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Michael M's Experience 2580

Experience description:   

This was the fourth out of six performances of the role of Hamlet, after an 8 week rehearsal period. I considered the first three performances (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) to be quite disappointing and was artistically frustrated.

   On Monday I lashed out at the director, a close personal friend, blaming her for my poor performances. By Wednesday, filled with shame, I apologized to her, saying her love was so much more important to me than the success of the show, that I didn't care about it enough to let it destroy our friendship.

   We hugged and, following our acting instincts, spent that day, Thursday, and Friday re-reading the script in hopes of finding  some missing key to that Friday evening's performance. The only real key I found was the sense of warmth and security I had in re-affirming our love.

   An hour before the Friday curtain, I decided that, as Hamlet, I would simply try to love each of the characters on stage, as simply and truthfully as I could. And THIS turned out to be THE KEY!

   Hamlet's first lines, responding to his Mother's question about his melancholy, had always been delivered in a petulant manner. But this time, trying to show love for his Mother, the response was filled with sympathy; after all, Hamlet had lost a Father but his Mother had lost a Husband.

   And then, Hamlet's Uncle addresses him. I, as Hamlet, was thrown into a great Dramatic Conflict; how could I show love for the man who MURDERED my Father? In retrospect, I surmised that the character of Hamlet I was performing became so caught up in this dilemma that the character completely inhabited my brain and body. The consciousness of Michael was no longer needed, and I floated up, out of my body and above the stage.

   I remember feeling like a marionette puppeteer, looking down at the tops of the heads of the actors on stage. I could suggest to Hamlet to make a gesture here or there for emphasis, but he was in control of my body. As I remember it now, I could float back into my body and back out again at will.

   My most concrete memory is of Hamlet's scene with Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, in which he delivers the "What a piece of work is a man" speech. We had it blocked out that I walk downstage center and say the speech to the audience, while R&G remain upstage with my back to them. The speech begins with the line, "Look you sir at this great overhanging firmament". This night, I could plainly see from above the stage, that Rosenkrantz was mocking me behind my back, mimicking my gestures. So Hamlet said, "Look you, sirs" and then I had Hamlet turn quickly around, catching Rosenkrantz in his mocking. I repeated the line directly to them; "LOOK you, sirs". I then turned back to the audience to finish the speech. The two actors were visibly amazed I had caught them and remarked about it to me after the show.

   I can't recall exactly how long this OBE lasted, or how I eventually rejoined my physical body again. I do recall a great euphoria over the incident. I had read Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and knew this was similar, though not in any way end of life trauma.

   Several Acting writers have mentioned the problems of watching yourself acting on stage saying it's only beneficial under certain circumstances. I'm curious if they are referring to OBE occurrences? I have never had the experience, on or off stage, again.

Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?     No      

Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? No      

At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?          No      

What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience?           Extremely high level of both

Was the experience dream like in any way?   No. it seemed very real and logical at the time.

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?     Yes     I had no physical perception of my consciousness. I recall it as an energy.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            Joy, euphoria, empathy

Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises?           no.

LOCATION DESCRIPTION:  Did you recognize any familiar locations or any locations from familiar religious teachings or encounter any locations inhabited by incredible or amazing creatures?    No           

Did you see a light?           No      

Did you meet or see any other beings?           No      

Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state? No      

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          No      

Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different?          No      

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?          No      

Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?    No      

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?             No      

Did you become aware of future events?       No      

Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body?       Uncertain      As described, I am uncertain as to when, how or why I returned. But I have never regarded this as "Mystical"; I was not told to return.

Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience?         No      

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?   Uncertain      I don't attach any religious significance to this episode. For me, it was a natural occurrence of which I have no explanation.

How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices?       I pursued an MFA in Theatre and always looked to have the experience again, but never did.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         No      

Have you shared this experience with others?         Yes     Either disbelief or incomprehension

What emotions did you experience following your experience?  Wonder , euphoria, elation

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      the sense of freedom was the best part. the inability to recreate the phenomena the worst.

Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience?        I'd sure like to know what it was, how and why it occurred, and have others experienced the same.

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No      

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               Yes