commitment · discovery · fear · performance · theater

Give me some wool, and I’ll spin you a yarn.

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I have another audition tomorrow, this one for the role of a
mother in her early 40s. And I’ve been thinking about who I can believably “play,” what my
“place of life” would be as a woman in her early 30s? I feel too young to be
the queen, to be the mother of adult children, but I feel too old to be the
ingénue or the lover. But I suppose I fall more easily castable into the latter
category. Lover, Romantic, Unwed.
So many actors have sordid pasts and upbringings, making it
easy and understandable to want to lay on the skin of someone else, the idea
that it’s easier (safer?) to be someone else than it is to be yourself. However, I think
I’m realizing that to take on the skin of someone else means that I have to
find that person within me, those feelings, and then face them, understand and
inhabit them. And not all of those feeling are easy for me to have. Not all of
those parts are natural for me to play.
And I think that’s why I love it and am challenged by this
so much. (With all my scant experience!) I will have to find the romantic within me, the tyrant within
me, the tortured within me. I’m going to have to let my internal flashlight
illuminate corners I’d rather mark off-limits. Some of those corners I avoid
because I’m afraid I’ll enjoy them too much—Who doesn’t want to dissolve into
rage instead of pulling yourself up to decency? Who doesn’t want to allow the
gnawing chatter to become a cacophony and play itself into Ophelia’s mad death?
How easy it is to go mad; how very hard to stay sane.
And, surely, some of the corners of experience I may be
asked to play, I don’t want to go into because I’ve spent so many years
avoiding what they demand of me. To fully feel passion, desire, or even (don’t
say it!) love?
It’s amusing to me that once I changed up my blog settings
to list the subject tags in order of frequency, “love” became the first one. I
think it makes sense if you put before it the words: “avoidance of,”
“challenges with,” “attempts at,” “softening to,” “fear of.” But, just “love?”
Hm. Yes, it makes me smile.
I also know that acting isn’t therapy, and can’t be primarily intended to process my own demons or fears through its use, but I can’t help
but imagine there will be some side-effects like that. I imagine that I’ll get
to see where my flashlight is happy to go, and where it isn’t. Where I’m
naturally at ease, and where I’ll have to cull my acting chops.
But, isn’t that the thrill of anything new? Isn’t that the
thrill of being alive? Being challenged to feel, do, and be that which you
weren’t able to before, simply by the act of showing up with intention?
I have no idea how long or wide this acting path will be for
me. But the caves it is already calling me to explore are worth the
price of admission. 

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