Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yeah, You Don't Need to See That

I was cast in a couple of plays that open in January (yay!) at the theater where I took all sorts of classes about a year ago (yay!).  For the most part, I am very excited about it.  It is an evening of short plays, six in total, and I appear in two (which doesn't happen often - they don't like to double cast these shows because they want as many people working as possible).  I really enjoy both scripts and both directors and both writers and both casts - I think it is going to make for a really fun night of theater.

In one of these shows, though, I will be wearing clothing that a woman of my age and body type really has no business wearing.  That's kind of the point.  And on the one hand, I know it's a sort of sight gag (not quite the right term, but I can't think of a better one), and I'm totally on board for that.  Having been a costume designer, I know that the clothes do a lot to tell the story of the character and when I'm only on stage for three pages, there's a lot of story that needs to be told in not a lot of time, so whatever the costume can do to help is great.  But on the other hand, I have body image issues.  I think we all know this by now.  I think we also all know by now that I don't have washboard abs or a cute, pert little rear end.  I'm curvier and squishier than that.  I take comfort in the fact that my cat likes to sleep on my curvy, squishy tummy.  And I try to be an advocate for non-lollipop women in the arts to get more screen time, so to speak, so this would seem to be a great opportunity to showcase an extremely talented woman with a less than Hollywood-perfect physique.

But it's still freaking me out a little that I will be seen wearing...that.  Like people will love me less if they see my exposed, fish-belly white, curvy, squishy tummy.  Or like they will be so blinded by the stark whiteness of my legs that have not seen the light of day in years that they won't be able to focus on my performance.

I will do it.  I will wear that costume on stage and I am sure that once I am in the scene, I won't even be thinking about it.  I usually don't, once I'm in the scene.  The anticipation of it is freaking me out a little.  Almost motivating me to stop eating for the next two weeks and do lots of crunches, but I know that doing that would then fly in the face of the aesthetic of the piece.  That wouldn't be true to the character or the director's vision or the writer's vision.

Anyway.  I hope people come see these shows and enjoy them.  I hope people are able to focus on my performances instead of my tummy.  Though if you do come see them and stick around to talk to me after, I may need you to tell me that I'm pretty and you still like me.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Big Happy, Little Happy

I dream big.

I think anyone who knows me at all knows this by now.  I can't help it - it's what I do.  It could be an overactive imagination or some coping mechanism for dealing with disappointments in the real world, but I dream big.  I dream of the day when I no longer have to worry about money.  I dream of the day when all I have to do is be an artist.  I dream of finding my life partner.  I dream big.

Thing is, the big things don't happen very often.  That's why they're the big things.

Often times, I find myself getting annoyed with the fact that the big things don't happen often.  I know I've posted before that I sometimes feel like I need that "blow your face off" exciting thing to happen - like I'm owed some enormous debt by the Universe.  I'm sure that's not true, but sometimes it feels that way, and then when all of the other little annoyances in life pile on top of that, I get grumpy.

What I need to remember is that there are a lot of "little happys" that happen all of the time.  Getting a hug from my niece.  Snuggling with my cat.  Making someone laugh.  I think I'm usually pretty good about recognizing these things and appreciating them for what they are.  I was on the train not too long ago (I think it was when I was in New York) and this guy on the train sat next to me and ate these sour candy straws one by one out of their little package and it struck me as so beautiful that this man was enjoying his sour candy straws on the train that I almost started crying.  So I think I'm good at recognizing the "little happys."

This time of year, though, is one wherein we're sort of taught that the big happys are supposed to happen.  Movies and television shows pump us full of the idea that the holidays are magic and magic things happen just in time for Christmas.  And when they don' can be disappointing.  When the object of your affection doesn't suddenly pull you under the mistletoe for a quick kiss that you know in the movies means the start of a long, beautiful relationship.  When the Christmas bonus doesn't happen at all.  When you discover that all of the little holiday treats you've been enjoying really weren't calorie-free and you don't fit into your favorite trousers anymore.  It can be easy to be grumpy.

But I got a little happy today.  Maybe even a medium-sized happy that came with a nice side of ego boost.  So I'm going to smile for a little bit and maybe even hope that it does snow because the world looks pretty when covered with new snow and I got enough little happy today to let me enjoy that.  So go enjoy some happy - big or little - today.  Maybe even spread it around.  Today is a good day for happys of all sizes.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Another Day, Another "Thanks Anyway"

An actor's live is full of rejection.  I knew that going in, and anyone else who considers this career path should know that. For every fifty auditions you go to, you may get one role.  It is the odd lucky streak when you get to work consistently.  Even amongst our big movie stars - from the time a movie is shot to the time it is released can be a period of anywhere from six months to two or three years.  So when you don't see someone in anything for a while, just imagine how long it has actually been since they worked.

But I digress.

An actor's life is full of rejection, for all sorts of reasons.  This morning, I got another, "You were great, but we're going another direction" email.  On the one hand, I like that theater companies are sending these emails now.  It used to just be if you didn't hear from them within about a week, you cross that one off your list.  At least now they let the non-cast people know they weren't cast so we can stop thinking about it.  That's nice. But it is still disappointing to not get to work on certain projects.

Which brings me back to my feeling that I need something to happen in my life that is so amazing it blows my face off.  I feel like I need to define that a little better, because I am surrounded by lots of little things that go right and are lovely and I am thankful for them, but none of them blow my face off.

I have an amazing family and some really wonderful friends.
I love it that my apartment has been warm so far this year.
I love it that my cat is super snugly.
I'm thankful when I find parking on the street so I don't have to pay for parking at work.
I'm thankful that I have one of the all time great heads of hair.
It still makes me smile every day that I get to drive a little green bug.
I have been getting a lot of compliments lately on this one ring that I wear that I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull off in the first place.

All of these things are amazing and humbling and they make me smile and I am thankful for them on a daily basis.

The thing about the "blow my face off" thing is that I feel like it needs to be a game changer.  It could start with something small, but it needs to produce some big end result.  It would be best if it was also surprising.

For example, I got a phone call from a theater company with a bit of a reputation for putting on good theater, inviting me to come audition.  That's pretty cool.  Didn't blow my face off, though, because unless I get the part, nothing really changes.  Now, if I get the part and we get really good reviews, that could be a bit of a game changer and maybe it will turn into the blow my face off thing, but it isn't there yet.  For now, it's just really groovy.  I do appreciate the awesomeness of some cool random thing in my day - like when I get to see a really amazing sunset, or when a puppy I've not met before licks my face - but my face is still in tact.

What I would really like, in terms of my face being blown off, is, like I said, some surprising game changer.  David Tennant showing up at my door with a cupcake for a chat.  Someone deciding to pay my rent for me one month (or one year).  A significant bonus at work.  Finding my life partner.  Suddenly waking up twenty pounds lighter.  Some movie producer using one of my songs in a blockbuster film.  Landing a role on the BBC.  You know - the big goals.  Not the daily awesomeness that surrounds me.  I love the daily awesomeness.  I'd just like to mix it up a little, you know?  Because there's a lot of daily crap, too.

So anyway.  Someday.  Someday my face will be blown off and I won't know what to do with myself.  But it will be amazing.