Beyond Technique with Samantha Rund

Episode 8 : Kindness in Coordination with Cathy Madden

September 17, 2020 Samantha Rund Episode 8
Beyond Technique with Samantha Rund
Episode 8 : Kindness in Coordination with Cathy Madden
Chapters
Beyond Technique with Samantha Rund
Episode 8 : Kindness in Coordination with Cathy Madden
Sep 17, 2020 Episode 8
Samantha Rund

In this Episode Samantha Rund and Cathy Madden discuss the Alexander Technique and how it can improve our lives in countless ways... on and off the stage. 
By choosing to work with our body's natural design we can decrease tension in our experience of life's many challenges, increase our range, and assist our ability to achieve our dreams. 
We discuss topics ranging from social distancing, character development, leading man energy, zoom fatigue, Meisner, and Uta Hagen. 

Samantha Rund is a professional actor, comedian, and coach who performs on stage and screen across the country. A graduate of Northwestern University, the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program MFA, and Second City’s Improv and Directing Conservatory; she is passionate about enriching people’s lives through the performing arts. Some of her recent acting work includes 3 Busy Debras on Adult Swim, Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and various commercials including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.


Her company, Beyond Technique Coaching, focuses on using performance principles to empower people to bring more of their whole selves to their lives and work. She works with a wide range of people around the world for performance and personal development. 


www.samantharund.com

www.beyondtechniquecoaching.com



Cathy Madden is a Teaching Professor for the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program, and Director of the Integrative Alexander Technique Studio of Seattle. Her books include: Integrative Alexander Technique Practices for Performing Artists : Onstage Synergy and Teaching the Alexander Technique: Active Pathways to Integrative Practice . 

 

Madden studied the Alexander Technique with Marjorie Barstow , the first graduate of F.M. Alexander's training school, for nearly 20 years and served as her assistant in workshops in the U.S.A. and Europe. She regularly teaches for Alexander Technique training schools and Arts organizations in in Australia, Europe, and Japan, and has been a featured keynote speaker/presenter for International Congresses and meetings; She was a founding member of Alexander Technique International and is a former chair of the organization. She is also a founding member of the Integrative Alexander Technique Circle.

 

She remains active as a theater director and is  a Creative Collaborator for Lucia Neare Theatrical Wonders (http://www.lucianeare.org/).    Her most recent directorial outing was "directing by Zoom" for Amanda Cole's production celebrating Hildegard von Bingen for the Anywhere Festival in the Sunshine Coast , Australia. (This was before we needed to do much of our communication by Zoom!)


For Cathy’s complete biographical information, please see her website:

http://www.cathymadden.net/




***If you enjoyed this episode please help spread it’s message****

Like - Share - Subscribe

Give a 5 star review on Apple Podcasts

Post a comment 


Become a patron on PATREON *** 

https://www.patreon.com/beyondtechniquewithsamantharund

Thank you for your support and stay safe and healthy!

Show Notes Transcript

In this Episode Samantha Rund and Cathy Madden discuss the Alexander Technique and how it can improve our lives in countless ways... on and off the stage. 
By choosing to work with our body's natural design we can decrease tension in our experience of life's many challenges, increase our range, and assist our ability to achieve our dreams. 
We discuss topics ranging from social distancing, character development, leading man energy, zoom fatigue, Meisner, and Uta Hagen. 

Samantha Rund is a professional actor, comedian, and coach who performs on stage and screen across the country. A graduate of Northwestern University, the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program MFA, and Second City’s Improv and Directing Conservatory; she is passionate about enriching people’s lives through the performing arts. Some of her recent acting work includes 3 Busy Debras on Adult Swim, Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and various commercials including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.


Her company, Beyond Technique Coaching, focuses on using performance principles to empower people to bring more of their whole selves to their lives and work. She works with a wide range of people around the world for performance and personal development. 


www.samantharund.com

www.beyondtechniquecoaching.com



Cathy Madden is a Teaching Professor for the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program, and Director of the Integrative Alexander Technique Studio of Seattle. Her books include: Integrative Alexander Technique Practices for Performing Artists : Onstage Synergy and Teaching the Alexander Technique: Active Pathways to Integrative Practice . 

 

Madden studied the Alexander Technique with Marjorie Barstow , the first graduate of F.M. Alexander's training school, for nearly 20 years and served as her assistant in workshops in the U.S.A. and Europe. She regularly teaches for Alexander Technique training schools and Arts organizations in in Australia, Europe, and Japan, and has been a featured keynote speaker/presenter for International Congresses and meetings; She was a founding member of Alexander Technique International and is a former chair of the organization. She is also a founding member of the Integrative Alexander Technique Circle.

 

She remains active as a theater director and is  a Creative Collaborator for Lucia Neare Theatrical Wonders (http://www.lucianeare.org/).    Her most recent directorial outing was "directing by Zoom" for Amanda Cole's production celebrating Hildegard von Bingen for the Anywhere Festival in the Sunshine Coast , Australia. (This was before we needed to do much of our communication by Zoom!)


