Persona: n. an individual's social facade or front
- MLM translation: Basically the you you put out to the world, what you want people to see. The person you create for yourself, the best you, you can be.
Personality: n. a set of distinctive traits and characteristics
- MLM Translation: The inherent you. Sometimes you show it to people, sometimes you try really really hard NOT to show it to people. Stripped down and honest, selfness.
As a performer I definitely try to keep these things somewhat separate. I always want to be putting my Persona forward. Not that it isn't influenced by my personality, how could it not be? But it is the best parts I pick and choose. It is natural. Everyone does it. But I find, it gets tricky in this business to keep hold of the innate you and not let your Persona take over sometimes.
Networking, self-promotion, auditions, performances, blogging...sometimes it feels like I'm always on. Not only that but most of the time I find most of my personal conversations having to do with theatre. Most of my free time is spent seeing shows or going to workshops and other arts events. And most of my friends are theatre people. And when anything has to do with theatre, I turn on the Persona and stifle the personality. It's where "the life" takes over really living and I become a big blur. The competition and pressure of this business and the expectations we all have of ourselves can be overwhelming, it causes what I am dubbing "Persona Take Over". So I'm using this post to show my true colors. Even the ugly ones. You know, like puce.
I love camping. I like being touristy and going to nerdy things like the Bunker Hill Monument and Orchard House. And reading, and driving aimlessly, and wasting an entire day doing nothing but sleeping. I am moody. I get irrationally angry (like I throw things at the wall because I can't find my left shoe). Sometimes I can be really mean. Like really unnecessarily mean. And controlling. I like to be in charge. A lot. And as put together and organized as I want to seem, my room is perpetually in a state of horrifying disarray (hence not being able to find my left shoe). These are things I keep out of my Professional-Theatre-Mary-Liz. Which I'm sure is good for my life in the theatre. I mean no one wants disorganized super-bitch on the rampage in their rehearsal room. I know that.
But as much as I love theatre. As driven as I am to keep working and growing and connecting, as important as it is to me, I can't do it if I'm not a whole person. If I don't take the good with the bad. If I'm not honest, if I don't let the real personality show...or at least admit that it exists. It's the flaws in me that make me who I am. And letting my Persona take over takes away the traits and emotions that make me whole. I think it's easy to forget that in this business. Or ignore it. Or hide it. But, I feel, that losing yourself, letting the work consume you, only serves to eventually stifle growth and work and connections. It isn't as interesting. It isn't real.
So here I am. Mary-Liz. Fun and professional. Sassy and smart. Moody, angry and nerdy.
Not so blurry.