Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Livin' The Dream

I figured it was time to talk a but about the other aspect of my blog title.  I have covered shrinking, but the "actor" part is also being effected.  I have debated with myself a thousand times whether to take time off from acting while I made these changes.  The idea behind taking a break would have been to spend my energy on my health.  Knowing that my audition clothes wouldn't fit, that my headshot would look less and less like the actor it was supposed to represent, and that my type would be changing, possibly more than once, were daunting to say the least.  The arguments for staying on the audition trail are pretty obvious.  The whole reason I moved to Chicago was to pursue a professional acting career.  Staying out there I figured would also give me opportunities to find out my type and how I am being perceived as I change in to the person I will be.  I ultimately decided to stay out there, although auditions have still been few and far between and at times it has felt like I was on a break.  

After about two months of nothing the time had come, as some of my OU theater friends would say, to put my Fame School Degree to good use, and I have had three auditions in the last couple of weeks.  The first two were on back to back days and I felt like the rust showed, but it was nice to get out there and act.  I had an audition today that I had misgivings about, but that I feel went reasonably well.  It was for a newer musical theater company in one of the Chicago suburbs that produces original musicals.  I really enjoy doing musicals, but I have struggled with doubts about whether I "should" be pursuing it.  It is not that I do not think I am capable, but that I feel a little weird at the auditions.  I am not your run of the mill musical theater actor.  In a way that is a plus, because few though the roles may be that I can play in a professional setting, fewer still are the folks that really fit those roles.  I am a good singer and I move well enough, but the look of mild shock and surprise when I walk into a holding room always stings a bit.  

The main reason I was so anxious about the audition today was that it was initially structured as a dance call with certain folks asked to sing afterward.  I went in worried that I wouldn't even be allowed to sing, but as for the dance, well,  I think in situations like that I am much more free to just relax and have fun because pressure is low, expectations being what they are.  I felt I handled myself well, in fact I was pleased that I was much less tired after the dance number than I would have been in a dance call last year.  They had a more intense routine for a few of the guys, but decided that everyone would get to sing.  The relief from that alone made my audition song one of the best I have done in a while.  I don't know if they were just seeing everyone to be polite, as the theater was way out of the way and they hinted at that, but even if they thought they had made up their minds about me after the dance I relished the chance to change them.  Today's experience was one that reminded me that free and easy is the best way to get just about anything done, let alone an audition.  As I struggle to take control of the things in my life that need change, I am learning more and more that I also need to let go of the things over which I have no control.  There is a great prayer that says something very much along those lines, and even for the non-religious it can provide wonderful advice.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 

--Reinhold Niebuhr

My new mantra.  I hope it is a philosophy that will make me a better, thinner actor. 


  1. I'm so glad you decided to stick with it. It might end up being really frustrating - but the feed back you get will be both encouraging and valuable.

    Also - those looks of surprise don't stop. I get them all the time. I guess it's what comes with having wide ideas and expectations about yourself as an actor.

  2. Chase, Never doubt the talent with which God has blessed you. Remember those who have encouraged and criticized (positively), and commiserated with you through your life and who continue to praise God for you AND your talent. You have that special angel right next to you, holding your hand and nudging when you need it.