Amateur! Amateur performance!
That is the latest face of my fear. Of course, no surprise. After any big success old voices and new come slithering to the surface to drag me under.
I have just finished callbacks and cast four wonderful actresses. I feel like one big happy family and we haven’t even started rehearsals yet. This is a weekend, long and unencumbered, when I can sit down and take a fresh look at the script based on insights that I’ve gained from the auditions.
I also have this amazing conceptual design for the set created by Yael Pardess and we are meeting at the Electric Lodge Theater to figure out the logistics. And as we are talking and she is sharing her vision, I can feel that shrinking happening.
It is a voice from who knows where that begins to question what I am creating, challenging my choices. The voice that questions what the hell I’m doing, spending all this money, for what? People will be bored, unimpressed, they will leave at intermission.
All I can say is thank goodness for the work I’ve been doing to be able to notice this voice and explore it rather than give in…
A few days ago, someone asked me what I envisioned for this piece when we were done with the run. I answered I’d love to have it picked up by a larger theater …. The Mark Taper, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where we could afford the full shebang of sets and costumes and music. There. Right there. That was the heart of it. In dreaming of the next incarnation I created a chasm between the future and where we were right now. The word ‘amateur’ came to mind.
And with that, tumbled a whole bunch of baggage. Because, who were we kidding? I was just a kid playing at theater. I had no idea what I was doing. Worse, they were throwing eggs and rotten tomatoes at me. Wow – can we spin a fear.
Turn on the light and take a closer look. Somewhere along the way, I created a big old story about doing this work. It went like this, “Only the truly talented succeed. You don’t really have that in you. You are just an amateur. That’s why you quit the first time around.” And it’s true, I did.
Because back then I didn’t believe in myself. Back then I wouldn’t take the risk of failing. Back then I wouldn’t leap into the void or need to prove my faith over and over again.
But that was then and this is now.
This time around I have no choice. I am playing the game. I am going for the brass ring. I am putting myself, my art, out there. I will risk, and leap and maybe fail. And I will ask everyone who joins the team to do the same. To give all of themselves, to the very best of their ability. Because, ultimately, that is all that we can do.
I recall Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote about entering the Arena, “who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,…”
So let that be my intention, my goal in undertaking this project, to ‘strive valiantly,’ and whether I succeed or fail (whatever that means) I will have done so with great daring.
p.s. Here is what I found as a definition of amateur: (French amateur “lover of”, from Old French and ultimately from Latin amatorem nom. amator, “lover”). Funny how that became ‘less than’ professional….
To daring greatly in all that we do.