Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ending The Year

A big, fat warning: This blog entry will, most likely, come off as a bit mopey and navel-gazing.

I am not overly depressed, or sad, but I did find myself this morning looking at tweets and status updates from actor/theatre friends that are excited and energized by the upcoming year. I found myself a bit resentful about it.

2009 has been, on pretty much any scale, my least successful year, as far as acting and theatre, in a very long time. There's no way to deny it. Some things were out of my hands, some things weren't. I consider auditions in my hands, because, otherwise, I'd start to get depressed and resentful about having no control over my life.

This year I was contacted about/auditioned for....

American Buffalo
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Crucible

Which are 4 of my favorite plays, ever. I didn't succeed in any case, not one. This doesn't include other shows that were just wonderful opportunities with theatres I hadn't worked with before, and held a certain cachet, such as a show at the Steppenwolf Garage space. Shows that also slipped through my fingers.

I am not angry, I hold no one responsible for these failures but myself. I'm not some whiner blubbering about how unfair it is that no one will cast me. I cannot, and have never, felt that way. I live or die on my work, my talent, and the buck stops HERE, if you get my meaning.

I did two full productions this year, The Day of Knowledge and Plans 1-8 From Outer Space. Both were wonderful experiences, and TDOK got me an invite into the Stage Left Ensemble. I'm proud of the shows, but, if I'm being honest, I didn't really accomplish anything personally, with either. Both were well within the realm of things I had done before, and the characters came fairly easily. Too easily.

I've done several readings of new works this year . Most were a very good time, but I found myself very alarmed during the process on one in particular. I felt my performance was just horrifying. I was up there, disconnected, and just acting like a goon. The entire process, and my character's (and my) place in it, was lost on me. Ninety percent of what I do on stage is based around how I see my character's usefulness to the story being told. In this particular case, I couldn't find the string, and the whole thing flew off into the ether.

That's never happened to me before.


It's scary.

I mean, I do have things on the fire that could rejuvinate me. A writing project that I also desperately want to act in. That, however, is well out of my hands, not to mention the performance rights issues involved (it's an adaptation). I'll hear something soon, and we shall see.

I look at scripts for upcoming Stage Left projects, scripts I liked a GREAT DEAL, and helped select (lest anyone think I'm bemoaning the scripts...I AM NOT), and I can't quite see myself in them. I keep waiting for something to happen that will make me excited again, and, every time I try to dip in, the tank seems empty.

Worse than that, when I do work, the tank still seems empty. I have no interest in "doing what I do" over and over again. So, if all I'm going to be able to drum up are variations on the performances I've already given, what's the point?

Within reason...I mean every actor has the tools, their physical self, their life experiences, that are theirs to work with, and everything is built from those.

I worry that not only are the opportunites drying up, but, perhaps, that I've reached the pinnacle, and it's all downhill from here. That each perfomance from here on in will be just that much less inspired than the one that came before. That the spark that allows myself, or any actor, to create life on stage, has and is dimming for me.

Anyway...there's my "woe is me" year ender. Feel free to tell me to shut the fuck up. Tune in next week when I'll have my year-end best and worst blog. That'll be more fun, I promise.

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