Sunday, January 13, 2008


I'm back — kind of.

In looking back over my previous ramblings, I'm struck by a number of recurring themes. One of them was attrition. I suspect it was largely my own fear of becoming "just another casualty" that probably had me ruminating on it time and again. And now I find myself standing at the precipice.

I can't say that I've lost my love of acting. Far from it. I've just had a certain amount of Life (and/or the pain that comes with it) during the past couple of years that has me thinking — perhaps for the first time ever — that I want some things more than an acting career.

What's really peculiar is that the "career" I had at the time I left off with my last blog entry hasn't diminished substantially in the intervening time. Check that: actually it has diminished substantially — everyone's has (the market in Chicago sucks right now). But I can't say it's diminished any more than it would have had the events of the last couple of years not happened. I'm still exclusively represented by the same agents, I still land as many union jobs per year as I guess most of my peers do, I finally qualified for a pension from the Screen Actors Guild when I retire, and I'm not on bad terms with any of my old friends and acquaintances. So it's not like it's a matter of not being able to "cut it". Strangely, my thoughts have very little to do with disappointment or anger or whatever over my level of accomplishment.

But I'm literally overwhelmed at the moment with describing what it's been like to have moved, during the past two years, so far afield from the focus my life used to have.

I know already this is going to be the suckiest blog entry I've ever made, but hey, it beats silence (if ever so slightly).

I forget at the moment whether I've mentioned this before, but I remember my first fairly long theatre contract following graduate school. It was a repertory situation, and each show ran for 6-7 weeks. I remember thinking during graduate school that I couldn't conceive why people asked any of our "visiting artists" — Broadway actors, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Mabou Mines, etc. — the recurring question "How do you keep a show fresh when you've been doing it for months/years/as long as you have?" (I mean, it's the most exciting, rewarding thing in the world to do with your time, right? So why waste time asking questions about keeping it fresh?) Well, after doing rep for a year, I began to understand.

I'd never before experienced weariness at the end of a run. I'd never before experienced a show growing stale, or doing a role by rote. I hadn't ever experienced a lot of things I discovered that year. And it just royally pissed me off to discover I wasn't so exceptional that I wasn't prone to the same dynamics as everyone else. Not only that, so full of impatient hubris was I back at the Conservatory that I hadn't been listening to our many visiting professionals, so I actually found myself wondering at times how I was ever going to keep this show I was in fresh.

So now I find myself dealing with a dynamic I've never experienced before, and I guess I am, once again, just royally pissed. I never thought this would happen to me. Ever.

More later.