Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It used to be about trying to do something, you see...

now it's about trying to BE someone...IRON LADY

That struck a real chord with me...I think that sometimes we lose focus...all of us...about what life and living is all about. I suppose you could take the above statement two different ways, but I take it to mean that when we are trying to DO things: to create art; sing a song, write a poem, help out our neighbor, making dinner for someone who is sick or watching a friend's kids at a moment's notice...we are doing...something. But when we get lost in trying to BE someone: the star, the award nominee, the President of the club, the mother of the year; the winner of the race...we may lose the very reason why we want to be those things. I am not saying that we shouldn't aspire to BE the doctor or lawyer or President...I just would like to think that if we did a check-in every once in a while as to WHY we want to be that thing, maybe we would do things a bit differently or realize it is the journey and not the destination that is most important.

I know that for a very long time I was miserable because I felt like I should be on Broadway and my dream was to win a Tony Award. Now believe me, I've still got my acceptance speech in my back pocket but I don't aspire to be a Tony Winner or star. Instead, I really try to enjoy the work when I get it...the process...the "something" that I am doing and it means so much. Not that I would turn down Broadway or an award, but I am not trying to be an actor with that goal driving me. I am trying to be an actor because I want to act...I want to sing...I want to work on new material and wonderful old material. For me, in my craft, I am excited by the process as much as I am by the product. I can honestly say that all of the projects in the past several years, from stage to TV to film have been a great joy and challenge, and luckily, or maybe because of the joy in the work...the outcomes were pretty great too!

I was asked by a dear friend (and one of the most gifted directors and teachers I have had the good fortune to know and work with), if I would come play in the sandbox with her and one of her students on a scene from a favorite musical of mine. I haven't been able to do much acting (other than an occasional audition) since the fall and so just being present, in a space, working on some dialogue and listening to the perspectives of this bright student and this brilliant mentor...well, it was like magic for me.

Then I came home and screened the movie A BETTER LIFE (one of the perks of being a SAG member is getting to screen movies that are nominated for the SAG Awards). I didn't know what the film was about but I must say it really upset me...for me, it deals with man's inhumanity toward man and that is probably my BIGGEST issue in life. It is the thing that upsets me most; that I have the least patience with; that I get angry over. Whether it be people getting away with terrible things or simply driving irresponsibly to the detriment of others. In any case, it made me think about a few things. 1) how fortunate am I to work in a craft of creativity where, for the most part, it is all about collaboration and support (at least that has been a great deal of my experience). 2) when you realize that many people are just fighting to put food on the table and raise a child to have a better life than they did...well...the gratitude I feel for my life and my support system and my art is multiplied exponentially.

I guess this post has deviated from its starting point but then again...such is life. At least it begins with a movie and ends with a movie!

I would like to think that as I get ready to move to Los Angeles in 11 days that I am trying to DO something...and not just as an actor, but as a human being. I wish that for all of us.

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