How to Punch a Wall
I am going to talk about something very important.
Even the best of us find ourselves overcome with the sudden furious and immature urge to beat the crap out of something. To avoid getting hit back, we turn to inanimate objects. Pillows, stuffed animals and couch cushions are the frequent and obvious victims of these erratic bursts of outrage - not only are they void of any offensive skills, they are weak on the defense as well. Being completely soft and plush, the hitter suffers no repercussions.
There are times, however, when a person becomes consumed with a mighty rage he or she needs to release in the form of sucker punching, but finds his or herself out of range of anything cushy. What happens next might seem like an act of pure idiocy, but it is, in fact, a deep expression of frustration, excess testosterone and/or inebriation.
Why does a person hit a wall, you may ask?
Well, my dear young and smooth knuckled soul, you will only know the answer once you have experienced the act yourself.
It is possible to lead a full life without every once smashing your fist against a hard, ungiving surface, though you will be short a story to tell while sitting around a campfire, and you may feel left out at fraternity get togethers. However, one may find it beneficial to oneself in the long run to release their anger in this seemingly un-evolved way as a means of avoiding more serious situations where pent up frustration can lead to cases of domestic abuse and/or animal torture.
When punching walls, however, you always run the risk of doing serious damage to you hand. And because most people throw punches with their dominant hand, that is, the hand they write, eat and practice personal hygiene with, wall punching can actually lead to more anger, frustration and time spent in the emergency room.
What I propose is a delightful alternative.
Fake wall punching.
Or, to place it under a more general umbrella, acting.
You see, the glorious thing about wall punching in the safety of a playing space is that you get to experience all the anger and rage that lead to the aforementioned act, but when the moment comes to actually drive your fist into the fortified structure of choice, your fist will be met with easily broken cardboard, foam padding and baby powder (for effect.)
You will get to punch this wall almost every day, each time walking away physically unscathed, yet with the same emotional release of everything that you hate in the world. You may also yell expletives of your choice with far more vigor and ferocity than is generally socially acceptable. If someone objects, all you have to do is shrug and make some vague reference to the playwright and rumors of his troubled childhood.
The benefits to fake wall punching (and in fact, acting in general) are infinite - please do try it sometime!
Just keep a few important points in mind:
- Build up tension in your body - it will make the release of the punch more believable, and ultimately more satisfying.
- Commit to the punch - remember, you cannot get hurt. Hurl that sucker as hard as you can.
- The recoil - this is where you sell the fake punch as real - even though your insides may be glowing with a sense of accomplishment and fuck-yeah-ness, you have to appear as though you may have seriously injured yourself. Crying is sometimes acceptable, and depending on the character you play, you may want to apologize for the hole you have just created in the wall.
I am the one of those lucky actors who got to punch a wall many takes in a row. It felt great. I am a happier human being because of it. This is why I love being an actor.
I get to misbehave... without the consequences.
As Flaubert so wisely said, “Be regular and orderly in your life so you may be violent and original in your work.”