Every year, often quarterly, I notice a small void between performance-related activities and idiotically dive into a vortex of emotional self-abuse. It starts with a broad, all-encompassing, “I’m not doing enough as a performer!” and twists and whirls its way into a tight, frenzied, “Why am I kidding myself?! – I’m past my prime! – I used to be moderately good, and now I’m just a lazy-good-for-nothing-egotist-with-a-ridiculously-inappropriate-sense-of-entitlement!” It ultimately whittles down to a quantum-level slide through the fabric of reality as we know it, into an alternate plane of absolutes – “I don’t EVER do ANYTHING! EVER! My vocation is a JOKE! People are STARVING and DYING, and I’m panicking about my weight!” followed by inconsolable tears and self-loathing.
As if there ever was any doubt whatsoever – I am the stereotypical “needy” actor. If I remember correctly, my last director opted for the term “psychotic.” Lovingly. It’s important to remind myself of this, lest I wind back up in the downy comfort of denial – “no, no –I’m different. I hate needy actors. I consider myself one of the few performers who can actually function normally in civilized society.” Because man, that warm blanket is co-ZY. And it is a harsh awakening to have that ripped off the bed. Which happens. A lot.
In times like these I’ve learned that my calendar is one of scant wormholes back to this particular reality (and God bless Moleskine). An hour spent with my little black book, a pad of paper, and a pen is easily worth several weeks of therapy. I leaf through, page by page, writing down all my performance projects since the start of the year. That said, I invite you to join me in an exercise for sanity – behold this year’s accomplishments, thus far:
1/04/08 – Voice-over gig for the Kansas City Lottery
1/07/08 – Joined AFTRA
1/28/08 – Voice-over gig for LifeTime Fitness
2/07/08 – (and onward) Performed in the Twin Cities Chekhov Festival
2/23/08 – Performed “Mrs. Man of God” in Columbus, Ohio
3/01/08 – Performed as the Red Carpet host for the Shack Nasty Costume Ball
3/24/08 – Performed in a round-table reading at The Playwrights’ Center
4/06/08 – Performed via video in Gremlin Theater’s “Everywhere Signs Fall”
4/21/08 – Performed in a round-table reading at The Playwrights’ Center
4/30/08 – Voice-over gig for Landscape Structures Inc’s GlobalReleaf Project
5/07/08 – Voice-over gig for Cellular South
5/10/08 – Performed as a defendant in Faegre + Benson’s mock trials
5/12/08 – Performed in a round-table reading at The Playwrights’ Center
6/11/08 – Voice-over gigs (two) for Target (HP Pavilion and Toshiba Laptops)
7/11/08 – (and onward) Performed in “Slasher,” as part of The Playwrights’ Center’s annual PlayLabs series
8/11/08 – (and onward) Rehearsed for + performed in “Wellstone!”
9/05/08 – Voice-over gig for Kona Grill
10/07/08 – Performed in a round-table reading at The Playwrights’ Center
10/29/08 – Voice-over gigs (seven) for General Mills’ Totino’s Pizza products
11/16/08 – Begin rehearsals for and performance in “A Christmas Story” in St. Croix Falls, WI
Add to that nine other “close calls” and castings that didn’t work out due to schedule conflicts, and that’s not a bad year. Big breath in…..ahhhhhhh, reality. So nice to be home.