For Cathy’s complete biographical information, please see her website:

http://www.cathymadden.net/




***If you enjoyed this episode please help spread it’s message****

Like - Share - Subscribe

Give a 5 star review on Apple Podcasts

Post a comment 


Become a patron on PATREON *** 

https://www.patreon.com/beyondtechniquewithsamantharund

Thank you for your support and stay safe and healthy!

Samantha Rund :

Hi, I'm Samantha Rund, actor, comic and creator of Beyond Technique Coaching. This podcast focuses on performance and the many ways it can help enhance our lives in voice, body and mind. So we can bring more of our whole selves to our lives and work because our whole selves are our best selves. On this podcast I'll have on some incredible guests. We'll be sharing some stories of the ways that performance has helped inform and empower our lives, as well as share tips, techniques and some of our many experiences. I hope you stick around and let's have some fun.

Unknown Speaker :

Hello, and welcome back for today's episode. I'm just so thrilled to have on this next guest. She is one of my all time favorite professors. She's amazing and you're going to love her. She is a professor at the University of Washington's Professional Actor Training P rogram. She is a director as well as the director of the Integrative Alexander Technique Studio here in Seattle. And when you're learning more information about her, be sure to check out her website www.cathymadden.net as well as her book, author of Integrative Alexander Technique for performing artists and teaching the Alexander Technique. So please welcome Cathy Madden.

Cathy Madden :

Samantha, I'm just delighted to be here. And to get a chance to talk about the work that matters to us.

Unknown Speaker :

Yeah, I appreciate it. I really felt that, um, you know, getting to study with you for three years, and then also having you as a director, it really, it's definitely things that I ...you can use every day. Even off of the stage of course, um, and yeah, so I just... I'm just excited for the listeners to get to hear too. So you are, I'd say like a guru of the Alexander Technique. Okay. And like I mean, I mean, I don't...cause that's the way... that I think... because I remember like all the classmates we would sometimes people would be like, Oh, she's like Yoda, she just knows she comes in and she just knows. So I hope you've heard that before.

Cathy Madden :

I have heard the Yoda thing before.

Unknown Speaker :

And you know, I don't watch Star Wars enough to know... hopefully that that's a good thing to hear. It's a fine thing to hear and when I hear it I feel really grateful for the woman I studied with because she really insisted that we'd be able to what I would say now omniserve. That may be a word I wasn't using before but, but to receive through all my senses and be able to hear and see and experience what's what's going on with somebody. So it sometimes appears that I'm omniscient are some sort of thing but really I'm just observing

Samantha Rund :

very carefully, right? Yeah. Yeah. I do think some of the ways that we're trained as actors, it can be... I don't want to say a little unsettling when we use it in the real world. I'll use for example, when I was studying Meisner technique, I'm back at Northwestern and I had a great teacher for the Meisner, but we spent a lot of time like, looking into each other's eyes and just noticing every little thing and after, you know, practicing it for hours on end for that quarter, I would sometimes have a conversation with a non actor and stare deeply into their eyes and I would notice this look of not like panic...but just... like "what she is searching for ?" And I'd be like, oh, righ Samantha, you're not in class. Don't do that right now.

Cathy Madden :

Right. Right. I mean, that's, that's an interesting thing, because I'd say we'd want to instead of looking in the eye, we want to

Samantha Rund :

exactly

Cathy Madden :

receive the whole person. And that includes eyes of course, but I was trained in Meisner as well and had to sort of go Wait a second. I need I need a wider reception.

Samantha Rund :

Definitely. Well, I also feel like that's one of the techniques where it can go a lot of different ways for people. I've definitely heard a lot of horror stories of Meisner where people are kind of being emotionally abused and it's being used almost as a weapon when it's not taught from a kind place.

Cathy Madden :

Right and I use... I used to co teach at Freehold in in Robin Lynn Smith's class and so we were really looking at the whole person and I'm going to say the healthy response. Yes, the healthy response. I spent a lot of time in the hallway while people were prepping helping them use the Aelxander Technique to prepare their whole selves to move into the room.

Samantha Rund :

Right. Yeah, yeah. Well and and to with Alexander Technique because I have, you know, one of the reasons why I say... and I promise listeners we're going to talk about the Alexander Technique, if you're not familiar with it, so we will leave you in the dark. Um, but, you know, some of other actors that I've met who, you know, had different professors or different teachers, their approach to Alexander Technique sounded so foreign to what I've learned because it was based more on like, should you should stand like this and they would become more rigid and more constricted. So, um, I was hoping to hear about your approach for the listeners, and then you know, the differences in that.

Cathy Madden :

Sure. I've started to call my work Integrative Alexander Technique, which, in some ways to me is redundant, but it is part of what you're talking about that I always apply the work directly to what you're doing. And that in that... in that way, it has a kind of flexibilit and a kind of test in the moment of life, does it actually work? Does this... does this process... does this way of understanding how we're, we're made and function work? So I'll explain a little bit more. Although I will start, I do have a fancy definition of it now. But the fancy definition is that it's constructive conscious kindness to yourself, cooperating with your design, and serving your desires and dreams.

