Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fake It 'Til You Make It

I love those moments when I am taken down a peg.  When I realize that we're supposed to laugh at ourselves and not take everything so seriously.

Yesterday, I took my son to his best friend's house.  His friend wasn't home, but within minutes of his mom answering the door bell, he came huffing and puffing up his driveway, having run from a neighbor's house a mile down the street.  "I heard Mrs. Paul's voice" he said.

Apparently, it travels well. 

It's one thing I've never had to worry about with acting - my projection.  Sound level, check.  Costume, check.  Memorization, checkish. Tony Award winning performance ... that's where the questions creep in.

The insecurities of theatre extend far and wide.  Actors thrive on audience reactions - which vary  depending on the time, day of the week, and proximity of performance to a bar. The happier the audience, the better the show.

Then there's the false confidence. When you think, I've nailed this. You envision yourself through the audience's eyes. In my current show, I play a prim and proper secretary to Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll.  I've got my pearls and white gloves and lilting Southern drawl.  I imagine the audience comparing my character to Jackie Kennedy or Doris Day.

And then the photographer comes and takes pictures of your performance.  And you realize that you do not look like a Steel Magnolia, but a Jersey Cow passing unexpected gas in a pasture.

After experiencing the horror of the variety of grimaces and snorks the photographer has captured, you breathe and remind yourself that it's just a show and all these expressions add to your character's charm.  And that you can't change the size of the lips or the shape of your snout. 

But, at least I know, without any hesitancy or a moment's doubt, that there is nothing I have done or will ever do, that is as uncomfortably bad as this:

Until next time, keep crowin'!

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