Sunday, February 8, 2009

Theatre History, Part 6

Gradually, through college, summer stock, a turn in New York, hoping for a break, and final settlement in New Orleans, the obstacles to my ever becoming a working actor began to solidify and assume concrete shapes:
  • Although I loved rehearsing, I became bored with performances. It would take me another ten years or so to figure out the illusion of the first time and how to keep things interesting to myself by bringing the kind of day I'd just had onstage with me.
  • The constant mystery why, when some people saw striking beauty in what I might do onstage, others would remain unimpressed and unmoved.
  • The realization that a life as a working actor would mean constant renewal; auditions; rejections; a run which, if successful, would seem never to end; the resulting limitations and strictures on the number and the range of roles I'd be available to assume.
No, I needed and desired security, structure, a roof, and lots and lots of meals, a normal life, a job, a partner, and friends to share my pleasures with. I needed to eliminate hurtful, negative people from my associates.

Eventually, I ended a run and didn't audition for the next big thing, or the one after that, and I simply never came back again for more. My job began to require more attention from me as I began to advance up the ladder of a career I had stumbled upon. I had never conceived of having a career when I was young. A job was just that. A career implied devotion, care, an ability to dot and cross one's i's and t's. These things demanded concentration and a willingness to surrender time. And I did enjoy my career, I loved it.

Because, at some point during my years away from acting, I had made the discovery that I was, in fact, an actor, and that was, in fact, what I was doing, every day, every week, every month, every year. That was what I was and, what I ultimately, in my solar plexus, am.

Now I direct plays, but I am an actor's director. Now that I am older and, therefore, younger than I was when I was younger and so old so many years ago, I have been granted my fondest wish: the company of actors.

Nothing could be more joyous.

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