Samantha Rund :

Doesn't the world need more of that? Now? I'm looking I'm looking at you on the other side there if you're watching on YouTube, as your whole self. Can you say that again? Cathy? Because we need more of that.

Cathy Madden :

Constructive Conscious Kindness to Yourself. Cooperating With Your Design, Supporting Your Desires and Dreams. And it's a very fancy definition, but it does encompass really what I intend in the work. And it does is, as you know, come down to, you know, humans are designed in a particular way we're, the quality of that relationship between the head and spine and movement Determines the quality of what we can do. And the interesting thing is that when we interfere with our design, no matter where it comes from, it turns up in that relationship between head and spine. So whenever we're wanting to make a change, if we're will... if we understand how to restore that underlying coordination as we change an idea as we change a response, we can... can integrate... I'm going to say we can integrate kindness in every moment.

Samantha Rund :

Can you talk more about integrating kindness... maybe...ways in which you've seen that happen? Of course with your teaching and maybe ways that you know, or go against that... with...not with... not with your teaching. Right?

Cathy Madden :

Yeah. Right. Well, the first thing I thought of, although it's it's not all that historical but one of the things that I realized as we were walking into this pandemic moment, and I would be walking down the street and need to cross the street, or, you know, this whole thing of the six feet, the mask the whole thing. I was realizing that the things we were doing, historically are signs of disrespect, and signs of unkindness. And I mean, you could and when I do, did them I felt bad. Because,

Samantha Rund :

Like, which things in particular?

Cathy Madden :

Well like someone coming up towards you and backing up. Or, you know, I always remember this one little girl, you know, cuz little, you know, she's little they apparently can spread really well but to run up and you know, like be with me and I cross the street. You know, and... and I was already using this practice of using the Alexander Technique in order to offer kindness while I was backing away. So it was just changing the meaning of the things. And I've helped a lot of people because a lot of people don't like the masks. Well, if you understand it as an act of kindness, which is how it's described. But if you still don't like it and you tighten with it, you'll still get that little bit of resentment in your system. But if you can use this Alexander process as you put the mask on, knowing it's an act of kindness, it just changes the overall feeling. So, it turns out to be really useful. pandemic wise.

Samantha Rund :

Yes. Yes. So, so that we're not constantly feeling like a little icky about how we're relating to people. Right? And if we're not on board with our thought pattern, if we're not aligned with that thought pattern, it shows up in our...like... the fight shows up in our body.

Cathy Madden :

It does, it does and that's... that would be you know... that's in all aspects of life. So... I don't even remember a specific example of this, but I just thought of, sometimes an actor notes having trouble hearing a note from a director and they've tightened.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah.

Cathy Madden :

And teachings, teaching people to just continue to coordinate as they receive the note smooths out the relationship. Sometimes it means the note can be heard. Sometimes it means that there... a way... a another response can come because... the other...the other thing is if we aren't... if we're tightening in response to things, we lose our creativity. So this turns out to be just this magnificent gateway to cooperate with our design because we're designed to be creative, responsive beings. And if we've somehow learned to tighten in response to different things, either inadvertently or for some circumstance, this just gives us a way to make new choices. Plus, to know that any choices we've been making up until now are always perfect. They're perfect based on the information we have. When we recognize, oh, whoo, maybe I want something else. It isn't that this thing was wrong. It's the thing that led us and back to being able to say, you know, I'd like something else. So again, that's kind of the ultimate kindness as well, because, okay, this is my background, this is what brought me here. Got new information, I can cooperate with that new information, and it turns out to be a lot more enjoyable. In general, and a lot more effective. A lot more effective. Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah. And I think that relationship to new information and trusting ourselves that we can integrate it, it helps decrease the resistance in our bodies and our resistance to taking that new information. Um, yeah, I, I wish I could remember there... I don't remember... I remember...I remember you gave me a piece of information like that. That shifted my thinking in grad school about that's okay, and now you have new information, so you get to choose with your new information. And it just was like woooooah. You know, it's just it's so funny that, um, that we hold on to like, I feel like most a lot of humans I did I felt that need to be like, well, I was right then I had to be right. And maybe I wouldn't hold that towards other people it would be towards myself. But really, if it was towards myself, it was still towards other people because I couldn't, I could only relate to them to the level that I had within myself.

Cathy Madden :

Yeah, and it's, it's probably... and the reason you probably can't remember it is because it's disappeared. It's, it's disappeared, because the new choices are, are whatever they were, I don't obviously,

Samantha Rund :

remember that one either.

