Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Guy 5

Editor's Note: The following is a post relating to the author's being in a play. This, after moving to another part of the country from New York. There will be more posts as the show develops.

An eye-opening experience.

In the show I was in immediately before this one, I had the great fortune to work with a director who was also a teacher. What this meant, for me, was two months of free acting lessons. In exchange, all I had to do was memorize my lines. Each nuance was crafted as I imagined the character, but it was always under the watchful eye of the director. The fact that he was also the writer of the play afforded everyone in the cast the opportunity to learn exactly what the characters were supposed to be feeling. What I brought to the character was approved before it saw stage time.

This theater is a different animal. Here, the show is outlined, the director blocks the scenes and offers their insight, and that's it. You are expected to bring your A game, develop your character, and turn up for the audience. Feeling unappreciated? Tough shit, do your job. And look around. Everyone else is making it happen without having their hand held.

I was unprepared for this level of freedom. It continues to be an eye-opening experience. I do feel more prepared now for another show, even while prepping for the final week of shows on this one. I only wish I had not succumbed to neurotic self-doubts, which put me on the roller coaster of "Am-I-Doing-This-Right?", like I've never had before. I've experienced many emotions in my life, but self-doubt has never been an issue before. I'm glad I shook that off, glad I'm back to being me.

We've been playing to sold-out houses, and getting standing O's across the board. I'm not taking any of the credit for that...  there are people in this show that can sing and dance, and act their asses off. I'm just trying to hold up my end. But, the bottom line is that we are doing a good job of entertaining the people that come to see the show. They smile, they cheer, they laugh at the funny parts and applaud like they mean it. They shake my hand and tell us all how wonderful the show was. Not much else in life can be better than that.

I auditioned for this show so that I could share something with my son, (he's an up-and-coming star, and he gets more amazing with each show). Serendipitously, I get to stand next to him during curtain call. That makes all the neurosis worthwhile. He may forget this experience as he moves up and up and up, but, I never will. Before I know it, he'll be going off to college and finding his own way. Even so, we'll always have this show, this time in our lives.

 In the blink of an eye he's grown from that kid in the children's theater troupe to a young man who's star has just begun to rise. I'm proud-to-bursting, glad and thrilled about so many aspects of his journey. Not the least of which was watching him 'get it' in rehearsals, try hard, and make it his own. I asked his advice on more than one occasion. His council was always dead-on.

As we look to the next show, and the next and the next, I have nothing but confidence... in him, in me and in the shape of things to come.

It has been an eye-opening experience.