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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Uncertainly Stable

At this time last year I was in a full life shift mode. I was uncertain about my work, my personal life was all over the place, I started rehearsals for a new show that was the longest running and highest paid work I have done to date, and I was feeling like the whole world was at my finger tips. I didn't really know what the hell to do with said world, but I felt like I had it. And that was exciting. I wasn't entirely happy, but I had choices to make and goals to reach and things to pursue.

Since then things have settled out a lot. I have a full time 9-5 that I like a lot, I have solid friends and a relationship that is fulfilling and important to me, and I haven't had a gig in about a year (with the exception of play. last August), but I've been mostly happy about where I am. I feel comfortable.

But I find it boring. It isn't that any one thing is boring, it's just that without the excitement of uncertainty, I feel that I'm missing risk or adventure. It's the actor streak wrecking havoc on my type-A-ness. And it's not just about missing acting, but missing that part of me that rebels against the sensible, solid part of me and keeps me moving. I guess it's that I feel boring as opposed to my life is boring.

So I'd been searching for something to jump start that streak. A way to step out of my comfort zone or challenge myself or get excited about something.

And then two things happened.

1.) I was told about the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Alaska, held at the beginning of every summer. It's a conference for new play development and they need 150 - 200 actors every year to participate as readers. You pay for your airfare and almost everything else is taken care of. Nothing is definite yet, but my Orbitz searches are at an all time high. The thought of 7 days in a place thousands of miles away where it never gets dark and reading plays for 12 hours a day sounded like exactly what I was looking for.

and then

2.) I had an audition. It had been a while. I'm out of practice. I'm out of material. And I almost had a panic attack. It was perhaps the most anxious I had ever been before an audition. And not in an exciting, "I want to get cast kind of way", but in a terrifying "I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm boring and awful" kind of way. And though I managed to pull the audition out and make myself presentable, it was definitely a low. It was the kind of feeling that made me wonder why I was still pursuing acting at all.

The two feelings were total opposites. And rolling around in my heart and my brain at the same time. I was excited at the prospect of a new kind of acting experience and some time away from my every day life, but I was also completely questioning how I wanted to continue my pursuit of performing.

And then I got cast.

I'm excited about the role. I like the script and the material will definitely push me outside the boundaries of my normal comfort zone. But there is still some lingering anxiety when it comes to how I'm pursuing performance and how I feel about myself as a performer.

That I can never be totally comfortable and still feel like I have interesting things to offer as an actor is a concern. Does my life have to be in flux for me to feel like I can perform? Is uncertainty what makes my life feel stable? And what kind of twisted mentality is that?

These are questions too big for me to answer right now. And maybe ever. But I know that I don't particularly like the person I was becoming searching for excitement. I also know I wasn't entirely happy living my easy day-to-day non performer life.

Which one will eventually win out has yet to be seen, but that $700 plane ticket to Alaska is still on my Orbitz radar and I'll be performing with the Boston Stage Company in iLove next month.


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