Cathy Madden :

I know I remember. Remember relationally things. I remember the directing the show and I remember all kinds of sort of relational things, but the specific lessons they build on each other moment to moment. And you had that question about the sort of, I'm going to call it a more formulaic version of the Alexander process. And, you know, I, I was teaching the Alexander Technique before I knew people taught in another way, which is an interesting thing to know. So my teacher was Marjorie Barstow, first graduate of FM's teacher training course. And she she was a dancer that it was her dancing that had taken her there and she was a horseback rider. And she's from Lincoln, Nebraska, so the woman is really practical. And, you know, I I first... my first lessons with her we're in an acting studio, and it was just doing the stuff we would do in acting. So I've always integrate... that's why I say calling an Integrated Alexander Technique seems redundant to me. But there are some people who learn in ways where they just do specific set forms. And it certainly is a very, it's a much more restrictive thing. And I, I would say and I have said at congress... congresses is that it's not so useful for performers because you can't be in a set form. Actors need to be able to coordinate to make really weird kind of shapes...because not every character moves well. So having up... I've always had that perspective. And I as as I said before, I think the cool thing about integrating it is you do find out right away is this on the track of what I need. The people who teach in a more formulaic way would say, you know, if you get it sort of better over here, it will cross over here. I, I have a bias. I own it at every Alexander meeting, I have a very strong bias that there's a lot of things that learning it formulaically can get you stuck. And there's varying degrees of it. So it can't be a complete blanket statement. But why not? Why not just use it? With the stuff of life with picking up a pot with picking up a child with... I don't know, picking up my cat that went by a while ago. Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

And Alexander Technique was created from Alexander. I don't remember his whole name something Alexander. Isn't that right?

Cathy Madden :

Frederick Mathias, Alexander.

Samantha Rund :

Oh, Frederick Mathias. Did you catch that Frederick Mathais Alexander? That's a mouthful. I love it.

Cathy Madden :

Yes. New tongue twister, I suppose. Yes. Yeah. And he was an actor and he was having trouble with his voice. So the whole thing actually does come out of acting. Wide application now, beyond acting... but he was having trouble with his voice. He was going to voice teachers and speech teachers and doctors and things weren't working out. And then he got offered a gig at a theater that was kind of a step up from the kind he'd been working in. And he was a solo reciter. So whether or not his voice was there was really important. And and he asked his doctor if he could take it and its doctor said, yes, if you don't talk for two weeks. So he, you know, probably to the best of his ability, ability to speak for two weeks and he started the performance in full voice and halfway through, you know, started croaking When you said croaking, I was thinking croaking. Oh dear, sorry. Yeah. That would be bad. No, no, it was it just really, you know, lost his voice before the end of the show. Yeah. And so he went back to his doctor and asked what to do. And the doctor said, well, we'll keep doing what we're doing. And Alexander was like, well, that hasn't been working. And that sort of sent him into what's in description of the seven to nine year process of figuring out that invertebrate coordination, the relationship between head and spine and movements a key factor in determining our coordination. It's true in all vertebrates, like when I teach people to ride horses, as soon as I say that they go, Ah, because if a horse is tight in that area, the horse doesn't move well, and you have to get that area free first. So, so the Alexander Technique, I mean, it's just vertebrate coordination. So that we start with learning to, you know, if I, if I reach for something and I've been pressing down a lot of pressure in my system, what I learned to do is to coord... coordinate so that I can reach for it, like I said cooperating with my design, and that can be the so that's an efficient version of it. And again, just acknowledging that not every human activity is efficient. I often give the example of dancers who could take half an hour to get across the room. Doing very fancy things, but but they could do it with coordination. So, yeah, so. So a lot of times, you know, it's just in those simple acts. Do I need to add this to the fact that I'm putting something down or picking it up again?

Samantha Rund :

Right. Yeah. And I feel like that's very effective, especially as an actor for getting to that place of Being.

Cathy Madden :

Yes!

Samantha Rund :

Beeing the character instead of showing when we just add that extra that we don't actually need, but we want to show like, I'm doing my job. Look at me acting.

Cathy Madden :

Right. Right. And I think part of the desire to show is that if you're tight, if you're tight in this relationship, you can have an idea and it doesn't make it through your system clearly.

Samantha Rund :

Right.

Cathy Madden :

So as soon as you come into coordination, those ideas that you have start to manifest in your full self right away, so you don't experience the need to push.

Samantha Rund :

Yes, yeah. I feel like this is always a great reminder. Let us know in the comments, I love getting comments. But it's.. this is a great reminder for me that when I am offstage, and when I'm sitting at the desk typing away, to remember to "Rokuza" as our class picked for our word that was our coordination word, "Rokuza"

Cathy Madden :

"Rokuza" Nice.

Samantha Rund :

Yes. And just remember that I get to sit at the computer with my whole self and type. I don't have to go into this. Was it cons- like centrated or not concentrated?

Cathy Madden :

Yeah...both...

Samantha Rund :

Because we talked about like, people hear the word concentrated and they think narrowing versus

Cathy Madden :

Yeah, they think, think centration they think of only the center, rather than there happens to be a center in a wide world.

Samantha Rund :

Right.Yeah. So it's a great reminder.

Cathy Madden :

I've been teaching a lot of classes that I call Zoomdom to teach people how to coordinate in this environment. Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

Can you talk about one or two of like, I don't know, highlights or interesting experiences, from your Zoomdom? It has such a great name.

Cathy Madden :

You know, one of those things you wait, I want to teach a class about... well, okay, I will venture into this one. When people talk about zoom fatigue...and I, I was, as we were... teaching online in the spring, and everything was moving into zoom. And, and I'll note I've, I've taught online for many years, and I directed a play by zoom last year was very bizarre. But like, it worked. Um..So...I wasn't getting tired. And everybody else was and I'm like, What am I doing? So I just started trying to figure it out. And one of the things is that I'm cooperating with the medium.

