Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trodding the Boards Once Again...

I was an actor long before I called myself a writer.  I trained and I studied, and I'm still shelling out money to pay for graduate school, and yes I have a degree and everything that says I presumably know what I'm doing when I get up on stage.  So why haven't I gotten up on stage in ______ amount of years?  Because...well...because now I'm a writer and I don't have to.

I switched things up about ten years ago and I found as I got older, I liked being on the other side of the footlights.  I liked being behind the scenes as a writer, director, teacher and coach.  I still like it.  And sometimes I'm amazed when I recall the things I did in front of an audience.  It took a lot of courage and I suppose there was a time I felt fearless.  And then that feeling went away, and I metaphorically took out the cozy sweater with patches on the elbows, and the pipe and I sat behind my computer and wove my tales that I would allow others to tell onstage.  And I was comfortable with that.

Until now. GULP!

I have the opportunity to present a short play that I wrote a few years ago.  I love this piece.  It is so....ME.  And since it is so me, I have decided (with the director's blessing) that I will return to the stage and be part of the cast. Oy vey.  Just saying this out loud sends a flock of seagulls flapping their wings furiously inside my belly.  Do I really want to do this?  Yes.  No.  Yes. Is the return to acting just like riding a bicycle?  Yes. No. Yes.  No...I don't know.

First rehearsal is this weekend.  I'm tickled at the thought of performing again. Petrified at the thought of performing again.  But I'm going through with it.  I need to test my boundaries every now and then and push myself outside my comfort level.  That sweater with the patches is getting way too comfortable...so I'm challenging myself to return to my roots and see if the ol' gal still has it in her.

Let me know what you think.  Tell me I'm crazy.  Tell me I've lost my mind.  Or tell me to break a leg.  I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Keep Laughing If You Can...

"Comedy, is tragedy plus time."
~Woody Allen

It is very good to have a sense of humor in this life.  Otherwise, the world could really beat you down.  Translating that sense of humor into your creative life is even better.  I completely agree with Mr. Allen about the passage of time helping to illuminate the levity in certain situations.  We, as individuals, are constantly experiencing crises both large and small.  Some are of tragic proportions; others,  minor slips in the passages of our lives.

Depending upon the circumstances, we might be able to laugh at things that once seemed catastrophic.  Other times, the tragedies we have endured, can never be lightened by time.  Their memory may become bittersweet, or bring tears to our eyes, but some can often make us laugh when we recall an event we once thought was tragic and now is truly laughable.

Like the time I lied to my 2nd grade class and told them I had won a sweepstakes and I was going to have a walk-on part on a popular television show. My entire family and I were going to fly to Hollywood, California and I was going to be a star.

I basked in the attention.  I was glowing.  Until I arrived home to see my mother's stern face.  She asked me if I had something to tell her.  I said "No."  She said, "Really?  Because Mrs. Palouso called to congratulate us and wish us a safe trip to California."  Oops...Mom was pissed!

Of course, she made me go to school the next day even though I was convinced I was going to die from stomach pains.  She insisted I tell the class it was all a ruse...a flat-out lie...a call for attention.  I had made the whole thing up.  I could swear I saw my teacher smile as I copped to the truth.  I don't think my classmates were too mad.  I think they thought it was funny.  I thought it was tragic.  

But all these years later, I think it's hysterical.  I mean, let's put perspective on it, right?  At 8 years old, this was tragic.  To have to apologize to my entire 2nd grade class?  To have to stand before them and admit fraud?  I'm surprised I didn't grow up to be a politician!  But no...I am a writer.  So it's not surprising that my personal history includes making up far-fetched dramatic stories such as that one.

Comedy.  Tragedy plus time.  So if you're going through some difficulties right now, hold on.  Grin and bear it.  Because one day, you might be able to laugh at your sorrow.  And if nothing else, it might make a really good story!