In addition to usual nerves, I am particularly jittery because the woman whom my character is based on has traveled from New York to see the show and will be sitting in the audience to hear her story told onstage. No pressure! I wonder if she is feeling nervous, too.
As an actor, I try my best to shed all traces of ME when I perform, and yet I find that I can't help but bring parts of myself with me. Today, I bring with me joy from the amazing afternoon I spent enjoying lilacs at the park with my husband this weekend. I am carrying some physical discomfort from a recent trip to the dentist. Also present is frustration over somehow missing a credit card payment and getting slammed with a late fee. It's not all pretty, but hey, it's honest.
I fiercely believe that artists don't have to be depressed, lonely, addictive souls--that happy people can make things, too. But I'm realizing more and more than it's not a requirement to be problem-free, completely balanced, and totally at peace in order to make something magnificent. After all, who do you know that fits into that category, all the time? In fact, it's probably more realistic to be a bit messy in our approach to creating, bringing all the pieces of ourselves with us to perform onstage--whoever we are that day and whatever we may be carrying. It's not good or bad, but just part of who we are in the world at this moment. If our goal is to create a real person onstage, why can't we be unafraid of the very real human beings we are?
Bring it all with you, and trust that it will be put to good use. See you on the other side of the show!