Samantha Rund :

Mm hmm.

Cathy Madden :

Because if you try to look at a computer screen, as if it's a real live person, you're and you're trying to focus on it like it's a real object...your eyes will get really tight and tired and then your whole system starts Whoo. But if you receive you simply receive because pix, you know, pixels are moving so your eyes can't grab them the way they might...and you know if we go into quantum physics that real objects are moving too... but let's leave that...but...but if you look even at the edge of your computer, it's got a more solid line than than anything that's going to be on the monitor. If I try and make the monitor, be like that, I'm going to get tight overall starting with my eyes. But if I just go well, this is what I have. And it's, you know, this wonderful visually aided phone call. Then it's a lot easier. And then the other thing and you're... I mean we're both doing it, but we're moving quite a bit. A lot of people because multiple factors being in front of a screen is often associated with being passive rather than active. So people just kind of sit in the middle and don't. And, you know, depending on your setup, we're both choosing to sort of be middle ish, although I am on a wobble still moving around quite a bit. But when... you're moving too you've got a moving chair. I do also have people get off center, which, you know, with your microphone, that's not going to work really well. But if you go off center, and everybody's off center in the meeting, it puts more movement into the environment. So it's a kind of a design feature. Yeah, so that made... it just makes this funny little difference.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah. That's so neat.

Cathy Madden :

It is. So it's I guess I'm directing. Yes. Let's get in a different relationship to each other. Right right so and the other thing and I guess it's funny that I mentioned quantum I I think we're communicating to each other through the world. So I'm not you know... I've got, as I said visually added phone call I do not think there's a Samantha in my... so I and and so I tend to move as if I'm in the room with the amount of people I have. So I don't know what my neighbors think of this person, you know, writing about in here, but so I behave as if I'm in and maybe that's from the acting to behave as if I'm in the room with the people. And sometimes, you know, yeah, I look out I look out as if I'm in a room sometimes.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah...I'm thinking... I'm, you know, I'm also thinking about even when I am on a on a call or behind a computer, the difference in my body if I'm not bringing that awareness to ask for coordination, all that if I'm just, you know, operating on, I'm tired, and I'm just doing the thing, right? Right. If I'm doing an activity that I love, like if involved on this call or like doing a coaching, or writing something creative, my body language is very different than if I'm crunching numbers and doing work that I could care less about. That there's a sort of, I think, kind of like when you were talking about with the mask earlier, there's this resistance which registers as tightness, and so, at moments like that, I have to especially remind myself to integrate, and, like, allow myself to have my natural movement and to flow..

Cathy Madden :

Yeah. And that usually, and usually that comes by finding the yes for why you're crunching the numbers so that your desire also you could also go well, just gonna coordinate while I do something I don't like but, but, but if you're choosing to do it, you probably want to do it.

Samantha Rund :

Right. Okay, I'm gonna repeat that, again, if you can't tell I'm a fan of repeating these things to make sure you catch it. And that's emblazoned right here too. But yes, that when we're doing an activity that we feel like maybe we don't want to do to remember though, why we do want to do it because we are doing it and to heighten that, yes, for for ourselves. Right?

Cathy Madden :

Right. And and heightening the Yes, will, is sort of a prerequisite for you for restoring coordination. If we're, if we're, if we're acting on the no that will cause us to tighten so there's, that's the constructive conscious kindness. Where's the where's the Yes, where is the Yes?

Samantha Rund :

I also for me, I think in those I'm thinking now scenarios where I've really felt my body tighten or it's maybe been like a job that I didn't want or something like that I felt my body tighten. And actually a good friend of mine called me out on that it was when I was new at a restaurant job years ago. And I was very tight. And my hands were like this. And I was like, you know, just like, and he gave me so much crap about it. And I was like, stop it. I'm being professional. I'm not a theatre right now. No. Like, I'd been professional, you know. And, of course, like, that naturally changed after I was there for a while I got comfortable around everybody. I was still professional, my body was loose, and it would have been great if I remember this, then because I could have changed that scenario, like immediately. Right. So I think the other the other piece of that can also be what our preconceived expectations are. Or the the, the form that isn't helpful to us.

Cathy Madden :

Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I suppose in situations that you know, you're going into that you have low...um.. that the Alexander Technique does have this underlying process. Okay, I want to go into this situation even even though I'm experiencing obstacles. And then there's a do I want to use up my coordination to do that, which is a really important piece of this, that's always you're always free to choose whatever way you want to respond. If you choose to use the Alexander Process, you start gathering information. So if you know you're going into a situation that has challenges in some way for you, I actually usually use the Uta Hagen questions when I'm teaching anybody in any field to gather information about what's going on. So the Who are you? What time is it? Where are you? Who and what surrounds you and what are the events. And then figuring out, you know, do you have anything important to you about any of those events? I do that for life and then ask the question, what do I want in this moment? The next hour the next day? How does that relate to my life? So, and then that gives me the ability to plan to go, Okay, I'm going into this situation. It's got some obstacles for me. And, but rather than be a victim to those obstacles, I created a back pocket plan. So should that obstacle appear, I'm going to ask to "Rokuza" to coordinate so that I can do X, Y and Z for the situation. So that's, that's sort of, there's the in the moment use of the Alexander Technique to reach for those pots. But there is also that Life one where Oh, okay. Every time I go to this meeting, I tighten. Yeah. What's going on? And then the next time I go to the meeting, I have a plan should it happen again. So I can again kindly take care of myself. Which which also helps me get what I want in my life.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah...Yeah...Yeah, I was just like, yep, just basking in it. It's, um, feel like one of my favorite things of acting training in grad school, especially like UW was just the amazing physical training and having this heightened awareness of what's going on in my body and being able to be aware of it and pay attention to it so that I can make more informed choices. You know...

