Saturday, July 22, 2006

The things I do for community theatre...

Not only do I give up a good portion of my free time, sacrificing gas and mileage and sometimes relationships, and not only do I spend time outside the theatre in lessons and memorizing lines and trying to get my freaking slow-ass feet moving, but I've spent my last three weekends in various states of rehearsal and set painting. I'm tired every night, and wake up cranky nearly every morning, only to go to work (in Hilliard, no less, which means I don't have time in between work and rehearsal to go home, which in turn means that I leave the house at twenty after seven--a freaking m--and don't get home until, at the earliest, twenty after ten--p freaking m) get tired out some more, rush around on my lunch break trying to accomplish things I can't accomplish in the evenings, grab some shitty food--if I'm lucky--and head off to a theatre that, at present, pretty much amounts to a box with a stage in it.

And why do I torture myself month after month after month like this?

Because I love it.

I love the challenge of learning a new role, of getting inside a character's head, and bringing a person to life by utilizing parts of myself, but also dredging up emotions and actions I never believed I could manufacture. I love the comraderie the theatre instills in me...the way I've learned to make friends quickly and deeply, the way I've allowed people to have a glimpse of my life, and ultimately a glimpse at my vulnerability--if you're watching closely and I'm doing my job correctly--because a character is never believable unless they are in some way vulnerable. I love the way the stage makes me feel alive, just for a moment, and the discipline of selflessness acting requires of me, since the role I play is never really about me, but how I make the audience feel in that moment.

It's a crazy, too-small world where everybody knows everybody else's business, and more often you're talked about than talked to, and personal politics often outweigh raw talent in the casting process. It's a life of fast food, fast changes and fast thinking. I've discovered it's not uncommon for me to put on a pair of jeans I haven't worn in a while and find that they're falling off of me because for the last two months, I've been surviving on too little sleep and too much caffeine. And yet, I find myself looking forward to showtime, to my fifteen minutes of "fame", even if it's in Grove City or Dublin or--God forbid--Hilliard. I don't get paid, my fellow actors and I are often underappreciated, and still I trudge in to rehearsal or a show night exhausted, but feeling more human than I feel anywhere else.

Of course, getting to wear a dress with a slit up to your left butt-cheek is a bonus, too.

:)

5 comments:

Eric said...

Very beautifully put, and sentiments I can relate to in every way. Well, except for the whole losing-so-much-weight-my-pants-are-falling-off thing. You'll have to give me pointers on that one. :-)

tb said...

And the "getting to wear a dress with a slit up to your left butt-cheek" stuff....

dale said...

...the "dress with a slit up to your left butt-cheek" thing is more of a bonus for the audience...

You "hate" lawyers? Ouch...That's so...unmitigated.

Tammy said...

I would rather see guys with nice tight.... Is there any of those int this show?

Commodore said...

I am casting a production of "The Scantily Clad Madwoman of Chaillot" and I have a part that is PERFECT for you! Of course, you'll have help me paint the set ...