Thursday, September 16, 2010

Suddenly I find I'm an actor again

So I'm in rehearsals for a play right now, "Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha," by Ed Falco. No, you shouldn't know it, it has only been performed once at Virginia Tech a few years ago. It is very intense, all family dynamics, I'm playing Una, the mother of a difficult 15 year old, and suddenly my emotionally damaged mother arrives for the weekend and I'm stuck between the two clashing personalities. It is very dense, lots of emotional landscapes to figure out, there are some very funny moments as well. It is exciting to be in a play where I get to set a precedent, I adore the director and am really enjoying working with the other actors.

You're waiting for the "BUT......"

My issue is really me. At one point in my life, I really wanted to be an actor, I auditioned a lot, I tried, I didn't get cast much. For the past two years, I've devoted myself to music and yoga, last year I spent in an intensive yoga teacher training program, I figured I'd get back into acting at some point, but there was no hurry. Besides, women in their 40s really don't get cast much, there aren't a lot of parts. Well, the joke is on me, because I've gotten hired more since I stopped "being an actor" and I've had some great roles. I can only laugh! I also think I'm a better actor now because I stopped caring, I'm just in the moment being as true as I possibly can.

I started going through my difficult phase in learning a role and lines the other day, I have a lot of lines. And I have to learn them. As Una, I yell at times, I have a breakdown, I am berated, I'm well-meaning. I always forget how difficult it is for me to traverse these places, I go there because I've experienced them, and even though I've moved on and healed in my life, my cells and self are reminded of those feelings. It actually makes me sick for a day. That's when I think, "What the HELL am I doing? Why am I going here? Why did I audition for this part?? What was I thinking???" Then, after a day, I unfreeze and get on with the program. I listen and speak my lines with my ipod (that's how it is as an auditory learner) on all my commutes and doing things around the house. I never go through the wringer like this doing music or puppetry.

So why do I put myself through this? Good question. I was cast and I'm a professional, but it isn't easy for me. I'm not really an actor, but I'm playing one. My goals as an actor are the same as they are for living - be as true and honest as I can be in the moment.

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