On a Serious Note, Theatre

Dream on Life Support

Fuck. All of this.

Oh. It’s one of my least favourite times of the year. The seasons are about to change. I’m bipolar and this kind of thing always messes with my brain. That, and the fact that I’m going nowhere in life. It’s a stagnant well.

All I’ve ever wanted (Please God, is it too much to ask?) was to be an actor.

It’s not about fame. It’s not about glory (What glory?). And no, I’m definitely not dumb enough to think that I’m going to be rich. I just wanted to make a living being a good, respectable actor. I guess that I was overly ambitious. Perhaps I was even too confident in my abilities. I know that I’m talented. I can say that without being pompous. But I’m also very flawed. I’m not a “cookie cutter” type. I don’t have a killer jaw line or a six pack. I’m never going to be the romantic leading man or the action hero. I don’t mind that, because I do better at playing supporting roles.

But I don’t even get those.

Forgive me, friends, I feel like I’m doing a really shitty job at writing this. Hence why this is only my third blog post for the year. My mind isn’t entirely as strong as it could be. My thoughts are racing. I fluctuate between feeling stable and feeling horribly depressed. I’ve gained eight kilograms of weight. I’ve lost a lot of hope.

What I’m trying to say is this:

I’m tired. I’m so, so tired of making a fool of myself. Late last year I had a very important audition that would have meant a lot for my career. I was so close to getting it. I did well at the audition, I know I did. I even got asked to read for another part. But I was told, after waiting for a lifetime, that although I had given a very “brave audition” and I was “surprisingly talented”, I “just wasn’t right for the show”. I know in the deepest roots of my heart that I would have gotten it right. I know it.

I’ve been to dozens of auditions without getting casted and it never bothered me, but this one broke something in me. I think it’s because I was so close and yet so far. Good, but not quite good enough.

I’ve always had a problem with the notion that actors need to have “thick skins”. In the same breath we are told that we need to be emotionally vulnerable. Each character that I create is a part of me and time and time again that part gets rejected. The truth is that to most directors and casting directors, actors aren’t really people. We’re puppets. Numbers. They pull out their box of marionettes and jerk them around until they find one that they like. Then they toss the rest of them back into the box and kick it into the corner without caring about the damage they did.

I guess that it’s another flaw, but I’m not strong enough to put up with it anymore. I’m tired of being told that I look too old or that my voice isn’t deep enough. I’m tired of driving for 45 minutes just to be told that I don’t even have to bother auditioning, because there’s no way that I can possibly top that actor who went earlier and just happens to be friends with the casting director. I’m tired of preparing a bloody long monologue for days and just as I open my mouth the director or producer looks at his phone. I’m tired of people wrinkling their noses in disgust because I’m not as pretty as they want me to be. I’m tired, tired, tired.

A dream doesn’t usually die a sudden death. You start out thinking that this is okay, it’s just a dip. It’s like a fern that starts wilting. You cut off the dying leaves and try different things to revive it. But the leaves become less and less until they start discolouring at the roots and you begin to accept the inevitable.

I’m not ready to say that my dream is dead. I’m not ready to say that I’ve given up. Theatre is the great love of my life. I am never as happy as when I am on stage. This is saying much, because I’m not a typically “happy” person. I grew up with abuse, trauma, and a lot of darkness. The stage helped me to escape. It saved me.

When I was about four or five years old, the circus came to town. That night I knew that I wanted to be a performer. I wanted a life that was… more.

I can see myself getting some typical job and living a typical life for the next few decades; hating every minute of it. The things that so many people seem to covet – the 9 to 5 job, having children, having the same routine over and over again – sound like a death sentence to me.

I know that I’m not special. I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way, but I do. Having said that, things could change. One of the many doors I’ve been knocking on could open. Maybe I’m just melodramatic. I see my friends getting that here we go again. Are you taking your medication look on their faces when I start to talk about it. Maybe it will all work out.

Maybe it won’t.

“Funny how you dig yourself into a hole by the teaspoon.” ~ Lionel Shriver

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3 thoughts on “Dream on Life Support

  1. Pingback: The Living Bardo | Life and Other Catastrophes

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