Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A British Invasion

First, let me pass on my belated thanks to everyone who wrote or called to say that they liked the video. I know my contribution was extraordinarily small, so it was sweet that so many people were so complimentary and encouraging. Hopefully in the coming months I'll have more little successes to report. Fingers crossed!

I didn't get to thank you all earlier because I've been a busy little bee. We just experienced our 2nd wave of family this summer. Tim's dad, Ken and Ken's friend, Pat, came all the way from England to spend some time with us here in North Carolina.

They were in the state for nearly 2 weeks. They spent the first few days at the Yearly Meeting of the Quakers here in NC, then they stayed with us for a spell. This was Ken's first visit to NC and Pat's first time in the United States, so there was a LOT to see, but we tried not to overwhelm them too much. We spent a couple of days in the mountains ...

... and a couple hours by the ocean ...

... but most of our time was spent somewhere in between.

Not to worry. We let them relax some, too. Movies were watched. Card games were played. Chocolate chip cookies were consumed ... and buttermilk biscuits and homemade ice cream and every variation of tea imaginable. Sounds like a good vacation to me! If it sounds good to you, too, just let us know. Our guest room awaits!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Combating a case of wilt

I've been thinking for a couple of weeks that I should post a progress report on Project Bloom. There are a couple of reasons why I've been reluctant to talk about it.
1. For a long time, the news was all bad.
2. Lately I feel weird about talking intimately about myself. Photos are great, but when I think about writing about myself here, I kinda freeze up.
But I'm going to get over that because I know that some of you really care. So here goes.

June was a tough month. As soon as the family went away, Tim and I were forced to confront some ugly realities. He had applied for a job he really wanted, but had not gotten it. More than a month had passed since my audition in front of those 13 directors and not a single one had called back. I joked that it was our Spring of Rejection and tried to make it seem like we'd bounce back and we'd be fine, but in reality I took it very badly. This was no ordinary bout of rejection for us. It was a turning point. It was as if the world was telling us that we were no long good enough ... that we'd reached our peak and were now experiencing the long, painful decent into uselessness. This was made worse when I met a couple other people who had been trying for quite some time to break into the local theatre scene and who had been unsuccessful. "Too clique-y" one said. "Too much competition from transplanted professional actors," said another. Then one night we went to The Monti and the woman who auditioned right before me - the woman whose one-minute monologue stretched to four - stood up and told a story. Her bio listed all of her amazing accomplishments: her job as a college professor, her multiple professional acting and singing gigs, her appearances on NPR, and (of course) the one-woman show she had in the works. How could I - a lowly housewife from Oklahoma - compete with that? Everything began to appear pretty damn bleak. I felt hopeless.

I began to slip into a deep depression - the kind of darkness I haven't felt since 2003. I stayed in bed. I didn't get dressed. I easily went a whole week without leaving our house. I cried and cried and screamed at Tim and cried again. I didn't know who I was anymore. I didn't know what to do with the rest of my existence. Frankly, I began to think that there wasn't much point to my existence. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you've ever experienced depression, you know that it is extremely illogical. That doesn't stop it from being painful, though.

Luckily, I recognized the symptoms and they scared me into action. I know that deep dark well of depression - I lived there for quite a while in the early part of this decade - and I'd really REALLY rather not live there again. So I forced myself to get up. I made myself leave the house. And when I got an e-mail informing me that a local theater company was holding a one-day class on cold readings, I signed up for it. I still had my weak moments and I almost talked myself out of going to the class. But I stuck with it. I forced myself to go.

To be honest, the class was not my shining moment. I'm out of practice. Plus, I was paired up with a less-than-ideal scene partner. But after the class, I stuck around and talked to the instructor, Jay. He teaches acting at Duke plus he's the co-founder and Artistic Director of two theater companies in town that have caught my attention. We chatted for about 5 minutes, during which he asked if I would be available to appear in a promotional video for a local bookstore.

That's right. He offered me an acting job. Not a big one, mind you. No lines or anything. I would play a factory worker amongst a lot of other factory workers. But it was something! He had tossed a crumb of nourishment at my starving soul! So of course, I happily accepted the offer.

Last Thursday we shot the commercial. I woke up that morning with a raging infection in my right eye, but there was no way I was missing this! I knew I looked freakish so I was too shy to make friends with the other dozen girls. I feel bad for missing out on that opportunity. But it was still fun! It only took us about 30 minutes to shoot our scene. To thank us for our time, the bookstore gave each of us a $20 gift certificate. All this and free books, too? Woo hoo!

And luckily, Jay - the instructor/director/AD guy - has been extremely warm and encouraging and welcoming. I doubt I'll be on-stage anytime soon, but I feel like I have an opening. I have a chance to be a part of something more. I'm still a little reticent, but I also feel a spark of hope that I haven't felt in a long long time. It's a good feeling.

Enough dilly-dallying! The promotional video was sent out today, so I'm posting it here. You'll notice me at the 28 second mark. Enjoy!

Just Around the Corner from Jim Haverkamp on Vimeo.