Friday, August 26, 2011

"And, In The End..."

Today is Jarrah's last day of camp, and they're off to the bowling alley. We were instructed to send her with "$5.00 for the snack bar and vending machines." Good to know she'll be having a nutritious lunch. Today is also the last day--possibly ever--that I'll teach my Nia class in Studio 2, the "big" studio--declining numbers have finally forced the hand of the very sweet fitness director, and she's a love not to cancel it altogether--instead I'll be moving into the much smaller (and oddly-shaped) Studio 3.

So, it feels like the end of things, but in the way of Septembers every year, also the beginning. Next week we'll find out who Jarrah's first grade teacher will be, and the week after that, we're back to the soul-sucking 7:45 a.m. start that so delighted me throughout kindergarten. She's a little smarter and savvier and taller all the time, and I watch in awe as she starts to look like an adolescent instead of a little girl. Luckily, she's still as innocent as a rainbow, caring only about playing, candy, Phineas and Ferb and whether or not all eyes are focused on her and her needs at all times. We'll let her hold onto those illusions a while longer, shall we?

It's been a weird week, and I've been up, down and out of sorts, often in the same hour. Last Saturday we had a big night at 48 Hour Film Project Best of San Diego, where Sublime Intervention and Cane Toad Productions took home Best Sound Design (so awesome that our main sound technician was 12-year-old Julianna) and--gasp!--Runner-Up Best Film 2011! That was a first for us, though it does--some wise folks have pointed out--leave us room for improvement. But from the 31st of July through the 20th of August we've been pretty absorbed by all things film-related, and it's hard to give up that buzz, especially when each stage has been a new accomplishment.

After a week of 3 a.m. bedtimes, I anticipated a fallow spell when I'd just lay about and eat bon-bons, but it was not to be. This Monday I auditioned (with six friends) for the North Park Playwright Festival, which was definitely one of the wackiest nights I've ever spent, and I mean that in a good way. For nearly three hours, I perched in a packed 90-degree house, giant, ineffectual fan kicking up a fuss behind us, and performed monologues, improv and scenes to a whooping crowd and 15 (!) furiously note-taking directors, all focused on their dream casts for the 28 playlets that will compose the festival. Something about it felt like those movie scenes of theater in Shakespearean times, where the patrons are shouting and lifting flagons of mead throughout the performance, while the performers shout over the din and try not to get set on fire from the torches illuminating the stage.

The next night, I auditioned for a big, juicy, leading lady role at a theater I've never worked with before. I wouldn't have gone, for a few reasons--I couldn't find a babysitter until the 11th hour, the play had only ONE female role, and she is written as TWENTY-SEVEN--but my pal Jessica was going and eventually I decided it was good experience with low stakes. For these reasons, I was completely relaxed, but did manage to bring out some x-treme waterworks in a smackdown with ONE of my suitors (the audition was cold reads from the script), giving myself a splitting headache on the spot. I was hideously embarrassed, but I guess it was okay because I got a call on my way home asking me to return the next night.

The problem here is that I never, ever expected a callback, but once I got one, I allowed myself to get excited about the part. I mean, let's face it: directors are not exactly passing out ingenue parts to the likes of me. This character would be on stage the whole time, has a massive emotional arc, love scenes, hits all the high points. So I got excited. Damn.

When I went back the next night, the guy she was clearly favoring for the splashy male lead had brought his own actress friends for the first time, and he didn't acknowledge me at all. That was already a bad sign. One of the gals he brought was the lead in another big, juicy play I tried out for in fall. That didn't seem good, either. I actually have no idea how my scene went. I mean, that's not quite true--I did what I wanted to do. I had read the play and thought I understood the scene well. Whether that came across or not, I can't say.

Or maybe there were factors at work that I can't know, or that have little to do with me. At any rate, all the women were dismissed early, and I somehow knew this was a bad sign for me (and possibly them, but definitely me.) When I hadn't gotten a call by the end of that night, I knew that couldn't be good, either. The actual call came the next day, while I was out to lunch with a friend--the producer saying they were going in a different direction. For about two hours, I was heartbroken. Mostly because I was stupid enough to get my hopes up.

I forgot to mention that I got a call offering me a part in the Playwrights Festival as I was leaving for that callback. So yesterday I met with the director--she is awesome--and accepted it. She said she was thrilled because she'd gotten her first choice in casting me. That made me feel nice.

I've been thinking about this Mary Chapin Carpenter song lately that I used to love. It's called "The Bug:"

Sometimes you're the windshield
Sometimes you're the bug
Sometimes it all comes together, baby
Sometimes you're a fool in love
Sometimes you're the Louisville slugger
Sometimes you're the ball
Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes you're gonna lose it all

And that's what these last couple weeks have felt like. Extreme highs and lows. As I was driving--a very long way--to my callback on Wednesday, I realized I was vibrating with terror, every bit of me, from my guts to my bones to my skin. And I asked myself, "Why do this? Why do something that feels so incredibly horrible?" And I had to admit to myself: "Because even when it feels bad, it feels good." When you love something, you can't separate the hideous from the sublime. They feed each other. And you just have to close your eyes and jump.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

You are fearless.