Act, then Write. Or, the Reverse.


I'm attending another open call today, this one for The Folger. If I and my esteemed readers have learned anything about auditioning this month past, it is that it doesn't really matter in a direct sense. Certainly, people have joined casts by finding their way through the open-call process, but it's such an unpredictable blend of circumstances that it would make a statistician wince. No, the way to get work is to know, and thereby work with, lotsa folks. Open calls are a part of that, of being seen and staying on the ol' radar, but not direct lines to the President, as it were. Still and all, every so often one comes up that provokes some dreaming. And, as I've also iterated numerously at the Aviary, dreaming's an important part of the process.

The Folger is one of those D.C. theatres that I grew up visiting. Between that, Arena Stage and The Little Theatre of Alexandria is the space in which I was formed into a young acting enthusiast. I've actually performed there before. They hold an annual festival of short, high school Shakespeare productions, and I was a part of one Winter's Tale that graced their Elizabethan stage. As I'm sure you can imagine, at age fifteen it was quite a thrill. And, lest you be duped by my omissions: It would be quite a thrill today, tomorrow, and when I'm eighty, too. As something of a topper, they're doing two favorites next season -- Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. My favorite comedy, and my favorite tragedy (though in recent years, King Lear has been giving the Dane a run for his money in the racetrack of my preference). So, I dream. I'll pop in midday and lay out my Romeo for them-what-make-the-tough-choices, and I'll do my best to enjoy the rush.

In the meantime, I'm plenty busy. T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month, and I've often wondered how much his opinion had to do with taxes. In addition, work gallops apace, unrelenting in its demands on me as the new office-manager/HR-coordinator/assistant. Finally, I'm traveling for the next two weekends, to such far-off and fanciful locales as Pennsylvania and Virginia. Yet, yesterday, as I was writing Friends Mark and Davey to break the bad news of feeling unable to contribute much to a new writing project . . . I got an idea, and wrote a story for it. Because, dang it, nothing is more motivating than being told, "No."

I love that the universe keeps throwing writing ideas -- nay, entire fictitious worlds! -- my way. Thanks, universe (read: friends).
* * *
Well. That happened. It was fine, apart from some nit-picking on my own part. The start went better than the end, and I thought I'd at least get a chuckle. Alas, no, but I can hardly blame the casting assistant. I lost a little breath control toward the end (it is an awfully long line to carry through) owing to, I think, nervousness and not enough abdominal stretching, but overall I feel pretty good, and it's always nice to know one's resume and headshot may now be occupying space in someone else's files. I don't believe they were casting, however. Maybe a few roles, but I doubt it. Couldn't say exactly why, really. Only the casting assistant was there, and something about her "thank you" -- just a feeling. Of course, as we've already learned, Dear Reader, my "feelings" rather suck.

Lately I've been fantasizing quite a bit about what it might be like to be a professional writer. Fortunately, I just read a book on Neil Gaiman that disabused me of some more fanciful notions. It is hard work indeed, becoming a paid writer, and then even harder work still to stay one. Heck: The high degree of fame and accomplishment that Gaiman has accomplished only makes his life more chaotically busy. The only advantage over acting I see is that most of the rejection that happens is written rather than spoken (and seemingly it actually gets done, instead of letting one drop off the face of the earth, tied to one's own sense of expectation). It would even seem that writers need to do as much networking as actors. Who could have imagined that an acting career would be so much like so many others? I should have, for one. Art imitates life imitates art, etc.

Still, it is a nice fantasy, this idea of doing work that I want to, when I want to, and receiving compliments and praises left, right and center. Plus, I could sit at a nice desk (you can justify the expense and cost of a "nice desk" when it supports your primary income) and drink tea and dream about more fantasies, and more teas, expensive teas, teas that defy you to resist their calming, meditative influence! Dear God! It would be beautiful! There would be affectionately attended potted plants during the day, not the neglected, lonely aloe I have now! At night, candles with subtle musky scents, that I could monitor regularly enough to make them of actual FLAME, and not a flickering LED! I would read and write and read and write and write some more!

And man, oh man, but I'd miss acting. *sigh* Anyway, it appears that fantasy is based largely on soothing things, and if I've learned anything at all in my life to date, it's that soothing things don't generally pay the bills. Hugh McLeod is of the opinion that staying busy with the business of living actually aids one's creativity. Maybe I should teach yoga.

There'd be mats, and Vinyasas, and chanting, and . . . !
 
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