy? Maybe not. What did people think in 1492 when Columbus was trying to prove the world was not flat?

Enjoy the videos of Woodstock. They are amazing!!! A travel back to a time when the youth was idealistic and open...I was too young or I would have been there for sure.

Here are the lyrics to Jefferson Airplane's song... "WHITE RABBIT"
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Recall Alice

When she was just small
When men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said;"FEED YOUR HEAD


Ian Thal said...

One thing that attracted me to the study of mime is how the physical training is inseperable from an exploration of the mind.

What's really interesting as a mime is to examine a map of the brain and see all the varied regions and all the different roles they play and realize what is going on inside our own brain when create an illusion.

We really do will ourselves into "hallucinations": kinaesthetic hallucinations.

nancy said...


Interesting what drew you to mime. For me, it was the physical comedy of acting. Thanks for your comment.

I would like to know more about your thoughts about what goes on in the brain when creating a "kinaesthetic hallucination".

Did someone suggest this blog to you or did you find it? Just curious about the connection.
When I have more time I will explore yours...nice site.

Wanderer62 said...

Wow, that's a cool connection that Ian found your site.

Personally, I still think that there's a lot more going on in this world and outside it than most people are aware of. We assume we are the only intelligent species in the universe which is a pretty self centered idea. Hallucinations are like a doorway to another world or a link to another species' world. What makes hallucinations so strange is that it's like tapping into a differently wired brain. Is my perspective a result of my being mentally ill or is it just another perspective on the mysteries of life and living? The bottom line is our knowledge is limited--we can claim to know the Truth, but it's really only partial knowledge. Then again, being practical and down to earth is an important part of staying sane. As you said living on a different level can cause havoc in one's life. Your hallucinatory experience was fortunately a passing thing.

I'm not sure, do I make sense?


nancy said...


I think you are right. What we call truth is based on our experiences and knowledge and when something shakes that up...perhaps we needed to be shaken. If we become too complacent, we will not be aware. I wonder when and if I will live to see us encounter other beings from another planet. Why not? It is possible. Fear of the unknown is simply that. And what you say makes lots of sense to me. Nancy

Ian Thal said...


I found your site thanks to messing around with google-- I happen to have it set to notify me about new sites that mention Marceau but rarely is what I find as stimulating as your blog entry-- it resonates with some of the discoveries I made as I was trying to make my teachers' teachings my own-- one of those discoveries was that the mime's entire nervous system functions in a radically different manner.

I didn't mean to say that my attraction to mime was not based in an interest in theatre-- rather that there was a reason I chose mime and not a more naturalistic, less stylized form of theatre. (Obviously, I have a great love for physical comedy-- but what other art form can inform me as a physical comedian and also help me ponder long standing philosophical questions?)

Anyway, on the side: I did write a blog entry about my one time I did meet your gracious teacher.

nancy said...


First of all, I am thrilled that you found my blog. It is so interesting to hear what you have to say. I learned that the same muscles are used when you mime than if you, for instance, mimed picking up a 100 pound barbell! True stuff. The nervous system and brain connections is something I am very interested in researching. Glad you too are philosophical.

I went to your site. Very interesting. Nice video clips too. I think we have lots to share. Would you be okay for me to link to your site?

I do have many people interested in the Sculpture piece "Elation" I am creating ...a multi-discipline piece - about seeking "joy" and learning how to avoid a "hole of depression". I don't know if you read about it.

Anyway...let me know if you are okay about linking to you.

Thanks for all your comments! I do think there is so much going on cerebrally for mimes. Interesting that you met Marceau.

If you haven't seen it yet...Les Enfants du Paradis is a fantastic film. It seems Marceau has a small part. Barrault, a star in it helped Marceau with his career in a mime troupe. Jean-Louis Barrault plays a pierrot in the film. It's beautiful...romantic. Look for it on youtube if you want. They have some wonderful clips like a pickpocket scene.


Ian Thal said...

Les Enfants du Paradis is one of my favorite films. Etienne Decroux is in it as well. Marceau is not in the film, but he did star in a stage version that Barrault directed a few years later.

I'm definitely pleased to exchange links to with you and looking forward to explore your site further.

nancy said...


I didn't think Marceau was in the film. Must have gotten incorrect info. Anyway, Maximillian Decroux, Etienne's son was an instructor at Marceau's school. Les Enfants du Paradis is also one of my favorite films. Please tell me your blog address so I can link to yours. Also, had a problem to access what you wrote. Will try again. Thanks!

Ian Thal said...

My blog's URL is http://ianthal.blogspot.com.

I'm surprised that you are having trouble with it.


Chris B. said...

Hi Nancy,

Loved your blog entry and the lyrics to "White Rabbit," a song I played on my radio show in the 1980s.

The goal is to feed your head with joy and hope and love.