9.22.2007

hard habit to break

Ego is a funny thing, isn't it? It comes on unbidden, to the best and worst of us. It has many flavors. Sometimes it's called self-esteem, and it reminds us that we actually are pretty great. Go a little further down that road and you run into self-importance, which makes others want to punch you. Keep going until dawn and you enter megalomania ... a hateful land where nobody will come visit. Backtrack and head the other direction and pretty soon you'll find pride, which is a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there. And make sure you don't take a wrong turn into self-righeousness! Winding through the entire land is the river of insecurity.

I loved mixed metaphors.

Oh shit, I forgot I had a point. Don't go yet!

I have a very small part in this play. So small that even though I play 3 parts, it's still small. I'm just about 37 years old (years young, rather - YEAH!). I've been around this town for almost 15 years, and I've worked as an actor the entire time. I'm a good actor (pardon my self-esteem), and yet I play leads & supporting roles on the fringe for no money and (if I keep up this rate) bit parts in the big houses once every 10 years. Not exactly the vision of my life I held 10 or 15 years ago. What happened to my bright acting career? Haven't I paid my dues? What about fame and fortune? Actually, screw those witches Fame and Fortune -- what happened to eking out a living by acting?

Here's the thing though ... I don't actually feel these things. Not really. It's only a residual memory my ego has retained - a Pavlovian response. It's not real; it's not accurate. It might have been 5 or 10 years ago, but my life and loves and desires are so different now. I'm content, I'm happy, I'm centered. I love my day job, I love having health insurance, I love having money to buy things and living in a nice place. I love traveling whenever I want to. I adore the freedom of not being a professional actor.

I am thoroughly THRILLED to have some bit parts in this show and to work with amazing people and to get paid for it. It's a blast, and I freakin' love my 15 castmates, 12 lines, 5 costumes and 4 wigs. I don't expect it to be my big break like I did the last time I was in this position. I am delighted simply to have this experience in this moment in time, and that's absolutely true. But I have to remind myself of this. When you want something for so long - or think you do - it becomes a habit.

Not to say that I wouldn't also adore being a professional actor.

Human beings are complicated.

9.21.2007

gymming it

The facts, in cold hard numbers. Numbers do not lie, my friends.

11 = days I've belonged to a mainstream membership gym.
8 = days I've worked out at the gym since joining.
3 = days I didn't feel like working out, but did anyway.
1 = days I didn't feel like working out, and went home instead.

Not freakin' bad, if I do say so myself. Oh, and I do -- as often as possible.

I miss Cody terribly, of course. It's a lot easier when there's someone there pushing you and expecting things from you. But I'm proud thus far that I've stuck with it all on my own.

older. wiser?

The facts, in cold hard numbers. Numbers do not lie, my friends.

11 = days I've belonged to a mainstream membership gym.
8 = days I've worked out at the gym since joining.
3 = days I didn't feel like working out, but did anyway.
1 = days I really didn't feel like working out, and went home instead.

Not freakin' bad, if I do say so myself. Oh, and I do -- as often as possible.

I miss working out with Cody terribly, of course. It's a lot easier when there's someone there pushing me and expecting things from me. He's there in spirit, though. Some days what gets me into the gym is the fact that I don't want to have to tell him that I slacked off. Also, what would all that money and hard work have been for if I'm just going to dump it?

I make deals with myself: "I don't want to go work out." "I know, but you'll feel better." "Not today, I won't. I really think I should take the day off." "Alright; that's cool. Just go and do 15-20 minutes on the elliptical. C'mon - it's right around the corner! Then go home." "Seriously, lay off. I'm not in the mood today." "Alright. It's your money." "OKAY! GEEZ! I'll go! But just 15 minutes on the elliptical." Then of course - 15 minutes on the elliptical, and I feel great and want to keep going.

There is a pride thing at gyms, too. This gym is pretty mellow - friendly, diverse, no attitude that I've noticed. Pretty much it's not crowded and people leave each other alone. But still --- once I'm there and on the floor, my vanity won't quite let me retreat to the locker room after such a short time. What might people think? Of course, they wouldn't think anything - who am I that they'd give a shit? But it just seems lame to go to a gym and then not do a full, adequate work out. I can't stand to think I'm being lame.

