Monday, April 25, 2011

My First Play

The phrase "Postpartum Depression" comes to mind as I think about my first play. I know this sounds a bit negative, but as I was writing in my journal that's exactly how I felt. These last two weeks have been so intense and full of anxiety it was equivalent to the nine months of pregnancy. I was excited about the end result of all the preparation and sacrifice it required. Lack of sleep, headaches, and loss of appetite were a few symptoms that accompanied my anxiety. Not to mention I was still recovering from strep throat. Now that I gave birth to my first play, I've been running as far as away, from that 75 page script and any mention of the play, as possible. I've been wondering if this is normal or if I wore myself out with the double duty of actress and project manager. I'm probably just so exhausted physically and mentally from all the commitment it required up front that I just need a break. I'll get back to the theatre world tomorrow with a new 27 page script to study. The director is running two plays simultaneously so I have a role in this one as well. At some point they will both run in NYC together and that will surely make my head spin but I'm ready for it or I will be ready for it. Today my brain can't handle anymore scripts. I'm reading my monologue at our Open Mic tonight but thank God I already have that embedded into my memory. Whew!

I suppose I should mention some details about the experience so you can understand why I'm exhausted. The play is a tour first of all, so the first show was in Virginia and the travel alone was draining. As Project Manager, I was responsible for keeping tabs on the cast to ensure everyone arrived to the theatre. The original lead character backed out of the play at the last minute which left the understudy to perform. I believe this was his first play as well and Lord Have Mercy on him because it was very apparent. I remember at one point doing tech rehearsal, hours before the show, I was almost to tears with frustration. This guy struggled to memorize his lines and it made for a very challenging rehearsal for a newbie like me. It's not enough to have your lines memorized in this situation, I had to be prepared to feed him cues to get him back on track with his lines. At one point he went completely blank and just walked off stage and I froze. How can you feed lines to your scene partner if they're running off stage? Thank goodness it was rehearsal, so the fact that I just stood there like a deer caught in headlights wasn't so bad. I learned from that experience QUICK and brainstormed ways to improvise if it happened again. Thankfully by the time the first show started, he had most of his lines down and the cast as a whole improvised throughout the hour and a half show to feed him cues for his lines. This was a rough start to my theatre career but I'm glad to start with a challenge, so anything less than this will be a walk in the park. I was more nervous during rehearsals than I was during the two shows, weird but hey it was all a learning experience. My challenge moving forward will be to find a balance between the commercial and drama worlds. I pretty much shut down my schedule to anything other than this play last week and I don't have the luxury of doing that each time I have a show. God has blessed me financially so it was cool this time around.

Overall, I truly enjoyed the experience and did a pretty good job. I'm ready to submit myself to more projects and see where this road leads. I'm sure my feelings of postpartum will be short lived and I'll be eager to get back on the stage in no time. Up next is a commercial shoot this Thursday and I'm glad to be working in my comfort zone this week. My brain hurts and I need an easy breezy week. I'm off to prepare for my monologue reading.

Peace yall!

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