Last June I stepped off the stage with a strong commitment to take a break from theater.
I think the higher level me – what some of my friends would call the higher conscious self – was aware a crash was coming. The everyday Julie didn’t know that right around the corner lurked my personal equivalent of a plane crash followed by an earthquake and fire all at once.
It was such a personal plane crash-earthquake-fire many of my closest friends and my family don’t even know about the specifics of what happened. That is how I am keeping it for now because that is what works for me.
In the last year I learned this: you just don’t dust yourself off after a plane crash, earthquake and fire. It takes time and deliberate action and sometimes you have to leave things and people you love behind while you focus on restitching the seams on your coat or restocking the refrigerator or getting the burns off the end of your hair cut into some semblance of tolerable.
Tonight is closing night for Reckless a play by Craig Lucas at the Empty Space Theater here in Bakersfield. When it comes to closing nights, I am extra… looking for the words… conscious of the “coming to an end of a collaborative work” part of it.
Since I went on my theater break last June, I have been extra careful about what I commit myself to do: I want to be sure each show fits a certain criteria. I cut myself off from audition notices and theater notices because I know I will be tempted by such things that perhaps don’t fit this criteria but I might be attracted to do, anyway.
I did two shows in March: completely insane to do, but they weren’t originally scheduled the way they ended up being scheduled. I don’t recommend anyone do simultaneous tech weeks. I was asked to audition for these plays by the Directors and I loved them and the people involved with them very much but it was like not eating for months and then having a mammoth chocolate Sunday as your first meal.
I withdrew again.
My friend, Michelle, asked me if I was going to audition for Reckless and I said no. I was on a break from auditioning. I needed space, I couldn’t do the theater thing right now, I told her. Sometimes life helps us make the right choices even when we plan for something else.
The director of Reckless, my dear friend Bob, wrote me an email after the initial read through of the play, wondering if I would be willing to take a very small role in it because one of his actors had dropped out. He mentioned the part I would play and I asked about dates for the play and lo and behold the pieces snapped into place.
Michelle, my friend who wanted me to audition in the first place, became my scene partner. Every night we step into the alley behind the theater and work through our scene. Every night we do this just to insure our confidence is high and to work out any marble-mouthed kinks in our performance.
There have been so many bonuses with this show: I not only play a ridiculously fun character, I looked forward to be in a cast with people who I enjoy. And now, as we close, I enjoy them even more than when we started. This is rare for me.
Tonight I will step off the same stage I stepped off from last June. I am a much stronger version of the-me-back- then. I feel better than I have in at least six years or seven years.
This version of me gives herself space to say, “I hurt when endings come and go. I hurt to know I may never see these people again and in fact probably will never see these same people assembled again. It hurts to let go of the collaboration we created here.”
The gentle-strong me doesn’t like that.
The gentle-strong me knows it is inevitable.
The gentle-strong me is beyond words grateful to be able to create and feel and have one last audience to perform for tonight.
The gentle-strong me is still not looking for auditions. I’ll sit it out until another Director calls me and says, “Hey, are you able to…….?”
If it fits, I’ll commit my whole self to whatever character I am privileged to play.
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© 2012 by Julie Jordan Scott
Julie Jordan Scott has been a Life & Creativity Coach, Writer, Facilitator and Teleclass Leader since 1999. She is also an award winning Actor, Director, Artist and Mother Extraordinaire. She was twice the StoryTelling Slam champion in Bakersfield. She leads Writing Camp with JJS & this Summer will be traveling throughout the US to bring this unique, fun filled creative experience to the people wherever she finds the passion & the interest.
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