Damn that Cody! Now that I know better, there's no going back.

9.15.2007

hear me roar

FACT: There are more female actors than male. FACT: There aren't as many parts written for women as men. FACT: The pecentage of "quality" roles narrows down the field even farther in comparison.

Every actress in every city in every format in every genre knows this line up & down. Most of the time, we (actresses) know each other through auditions - and, of course, almost always reading for the same roles. Can you imagine the company meeting the first day? There was about 100 people in the room, introducing themselves and what they do. "Peggy Gannon, actress." 16 of us out of 100, "So-and-so, actress." Not an "actor" to be found. I cannot tell you how thrilling it was ... you don't know you've been missing it until you get it. And in spades, baby! Sixteen beautiful, talented women, most of whom I've watched and admired for countless years.

I've been very lucky in this regard - I've been in several all-female shows in the last few years, and it looks like I've got another one coming up this year. The difference is subtle but extraordinary without male actors in the room. I'm not sure I can even put my finger on it enough to explain it to you in words. A different energy? Certainly a different style of communication.

9.14.2007

breaking up is hard to do

Cody and I are taking a break. I know, right? Don't cry.

Actually, I just started rehearsals for a professional theatre show in addition to holding down my day job (with the blessings and help of an incredibly accommodating job-share partner). The fact is, no matter how much I adore working out with Cody, I simply do not have one day free until mid-October. In a lot of ways, the timing of this has worked out brilliantly. I was starting to feel like I needed to stumble out of the nest to see if I'd fly on my own. Not whether I can fly, mind you, I know I can. But would I? Or would I rather just choose to land on my couch with a bucket of cheese? Well, now I guess I get to find out.

Sink or swim, baby! Sink or swim.*

*I can preliminarily report that I'm actually more like treading water right now than sinking or swimming. Not bad, but I gotta step up my groove. I got big plans. More soon.

9.13.2007

like no business i know

I started rehearsals Tuesday for my first professional show in ages. Saying this, naturally, makes me want to tangentially debate myself regarding the use of the word "professional" when applied to the theater, but I will leave that for the bar -- presumably after a few drinks. For simplicity's sake, I mean a decent wage-earning acting contract at a large Equity theater. Obviously, I've given up giving up acting. Well, who can blame me ... how else am I going to get rich and famous?

Anyway, it's The Women, at ACT Theatre. It's a huge play, and it's going to be all kinds of Gorgeous. It's also going to be a technical mule. But other people who are really good at what they do get paid to worry about that, so I just get to enjoy the acting process. Or not enjoy it, as may be on some days.

I adore first rehearsals -- the same way I adored the first day of school. There's often food, and a company meet'n'greet, and paperwork to wrap up, and bios to proof, and design presentations, and exciting news about where to park and how to claim your comps. I LOVE THAT SHIT. It's the orchestral overture of the rehearsal process. And then, you sit around the table and read and talk. And talk. And talk some more. Um, hi - yeah. You had me at hello. Seriously. LOVE.

As Artistic Director, Kurt Beattie gave a speech to welcome the show, and it was truly inspiring. I wish I was one of those people who records everything on their phone or whatnot; I will never be able to recreate it. He started with the recent stabbing death of Mark Weil in Uzbekistan, and reminding us why the creation of theatre is so vital, and that we've become complacent in our country, but that our complacency doesn't absolve us of the responsibility of this torch we carry. I'd've taken to the streets right then if he'd asked. No question.

Enough for now. I have a million thoughts about the project and the process and what it's like to be so lucky as to be among such talented women and to be directed by Warner Shook. I'll be back soon.

9.07.2007

3 burning questions

1. Now that we're not kids anymore, is there an adult alternative to the terms "boyfriend" and "girlfriend"? Partner = too clinical. Significant other = blech. Lover = ew. Sweetheart = it's what I currently use, but it's cutesy.

2. What's with drooling in my sleep on a regular basis? It's new, and I don't approve.

3. Am I the only women left who bikini waxes but doesn't want the "landing strip" look? Just clean up the natural "V" please.