Monday, April 23, 2012

The Only Way Out is Up...

A leeeeeeaaaap of faith.

The best thing about the nadir? Things have to get better.

The thoughts that I have I stil have, and they aren't going away, but they seem less impossible right now. In TheatreBooks today, someone recognized me from 'Tout Comme Elle', and I revealed that I was in the store looking for what's next. He shrugged and said, 'That's what it always is. What's next?'

I guess that relates to 'Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.' Samuel Beckett. Who probably also had somethings to say about crippling depression and not knowing what the point of it all is anyway.

It's still hard. I'm still paranoid. I'm still figuring out how to deal with that, because it's a horrible feeling, and if I can't get rid of it, I can't do this anymore. So I'm trying to change challenges: not fighting myself, but fighting my paranoia. Not focusing on how awful I am and how I have to quit, but focusing on how I can make myself stronger so that I don't quit.

Or not. I read this. I'm considering it. Maybe that's what I need to do. It feels wrong, but maybe it would do me some good. I'm not sure.

But tonight I went and saw a performance done by a youth group at Factory Theatre. I was lucky enough to go in and chat with these girls after they came and saw 'Modern Love' months ago, and they were all a delight, so I wanted to go and see what they had been working towards. Amazing and inspiring to see the younger generation, who write and act so openly, who show the joy of being in a play. They were totally incredible and it was wonderful to sit in a theatre and feel so open, so wanting them to succeed, so thrilled when they did. Joy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Remember Mediocrity is Not a Mortal Sin

Note: I started writing this blog post about a week ago, and lost my momentum. So it might be weird because of that. It also might be weird because I am weird. Sasquatch.

I've been going through my general struggle of not feeling so great about myself.

(Side note: 9 times out of 10, I misspell or, more accurately, mistype, 'great' as 'gret', and I think of Dull Gret, who is a character in Caryl Churchill's 'Top Girls', and I start trying to think about how the first act of that play connects to the second, and then I feel stupid and hate myself because the amount that I don't understand or get about theatre is enormous, and I should become a garbageman. EXCEPT THAT I DON'T DRIVE AND CAN'T LIFT MORE THAN THIRTY POUNDS AND BAD SMELLS MAKE ME THROW UP OH I HAVE NO SKILLS).

I'm reassessing my own relationship to this blog because I STUPIDLY had some reviews come across my path and it made me feel really, really terrible about myself, and I am dealing with that. And how it's manifested, in one way, is me have to rethink about criticism in general, and what any one person's thoughts about seeing one performance of a show has to do with anything.

I'm a compulsive consumer of theatre criticism and maybe I should give that up. I obviously can't deal with it in relationship to myself, as much as I think it's valuable. So, I'm not sure what my own opinions about theatre should mean to anyone else. Of course, I don't review. I talk about my own experiences in a way that is completely subjective and compromised by the fact that I am telling my own story the way I see it, and by the fact that I am weird. Sasquatch.

I don't review theatre because I don't think artists should review the community that they're trying to be a part of. Also, like, who am I? Oy, reviews. I shouldn't have read them. Lesson learned.

It's amazing how people throw you away, the things that reviewers think they have a right to comment on, how quick people are to trample on you. i don't know why I didn't know this before.

My paranoia has become a bit crazy doing this show. I'm very worried about what everyone thinks of me. The feeling that I get, or the feeling that I'm creating, is that no one thinks I'm doing a good job and no one wants to be near me because I am untalented. I'm not sure how real any of it is. It's made me reassess whether I'm strong enough to continue in this profession (Everyone I have ever met says: OF COURSE YOU ARE NOT, GO BACK TO HIDING UNDER THE COVERS, YOU STRANGE AND INSECURE BEAST).

Now writing this I wish that I had been more diligent about recording my feelings through the run of the show, but really, it has just been a lot of fear. Happiness and gratitude sometimes, but those are the small positive voices rallying from deep within a pit of insecurity. They seem very weak.

I'm trying very hard. It's not always enough. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's Bad Luck to Say Good Luck on Opening Night

Five stages of opening night:

1. Denial

(I am shaking my head in this picture) No, it can't be. I'm not ready.

2. Anger


3. Bargaining

Just give me one more preview. Or a few more notes. I can do it then, I swear. I'm good for it.

4. Depression

I'm going to start doing my application for nursing school. This will be the last time I ever perform in my life.

5. Acceptance.


Actually, the five stages of opening night are anxiety, anxiety, anxiety, anxiety, and drunk.

It happened and I lived. I'm so looking forward to the nuttiness of reviews (which I am not reading, honestly, although the threat of them is buzzing around in the back of my brain) being done, and just doing my job. Doing the show for five whole weeks, which is the longest run I've ever done, and seeing how it grows and living with it. Not having to fight to promote is a huge change for me. Normally I'm praying that a show I'm in gets a review, because any exposure would be helpful and we're working so hard to be seen. This time I don't have to fight, don't have to do anything but act really (unheard of), and the review are going to come and they are scary.

All of that kind of seems like a bit of a distraction from the play, from the story, so I am looking forward to it being over and doing my job. The play. The story.

Ugh, isn't it awful how I always am looking forward to something that is not the something that I'm in? Even if the something that I'm in is something I was previously looking forward to? What is up with that?

I have to now figure out the routine I'm going to have for the next few weeks, that will allow me to do the show, write a million things (which I am very very behind on, and kind of worried about), go to the gym, find a joe job, plan my summer and the rest of my life, and become the kind of amazing person that I plan to be every Monday, but who I hate by every Tuesday.

It's kind of unreal that it's now running, this idea has been in and out of my life for two years, that I might get a chance to do something like this, and now this date that was so set in my mind as being a huge deal is passed. It's unreal that I got to work at a place like Tarragon, with the people I got to work with.

But I guess it's happening. As much as anything is happening. Is anything happening?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Like Rama lama lama, de ding a de ding de ding.

Week one (preview week) down.

We continue to tinker and refine and while this initially was worrying me, afraid that all the changes would exceed my incredibly limited cranial capacity, things are kind of starting to make sense. I think this is moving towards a sense of my ownership of the work and the part. There were places that I felt were going in an opposite direction to the ideas that I initially came in thinking, but now it seems that they're returning there anyway.

We've been talking a lot about 'integration', about bringing things together, and I think that is happening, to a very small degree. Things are making sense. When they aren't, I'm trying new approaches to them, and then, even if it's in ways I can't describe, they're making a bit of sense. I think the play is integrating and I"m integrating into the play. There are still crunchy moments, and challenges, and all of that, but...there's also moments that settle and crackle and good good good.

Daniel has said again and again, 'The play knows more than I do', and it's a good thought to hold on to. The actor's or director's work as being to get out of the plays' way. That's hard. I'm oh so smart and just want to spread a thick layer of JESS all over everything!

It's that balance, for me which is most pointedly marked in pace. I have to give each word weight, take my time, and I also have to jump my own cues, keep the ball in the air. The balance of letting the play be and moving the play along. Helping it to reveal itself. The play is revealing itself to me more and more every night. Lots of new things to think about and live in and experience with the audience (even if, like today's audience, that also means experiencing their cell phones. Guy).

I think (THINK) it is coming together.

And now, a moment of vanity.