The Blind Spot Diaries, Part I

Saturday marked my return to the fray of rehearsal. The show (Blind Spot) opens in eleven days. Eleven! It's very exciting and a little nerve wracking to be this close to having an audience. Up until now, this was just something sort of fun that was taking up all my free time, and it felt like my own personal project. Now I'm saying uh, Sara, you need to realize that we're going to have an audience, and that it matters how quickly you pick up my cues, and how well you're representing the playwrights' and director's vision, and this ain't just fun and games, baby. This whole experience has really affected me. I have not been writing about it here much, because it is hard to put into words. Essentially, I feel vulnerable and exposed, and pretty soon there will be a house full of people staring at me. So much of what these feelings are about are due to wondering if I can really pull off what I'm being asked to do. The characters I'm playing aren't the usual for me, normally I'm the comic relief. I love the feedback of making an audience laugh. Not hearing that in this show is killing me and makes me question what I'm doing. The director is so lovely, the kind of woman you want to sit with and hug and talk and share a bottle of wine with. But more than that, she's generous and kind, has wonderful vision about what this show is and communicates it clearly. At one point last month she must have smelled my fear or insecurity and looked me in the eyes and said to me "You need to realize that you are enough. You are enough." and she just about knocked me down. I'm taking that and putting it my pocket to hold on to as we get closer to opening. However, I'm the only one that can get myself to the point of feeling good about what I'm doing. I have one character (I'm playing 5 different women) that is really a challenge for me, and I'm struggling to get it just right. And time is running short to keep experimenting - I need to make some choices (Dare to suck!) and get to a place where I don't feel floundery. Just like when the scale ain't moving, you have to realize that only you can shake up your routine. In my heart, I know that I can play these parts and I know that it will be great fun and I know that I am lucky to be a part of a really creative show with really really talented people. I also need to remember that this director is so smart that she wouldn't have put me here if she didn't believe in me. Right? Right. So pipe down, negative self-talk, sheesh, we don't need you here.

I'm not putting this all out here to fish for compliments - I'm just recording some feelings. I too am a little disgusted by the insecurity - and hello, not helping me give a better performance. It feels good to purge this here - get rid of it and start working on feeling confident. Off I go!


Hanlie said...

You know what, I'm glad that this play is challenging you! We need to be challenged. And I'm sure you'll be perfect!

As I was reading this I kept thinking "maybe I should do something like this..." After all, I don't work and I don't have kids. Maybe I should ask around about amateur productions...

somebodys mother said...

I found your blog through diet naked. I went back and read it from the beginning. I had to laugh at how much we have in common. Dorine is my favorite role as well. I've battled my weight my whole life. I returned to the theater after an extended absence (much longer than yours) I was exactly where you are about a year and a half ago. After a 15 year absence I too decided to return to my first love, the theater. I went and auditioned at a theater my friend had taken me to a year previous. I had no designs on getting cast, just getting back into auditioning. At most I thought I might end up doing technical work on the show. As expected I was not cast, but the director thanked me for auditioning and asked please come and audition again. The standard thanks, but no thanks. A few weeks later I got a call from the director. One of the members of this ensemble cast show had to drop out due to medical problems and would I be still be interested in joining the cast. Yes, of course I would. I raced home got dinner ready for the fam and headed off to my first rehearsal. Full of fear, I was welcomed by the cast and jumped in with both feet. On my way home from that first rehearsal abject terror set in: This show opens in 2 1/2 weeks! You haven't done anything in 15 years! What were you thinking?
I ignored my fear and set to work being happy to be back in the theater. Exploring character, working scenes, learning from other performers. The process is what it's all about. During dress rehearsal week I had the exact same thoughts you are having now. This has all been so wonderful why do we need to spoil it by making me go up in front of an audience? Let go, let your character take over. And breathe. Don't forget to breathe. You'll be great and so will the show.
And just so you know, the same weekend as your show opens I will be opening in my 5th show for this director. Welcome back and break a leg.

Trisaratops said...

Oh my gosh, somebody's mother - what an incredible story! I am not doing myself any favors by freaking out - so you're right - I need to learn from others and breathe. It's like riding a bike, right? Thank you so much for the support!