Cathy Madden :

Yeah, it's it's interesting how often the that we the fact that we are a whole self that this has bits that move isn't always included in in every sort of change process discussion.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah.

Cathy Madden :

You have to kind of put it in. So that's what it gives us. As actors. It gives us the ability to use the instrument for artistic purpose, but it also helps us do that in life. Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

There's one other thing I wanted to... well there's a few other things I wanted to ask, um, I remember one of the things we talked about was end gaining. And that, that definitely can be detrimental when you're, you know, when we're like, trying to reach for the thing, but we're thinking about My hands already on the keyboard that's going to have the shape versus right. I'm doing a coordination. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Cathy Madden :

Sure end gaining is a term that just means going towards your end without paying attention to the process. And the sort of the counter to it as means whereby which is going towards your end, but paying attention to the process. So if I sort of, Oh, I know I could do... I was in a very small film. And a graduate of the program, asked me to be in it. It was her script, and I got my scene and it said, I read the part and it said, Mother cries through this whole monologue and that's the acting students revenge. But, I mean, it was a comedy so. So the degree of crying it wasn't, you know, it wasn't drama. Yeah. But in order to do it, you know, you you can, you know, as you know, you can't just go uh gee I'll cry. Yeah, you have to create the step by step that will get you there. And, and so I had to figure out what the step by step for this particular character was. If I just gone in go, ooooooh,it wouldn't, you know, but this this going in and go, Okay, I see my daughter and the wedding. Something about what I don't remember the actual thing but I see my daughter in the wedding dress and isn't the wedding dress I wanted her to have, or, you know, it's sort of just sort of, and then I see this and I see this and I and all of these things happen. And then the moment comes and then I'm so I've made the prep, I've done the step by step by step by step. You can watch and you can watch thisin in good athletes as well. You can't just get a good.. I gotta use baseball like because they all have, they all have different routines for batting. But, but they have they have a routine. And if they didn't have an each if you dug into it, you find out why each one of them is there but they they need the sequence. You can't just you know, you can't just go I'm going to hit the ball. You have to you have this deep training step by step by step that you do each time. And once you rehearse it, it goes pretty fast. That sounds like it would be terribly, take terribly long but you you practice each step of the way, as using Alexander Technique so that you're maximizing your coordination, and then you're headed towards the end, but often it's a more, I'm going to say it's a more imaginative, more responsive end because you, you have more information feeding it rather than you guessing, as you said, pre conceiving how it should be. So it's more imaginative. I guess that's what I would say. That's the creativity again, And you always know within that... you wouldn't have to follow that path. Which is fun.

Samantha Rund :

Right.

Cathy Madden :

You know, you, you need to always know that you're, as far as I can tell with if you're an adult..and you're, you have free choice. Unless you if you jump off a chair, you're probably going down.

Samantha Rund :

Are you gonna put on a jetpack?

Cathy Madden :

Right. Right. That's true. Now we're getting into that territory.

Samantha Rund :

The possibility if you properly plan.

Cathy Madden :

Right exactly. Does that answer?

Samantha Rund :

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, yeah. And let's see. Okay, so I am curious. Um, how did you get into the Alexander Technique? Because when you started, was it as popular as it is now? or How did you? How did you decide to get into it?

Cathy Madden :

I was in graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. And my teacher brought Marjorie Barstow to do a workshop. And it was funny because all he said to me was Sid Friedman, who's in Boston now. Thank you Sid. He just said why don't you come I think you'd like it. That is as much as I knew. And I said, Okay, and I went in. And what I remember most about that workshop was how my fellow students changed. Because I've been in acting classes with them. And I know I changed too, but I know that there was something that's the thing I was going, hmm, there's something to this. And he just he kept bringing her. And it was sort of funny. I had decided when I graduated that I was going to move to Lincoln, Nebraska to study with her. So this is pre this is pre you know, looking anything up, you know, you could look it up on the internet or whatever, there would have been other ways. But I was told she was one of the best in the world. I was in St. Louis. You could drive from St. Louis to Lincoln relatively easily. I had a bunch of my friends and a truck. It was very nice. So I moved to Lincoln to learn to teach, because so there are two things. And the funny thing about Sid, I decided to do that. And about two weeks after I decided to do that Sid said, Why don't you learn to teach this? I think you'd like it. So he was right. But my, my impulse was partially that I needed a day job as a theatre person. And I thought, you know, of all the day jobs, I'd rather teach the Alexander Technique than anything else. And it also the phrase I used at the time is actors work so hard to do what they care about. They deserve to have what they care about actually work. Because that was my experience is that prior to the Alexander Technique, I was doing everything the director and the acting teachers said, but they would they would get notes and they'd say, why don't you do this at this point, and I'm like, it's what I thought I was doing.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah.

