January 31st, 2011
When you are a radio announcer everyone assumes that you are comfortable on a stage or in front of an audience. Some of us are more comfortable than others, I believe it’s important to our job and if an announcer isn’t comfortable it is their responsibility to fake it until they are. Part of the territory is being in front of people and making it seem easy.
I think there is a big difference between being yourself and playing a character.
They least of which is memorizing lines.
Many moons ago I was involved in the wonderful world of theatre, I ran away from that world, for reason to be read in another blog post, but it has always been a part of me. I do love being on a stage and I do enjoy being someone else and bringing that person to others. Very rarely have I had a oppurtunity to play a “dramatic role.” Through the years I have done some comedy parts here and there and have had some fun doing children’s theatre with Bumbershoot but I have never had the nerve to approach any opportunity to do something a bit “more..”
I have to go to bed early because of my job.. and did I mention memorizing lines?
Are you picking up on a theme here?
Randy Leslie approached me about attending his Master Scene Study class at Kelowna Actors Studio. Part of me was screaming YES, while the other part, mainly my mouth, was coming up with every excuse in the book to say no. Somehow, this time, Randy made it happen. Before I knew it I had signed up and was expected at the first class.
(insert terrified internal scream here)
Really. What if I suck? That was the sentence that kept going through my mind.
What. If. I. Suck.
I tried to reassure my self that it wasn’t about sucking, it was about growth and the journey. Right said the voice.
What. If. I. Suck.
I bullied on and attended class. I kept my mouth shut (a bigger task than you might believe) and learned. I watched, I listened, and I remembered why I loved theatre.
Joy of joy I had a wonderful partner to work with on my scene (Arlene Irwin) and I truly believe she made me better by simply being so talented herself!
The scene we were given was from “Agnes of God.” I was to play Dr. Livingstone and Arlene; Mother Superior.
What is Agnes of God about?
Here is a plot Summary of Agnes of God by Nancy Fisher:
A young nun, Agnes, is discovered, her body covered with blood, having just given birth. Her baby is found dead in the same convent room strangled by the umbilical cord. Dr. Martha Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, is brought in to examine Agnes and determine whether or not she is fit to stand trial. Mother Miriam Ruth, the nun in charge of the convent, wishes to protect Agnes’ innocence throughout the interview process. Before and after Agnes’ sessions with the psychiatrist, Mother Miriam and Dr. Livingstone debate what is best for Agnes. During their discussions, Agnes’ life before she came to the convent becomes a central topic in trying to understand her innocence and beliefs. Dr. Livingstone also investigates Mother Miriam Ruth’s role in the events once she discovers Mother Ruth was present at the birth of the baby and had known previously about Agnes’ pregnancy. Throughout these exchanges, Dr. Livingstone questions Mother Miriam about earlier events in Agnes’ life. In the end it is revealed that Agnes was the one who killed her baby in an effort to “return the child to God.”
Yup deep stuff.
How did I do? Well, no luck on memorizing lines, but we only had 4 week and even with 4 hour classes and home study, that is a short period of time to memorize anything. The rest of the class did managed to be off book for their lines, but no luck for me. Outside of that, I seemed to have held my own pretty well. It felt really good to be on a stage again. I forgot what it was like to just perform because you loved to do it. The only expectations this time of me, were put on, by me. While often those can be the hardest expectations to deal with, when I stepped off that stage the voice inside my head was no longer pondering “What if I suck” instead it was silent and was replaced with contentment and a sense of peace that I haven’t had in a long time.
Unbeknownst to me I needed to get back on a stage and reach for something that I had never done before, challenge myself to be afraid in a way that I hadn’t been in a long time.
Usually it’s the applause that feeds my fire. Not this time. This time it was about bringing back a truth from long ago, a truth that I had chosen to push aside for a variety of different reason, but a truth that had never left.
Inside of me does lie some talent, that I didn’t believe in for a long time.
So if you are wondering about a perceived talent from long ago, if you can lose it.. I think the anser is no, but you do have to go and search for it. Best of luck.
Here is the scene we did from “Agnes of God” Please keep in mind there is some language and content that some might find offensive.