aha! duh.

I had a terrible audition. Not terrible horrible, but terribly uninspiring, which any actor will tell you is worse. I'm guessing directors will tell you that too. Anyway, admidst my relative boringness came a cool reminder of why I love the puzzle of working on good plays with smart and talented people.

I had read the play thoroughly once and skimmed it once or twice more. And I worked on the one scene a bunch, alone and with Monkey's help. I can tell you from years of experience that the scene is funny; you can just tell. It's written funny - the rhythms, the spikes, the language, the pace - but it didn't seem that way coming out of my mouth. I knew that it was supposed to be, but couldn't figure out why it wasn't. Frustrating as hell but I figured, ah fuck it; maybe I'm wrong. Just do it faster and bigger, that makes everything funny!

I was not wrong. Which became clear in an infinity of awkwardness while I read the scene for the director. I was not funny, but she was sweet. "Okay, um. Let's start again, and this time think about this ..." And in a very lovely and efficient explanation showed me that I had played the character about as opposite as one could've and still been in the same play. It was so obvious, and I couldn't believe I had led myself so far astray. I felt weirdly ecstatic. "I knew it was supposed to be funny!" I exclaimed, and then did the scene again. And, even though it was rather mediocre since the Tetris pieces of the scene were still dropping into place in my mind, it was kinda funny. Could've been hilarious with a little more prep.

Usually it happens in rehearsal, sometimes in performance, sometimes (annoyingly) after the show has closed, and this time it happened in the audition; but I think it's my favorite thing about acting, that aha! moment.


shaking things up

So I have another audition tomorrow. Funny, yeah? (How's that no-acting thing going? Oh, good, ya know; getting by.)

A different show, but the same company; they cast for their whole season all at once. It's a director I've always admired but never worked with, a playwright that I really like a ton, and the theatre (of which I'm a fan) is blocks from my home. That's what they call a win-win, people. They called me in for 2 different roles. After reading the play (which is really good - another win), I did something I've never ever done before in the history of auditioning ... I told them I was not interested in reading for one of the roles, and that I wouldn't be preparing those sides. It's not a bad part, but it didn't intrigue or stimulate me. In fact, the thought of auditioning for this role and and the small possibility that I could be cast in it was making me feel like ditching the audition altogether, even though I really like the other role I'll be reading for. So I told 'em.

When I viewed acting as my vocation, I wouldn't have done this. Being in a play was better than not being in a play, right? Not to mention that actors are trained to say "yes please you bet absolutely." Viewing acting as an avocation (which - truly? - is how my bank account has viewed it all along), has freed me up to ask, "Will this be better than going out to dinner with my sweetheart, or going hiking, or skipping out of town for the weekend, or sitting on my butt on the couch when I wanna, or finally playing Fallout3, or making jewelry in my garage?" If the answer is a clear yes or no, I know what to do. If the answer is a greyer shade of conditional, now I get to be upfront and negotiate for my conditions to be met. Like an equal adult and prospective venture partner, as opposed to an infantalized dime-a-dozen-actor.


how aud

My cure for the common audition is a whiskey. Despite my ambivalence, it's still the best thing to silence the minor demons in my head who assure me that I should've this or shouldn't've that. Get thee behind me with a Makers in front of me.

Also. You're supposed to bring a headshot and resume to an audition. Oh right. This I remembered just in time to print a resume, dig through my photos, realize I don't have a stash of current pics because I didn't bother to replenish because of the whole "giving up acting" thing I've got going on, remember that I have a high-res scan of my pic, thank Athena that I just changed the toner in my printer, print a pic, head out the door, and arrive just barely in time and sweating.

I did not freak out, fall down or throw up. It went well. I like acting; it's like a favorite pair of super comfy jeans.



That's how it's marked in my calendar; it's how I've always marked it in my calendar. The notation hasn't changed, but I have. I haven't performed in a full-length show in over a year, and haven't auditioned for anything in just about 2 years. I feel ... ambivalent. I'm not sure that I really truly understood the nature of ambilvalence until now. I've ususally used that word either (a.) to describe something akin to reluctance, (b.) when I couldn't care less, or (c.) in order to avoid commitment. No longer will I disrespect this excellent and perfect word.

AUD. Nobody is more surprised than I.


schmulti schmask

Multi-tasking - much like swimming pool sex - is overrated. It seems like it'd be a good idea, but it's really not that great. Perhaps even unpleasant or harmful. More time is wasted in multi-tasking than is wasted in water-cooler conversations, for instance. Certainly more than than is being wasted right now in my taking a full-on break from work and typing this post.

This isn't sour grapes from someone who sucks at multi-tasking; I'm actually "good" at it (however you measure that crap). It's just a shitty way to get quality work done efficiently. Are you, too, an excellent multi-tasker? Does it make you, too, feel like you never really ever get anything done? Try this: take your 8-hr. desk-job workday and break it up into eight 1-hr. segments. During each hour, do something on your to-do list. Seriously. You might be surprised.

For those of us at email-dependent jobs, I suggest the following. Either:

  • dedicate 1 morning slot and 1 afternoon slot for email; or (if that's too scary for you)
  • use the last 10 minutes of each slot for email.

Trust me, people won't even notice. Anyway, there are a ton of valid reasons (psychological & work-flow-related) for using delayed response techniques. If they do notice, they'll get used to your new style and they'll adjust accordingly.

Excuse me, won't you? My scheduled mental health break is up and I must return to work, refreshed and ready for the next item!


i want to remember this feeling

I don't diet - there's no point, I end up obsessing about food which I don't actually do usually - but I am watching it. I'd like to lose "the last elusive 10," and I know I'll just feel better. Ya know - run faster, jump higher, live with greater abandon, practice zen-like patience, carpe diem, et al.

I DO NOT LIKE: self-deprivation. Let's face it, my kith. I like to eat. I like to drink good whiskey and good wine and the occasional excellent mixed drink. "Apertif" and "digestif" are 2 words that I am thrilled to have (and use) in my personal lexicon. I absolutely adore epic meals the span the length of an entire evening or mid-day, when you get just as drunk off of food and conversation as off of wine.

I DO LIKE: weighing consequences. I don't mind that, after one of those aforementioned glorious epic dinners with Monkey on Friday, I woke up in a cold sweat several times through the night because my body was working overtime to process what it assumed could only be foreign invaders. I didn't mind because I knew that might be the price I paid. I planned for it. WORTH IT.

I do, however, mind it today when I am running late for work, don't have time to pack lunch, decide to take advantage of no packed lunch to "splurge," go out and get some momentarily-delicious-but-crappy-for-me-junk-filled lunch, wolf it down like a deprived addict, and then within an hour feel like my head is going to split open and my guts may rebel in several different styles. I ate mindlessly something I wasn't even really craving because I thought it'd be fun, and - hell - it's Monday, I'm tired and I deserve it. Boo-hoo. I totally subverted my better judgement, and I'm glad I'm paying for it.

You know what's kinda freaky, though, is how soon this feeling would go away if I just kept it up eating relative crap. And then it would be the opposite, and I would feel crappy when I had to wean myself off of the junk. That is actually a sufficiently sobering thought to slap me in line. It was hard enough to get here the first time.

I have the knowledge and the power. I need to choose to use it for good.

(Those last 2 sentences made me giggle.)