Cathy Madden :

So that it really was that that performers deserve to have, have their work actually come through them.

Samantha Rund :

Mm hmm.

Cathy Madden :

And then, you know, it doesn't guarantee that I made all the right choices after that, but at least they saw what I was doing.

Samantha Rund :

Right.

Cathy Madden :

And then, I mean, it did other things. I've expanded my range in all kinds of ways. Prior to studying the Alexander Technique, I only got cast as nice people. And I started getting cast as villains. And I was like, really. And I conjecture it's just because I was the one who wasn't tightening to be the villain. I was just like, Alright, I'll go. I was I don't know really, if that's what happened because I just

Samantha Rund :

did you have a favorite villain you got to play or?

Cathy Madden :

Well, the first one because I played...May in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. And and I, I've never experienced anything like it. I walked onto the stage you know, the for the first time waves of hate were coming up off the audience and, and it just I was wearing these ridiculous shoes and a wig and, and it was like there was it just fired me I was like I haven't even said anything yet.

Samantha Rund :

Wait till I get started!

Cathy Madden :

She was a lot of fun

Samantha Rund :

I love playing villains.I mean, like, I guess whenever I play them, I can't think of them as a villain but it's really fun and relaxing to play characters that aren't very nice. It's like a nice breath of fresh air.

Cathy Madden :

Right right and and they're always right. So Yeah, was very fun to get that new casting range. Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

I remember, um, one thing that, like one of the things that stands out when you were saying how much you would, you would see your classmates change. When you were at that, you know, learning Alexander with them. I remember one of my classmates... this drastic change in how he walked. And I don't think I'll call him out, although it was a good thing. But he, his walk normally showed what he was doing. I feel like he was a very smart person. And he he got things done. And his walk showed that he did that because there was an extra heaviness on each step. And, okay, I think you remember this too.

Cathy Madden :

I do.

Samantha Rund :

And then when he had his coordination. He had his coordination and let go of all that extra and it was like he was gliding across the space and all of a sudden, he just turned into the sexy leading man character. And I remember the whole class was like, Whoa, And he seemed to like get embarrassed, but also, like more confident from it. And it was just so amazing to see so quickly how something like that could change his physicality because, you know, um, yeah, like if he was getting that note, the way that I, I would say a typical director would in my experience of just, you know, well be confident, well walk like this or do this more like, external. I don't know if, when that would have happened, you know,

Cathy Madden :

Right, because there was a, there was some perfect reason in his underlying coordination that he walked that way. So when he changed his idea about that and was able to coordinate his spine with a new idea, I... it was a a spectacular shift. I think he'd been working it up to it for a while. But sometimes people do shift that quickly. It's really .... to have people in one lesson go? Oh, yeah.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah. I had a really fun session with a student the other day who, um, we were getting into a moment where she was supposed to be crying because she was devastated. And I noticed that she could access anger a lot easier than devastation, which I think generally is how it is for most people, when you're especially when you're starting out at acting. It's kind of easier to get that layer than the other. But just it was it was cool, like reading her body and seeing her body to see that resistance and then saying, Well, what if you don't have to be devastated? Let's just see what happens if you're angry, but you get so angry, like, let's try it that way. And you know, I gave her a little piece of resistance to push against so she could get that struggle in her body. And it was so cool cuz when she did it again, and then her voice broke, you know how it would. It's like It's, it's, um, yeah, like it's it's a gift. What I got to learn, of course from you and my amazing teachers of just for me as an actor, but it's so helpful working with people because I don't have to be attached to, well, this is the way that you learn it. And this is the technique and if you do it this way, then it's right. It's like, it really doesn't matter what I say it matters if it's affecting you. I mean, not to say that but okay. Yeah. Right. And so I'm like, yeah, there's all sorts of ways in and, and it's, it's great to be able to see what somebody's... like, see if my words are effective by how it's translating in their body. Yes, like, great. Well, let's get off of this note. Let me try something else, you know,

Cathy Madden :

Exactly.

Samantha Rund :

It was so awesome.

Cathy Madden :

Herrah! Yeah, yeah. That's, that is. It is such a gift to know this stuff. I have known it long enough, I can't quite remember not knowing it. But sometime I know people, people all find their way. How do we find our way to the best way to approach something? Right? This just gives us this quick little tool. Yeah, that makes all of those choices just a little bit clearer. Yeah. Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah. And like for, for actors, too, and I feel like ya know, it's been said most of the actors work is looking for work. You know, you're mostly just looking for work. And occasionally you land the job. And, but even when you're at the audition, or when you're with the director, I find so much of my work is translating what they're saying, because we don't always speak the same language, even though we're speaking the same language. So it's just like as if, like, as if I were my student in that example, but If my director wasn't able to translate for me, because most directors aren't actors, yes, you know, and so. So they might be saying the same thing, the same note, but it's like, Okay, well, if they're saying it again, clearly something is missing. What is it that my body needs to do then?

