Wednesday, February 08, 2006

This is the Hard Part

Yesterday, I ran a few monologues by Suzy Vitello, a good friend, and a fine writer, who knows my talents and weaknesses equally well (a fine story by her was recently published in "The Mississippi Review.") She's become one of my favorite sets of eyes for new material. I know I have her committed support, which allows her a degree of honesty with me that not everyone is capable of, as well as her good judgment and taste. Jolly good.

It went horribly yesterday, thou. After my experience with Shakespeare & Company, I want so god-damned much to be a better actor! But, I'm the same actor as I was before. There were no miracle cures for the nervous habits that overwhelm me when I'm scared. I still lean forward, freeze from the neck down, see myself from the outside, stop breathing, and, all in all, disconnect from my body. I have to work hard to stay out of my frigg'n head and ground myself. Harder than I think I'm capable of doing, at times. Arg.

Damn. I wanted to go into the PATA audition with a sense of.... Aw, I don't know... just plain "better," maybe? Well, balls. I'm going to have to give that up. Anyways, that's how it's always worked in the past--that is, most occasions of my success have come only after I've accepted failure.

I'm unsure of what monologues to do for PATA. I've decided I need a contemporary piece, so I'm doing a "serio-comic" bit from "Glengarry Glen Ross." It's a piece I want to keep simple, delivering it with more truth than flourish. For a piece to contrast with it, I need to choose from Caliban, Friar Lawrence, or Sonnet 110. Caliban disconnects me too much. I don't feel confident about Friar Lawrence (I'm having a hard time placing Romeo, spacially). And I'm most comfortable with Sonnet 110. It seems to connect me to myself. I believe the piece. I worry, though, that a poem is simply... too safe.

(I played it safe last year, resulting in a tepid, mediocre performance. Despite that, I'm tempted to play it safe again. The dangerous thing to do would be to do Friar Lawrence, despite how crudely I feel that I do it. Frig. I'm taking suggestions.)

Okay: all of this is where I go at my most insecure and miserable and it's the part of the process that I hate, almost as much as I hate learning lines, (which is one reason I like having Suzy around. She knows what this is all about in me.) It's this insecurity and misery that I've always run from in the past--it kept me from being a writer, for one thing--and, at the very least, I'm not running from it, now. Or rather, I'm not quitting (I AM running in circles.) As I've said before, acting is my Alamo, even though--and perhaps because--I will never be a great actor (writing will always be my missed calling.)


Please excuse the rambling nature of this post. It reflects my scattered thoughts and discombobulation, all that blocked chi.


Anonymous said...

I recommend against doing the sonnet, any sonnet. Always take something from a play - it has context that a sonnet lacks. Plus, all due respect, I think auditioning with a poem or sonnet or similar "lone" piece is a little lazy. That's just me.

If Friar Lawrence is the one that makes you uncomfortable, that's the one you should audition with. And don't try to fix it before going in - deal with your discomfort DURING the audition. Use the words and work it out. You say you're "having a hard time placing Romeo, spacially." Fuck it. Look for him when you get into the space. He'll be there.

You're nervous. Being nervous about an audition will kill you. The best auditions we give are the times when we don't give a fuck. Don't want it too bad. Don't look up to your auditor. Don't be afraid to die.


David said...

Good advice, man. Good advice.

Signore Direttore said...

Right on, Jason.