An imperfect circle

April 27, 2010 at 11:23 pm (Uncategorized)

As usual, I have things to do, and as usual, I’m putting them off. Not too surprising.

The whole Grease process, and the run especially, has gotten me to thinking. Why do I act? It’s certainly fun, but that seems a superficial reason. There are only so many times in our lives that we can truly feel. I don’t mean to say that life isn’t real, the present moment is perhaps the most important thing one can focus on. No, I mean that for the most part we stay within a normal range of human emotion, small peaks and valleys. It’s like a seismometer when there isn’t any seismic activity. Sometimes, though, we have an emotional earthquake. Something that rocks us, makes us scream or laugh or cry or whatever. Those moments are temporary, and though they may leave marks on us, they fade over time. Theatre lets us live in those moments as many times as we would like. We can dive into the ocean of emotion stored within ourselves and swim around, and then get out when we like. In “real life” when one feels emotions, it is often as though someone had tied a block of concrete to your foot and tossed you in the water. You don’t have any control. Acting is jumping in, but having control. You can come and go as you please, in your little boat of normalcy.

And it is exhilarating, jumping in. Once you start, you can’t stop. You feel the metaphorical waves beneath you, and the temperature is always just right. It’s a little scary, really. I couldn’t stop acting if I tried. Most of us can’t. And even for those who perhaps do not act in the conventional sense, we all play out scenarios in our mind that all of a sudden become real. Guess what? You just jumped in. You pull yourself out again and wonder how it happened. On stage, though, you can become someone else, something else…you can feel all the feelings you’ve ever felt before and ones previously unknown. All it takes is a little imagination and a whole lot of heart.

So where am I going with this? I guess it’s to say that I have “the acting bug.” I don’t really like that term…though the insinuation that acting is an incurable disease is not without its merits. I love politics…the drama, the intrigue, the implications for our future and the thrill of prognosticating about what policies will do, but somewhere in my heart will always be a quiet call to stand front and center in front of a packed house. Do I regret switching to political science? Never. Sometimes at night, though, I close my eyes and there is nothing but cheers and a spotlight on me, as I pour out emotions in song.

The best feeling in the world is singing a song, being in the music, and finishing to find that the audience is crying. I have never found anything more gratifying, and I doubt that I will. There is something base, something very primitive, about connecting to other human beings on such a strong level. It’s comparable to a sporting event, where one can feel the energy of a crowd, a 100,000 people united in a common purpose. The only thing about that is that passionate anger is easy. People gathered together in appreciation of the beauty of life…that’s a little more rare.

I am slightly envious of those who choose to make theatre their life, for I know it will be one that is in search for beauty and truth. The rest of us seek the truth as well, but in ways I feel are less direct. All roads lead to the self, and to know the self, to swim into the depths of that ocean and understand the currents…that is to know enlightenment. There is so much talent and so much truth in the people I work with that I am impressed and edified every day.



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