Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wow. I'm published over at Indie Bloggers today. That's an awfully nice Valentine. I think that's actually better than the red Emu boots that just arrived in my cubicle--and cheaper!

And I was totally surprised when I got the email telling me this morning.

Like, floored.

Because, you see, for all the sass and brass and Damn-Right-I'm-Hot-ness that I espouse, the bottom line is that I've always been insecure about my talents.

Which segues so nicely into today's post...


Now, I know that I'm good at what I do. I just know, the same way that any other artist knows. And yet... and yet.

And yet we all need validation. Without it, we begin to doubt. After all, I've seen many, many individuals who are completely convinced they are outstanding actors when, in fact, they are simply god-awful.

Could I be equally deluded in my convictions? Perhaps. The possibility is always lurking at the back of my mind.

I blame High School.

As anyone who has ever participated in High School Theatre (or, say, seen "High School Musical") is aware, it is treacherous territory indeed. Teachers will have their favourites, no matter how much they feign impartiality, and if you don't happen to be one, well, you are pretty much shit out of luck.

I, as it happens, was not.

I was liked, but not loved. I refused to play The Game and suck up relentlessly to the directors--I wanted to be judged on talent and talent alone. Talent which I was absolutely certain I possessed.

Unfortunately, High School Theatre follows a somewhat different agenda. Which brings me to The Vamp.

The Vamp has been so-named because she could play sexy better than pretty much anyone I knew--ironic, considering her relative inexperience. I, on the other hand, considered feigning "sexy" to be beneath me. It must be noted that I took myself far too seriously as a teenager... but I was also disgusted by watching girls who played every character like a harlot, particularly because it worked. Like. A. Charm.

And so The Vamp, who was younger than I was, consistently beat me out of nearly every role I auditioned for. It was disheartening to say the least.

So I went away to college and continued pursuing the theatre--with, it must be noted, far greater success.

And now, a bit of exposition:

Every year the Kennedy Center for the Arts hosts the American College Theatre Festival, a symposium of the best and brightest American college theatre programs. Any college wishing to be considered can invite a judge to attend one (or more) of their productions. Not only do these judges consider the shows themselves for inclusion in the Festival, they also nominate 2 actors--one male, one female--to compete for the Irene Ryan acting scholarship.

My senior year, I earned a nomination. And so it was off to the regional finals, where several hundred college drama students took over a large hotel in Pittsburgh--and yes, meyhem certainly ensued.

We were each to prepare a monologue and a two person scene, and so we all brought a scene partner (a non-nominee) with us.

The morning of the first round of auditions arrived and I, of course, was lurking in the hallway awaiting my turn, doing my best not to betray the seething knot of nerves that had taken up residence in my abdomen. As I go over my monologue for the umpteenth time, I look up and who should be standing five feet away from me but The Vamp?

I hadn't seen her in four years. I waved and she came over and we chatted.

"So," I asked, "are you here for Irene Ryan?"

"Uh huh."

"So you were nominated too?"

"Oh, no, I'm just here as [some guy]'s scene partner..."

It was with some difficulty that I managed to surpress the enormous grin that threatened to burst across my face.


I didn't make it past that first round, nor did I expect to. While I had stopped taking myself quite so seriously, I still held fast to my No-Game-Playing rule. So instead of Shakespeare I did Sartre.

Each audition room had two judges and two "panelists" who had no say in the outcome, but would provide feedback to the auditioners. My panelists loved me. It seems that my judges did not.

And that is absolutely fine.

Because there, in that hallway, I finally got the validation I'd been seeking all those years.

Funny, I never thought I'd find it in Pittsburgh.



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For other tales of personal achievement, check out
this thread on 20Something Bloggers! Happy Valentine's Day!

9 comments:

brookem said...

Congrats on being on IB! I only just started reading your blog, but I think you're pretty awesome!

Jess said...

I saw (and loved) your post on IB this morning! Congrats on the validation! You deserve it!

Hope said...

Congrats on Indie Bloggers. I absolutely love that post!! Seriously. Especially the line,

"My romance is dark. And mysterious."

I feel the same way. Also, can I scoff with you?

P.S But just in case she might be right? Will you go out tonight? For me?

distractedspunk said...

A) I loved the post on IB. But you knew that.

B) Isn't it funny how validation comes in the strangest ways? I have a story like that too. Except mine involves the class bully. Go figure. :)

each of the two said...

thats because its Pittsburgh...

funny, i was also a theatre kid (still am) and i worked tons of those auditions/ competitions you actors were in (being a technician.
maybe i saw you sometime...

A Lil' Irish Lass said...

I added you to my Google Reader as soon as I read your post over at IB. I'm loving what I've read so far and will be sure to come back for more!

sequined said...

That's a great validation story. I love that not playing games and just working hard got the recognition you needed and deserved. Congrats on that and the IB post.

And Happy (late) Valentine's Day!

Deutlich said...

Dude! It really is funny how that works. Seriously.

And congrats on the IB thing!!!!

Princess Pointful said...

Congrats!! I loved that piece when you had it on here.
I used to act, too, in high school, and found the politics (and the money required) pretty draining.