Cathy Madden :

Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

Just wrapping it back around to what you were saying. of, you know, at least they could see your work then.

Cathy Madden :

Right.

Samantha Rund :

At least they could see you're shifting. You're doing something.

Cathy Madden :

Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

Cool.

Cathy Madden :

It is. And, and you can, I mean, I suppose I'll just throw this you don't have to leave what you're doing to use it. I think that's one of the gold pieces of gold of the technique is that you don't have to set aside a time in the day to do some do.. do a set of exercises. Once you know this. You just use it. As you flow from thing to thing to thing.

Samantha Rund :

Right.

Cathy Madden :

Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

Very cool.

Cathy Madden :

Yeah.

Samantha Rund :

Try it while you're having a glass of wine later today or taking your dog for a walk or...

Cathy Madden :

Yep

Samantha Rund :

You know practical applications. Um well, I shouldn't take too much more of your time because we're almost at the hour now. But um, I just want to make sure was there was there anything else that that you wanted to share about how performance has improved your life or the Alexander Technique? Because I see there's obviously a huge range.

Cathy Madden :

There is a huge range.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah.

Cathy Madden :

I...I think that

Samantha Rund :

all of them

Cathy Madden :

have led me to hmmm... constructive conscious kindness to myself in a way that also deepens my ability to be constructive, consciously kind in the world.

Samantha Rund :

I feel that for myself as well, that um, what I've learned in my acting process has made me a better human, and has helped me to relate to people even better and myself and with less judgment, you know, but where I should say, and that's also a choice that I make. It's not something that you know, I mean, every actor and we're all trying to be enlightened.

Cathy Madden :

It's a choice.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah, and I want to ask you, again, when you say kind, what do you think of when you use the word kind?

Cathy Madden :

What i... hmmm... what i think Is it would include what you were talking, you know, what we often talk about as non judgement. It includes ...hmm... I suppose I'm going to just it sounds a little corny but it's love. It's really love to yourself and love to the world. But that thing needs to start with you so that you're able to carry it into the world. And so relationally it, it means... what an interesting question such as I'm thinking of things like deep listening, listening to someone always as if it's the first time and that's going to be whole self listening.

Samantha Rund :

So it carries you in that way with with curiosity and, and, again, care kindness but care for, or honor for the spirit of each individual.

Cathy Madden :

And yeah, kind of wonder in that that but always, always new.

Samantha Rund :

Yeah...and as you know, as we're talking about this even more, I'm also thinking of the ways in which, if we're not careful as humans, we can do centration on our life. And that kindness is that you know, bringing all ....

Cathy Madden :

Brings it all.

Samantha Rund :

Brings in all in. Yeah.

Cathy Madden :

Yeah. And Daniel Seigul talks about kindness being the natural outcome of a full self integration. So perhaps it's... so there's a relationship to the Alexander Technique in his definition. But it is important that it includes the world which would lead us if I use the word bio psychosocial to describe wholeness now that leads us in a whole other direction. Because we, we are a self in a world.

Samantha Rund :

Yes.

Cathy Madden :

Which is perhaps more more apparent to all of us at the current moment.

Samantha Rund :

I had an I had an interesting moment earlier before the podcast, Um with social media. . And it was... and am I...yes, I am talking about this right now... but it was with somebody who I do not share the same views with, but who I know cares about my well being, you know, and so it was an interesting thing of, you know, I'm realizing what I did now is I did remind myself to align with what I believe and all of the information instead of just reacting. And I'm not usually one to, like fly off the handle in anger anyway, except for when I play those characters. But, but, um, it was it was actually really neat to see what can happen when, you know, we react from that space of taking in all the information and remembering to still honor the person, which you know, can be successful to varying degrees. But in this case, we were able to have like a nice conversation and neither one of us changed our mind, but it did feel like there was a certain uh another little bit of openness that was there. Because it was, it was, as if we were acknowledging, like, you know what, I'm going to see you and you're going to see me. And we're just going to say, your life matters. And it'd be great if you agreed with me on more things, but you don't. So go in peace.

Cathy Madden :

Right. Well right..

Samantha Rund :

Yeah. So, um, yeah, I hope everyone can take lessons from Cathy so I'm so happy that she's here. You could use it for everything in your life I truly believe in it can improve it. And so be sure to look up more information at www.cathymadden.net. She's teaching all over the world, right as well with zoom. And then of course, be sure to check out her book. And of course, if you're looking for a coach to also help you with performance, skills so that you can, you know, in... for auditions for personal development, public speaking... relationships, any anything really because that voice body mind connection it's it's useful. So I'm always yeah it's useful and it can bring you more joy and more ease in whatever you're going through so I'm always happy to help. Feel free to reach me at [email protected] Thank you so much. Thank you, Cathy.

Cathy Madden :

Thank you Samantha.

Samantha Rund :

Stay safe and stay healthy.