Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13 – Day 87

Well, it is over. Our final shows were today and soon this will all be a blurry memory. I have had all these fantasies about how this moment would feel, the final bow, holding hands with my classmates under the dim blue light, and while my fantasies are always vivid they are rarely accurate. Such was the case as I stood there at curtain call, stunned, trying to stuff back the tears, not of joy or nostalgia but disappointment. I had been hoping to round out my time here with my best performance yet and I guess I took for granted that it would be difficult. I got out there and the opening moment that usually kills was met with the sound of crickets. From that point on I felt like I was struggling, a feeling that has become unfamiliar as of late. The fan I use throughout the entire scene didn’t get set onstage and for the first few moments of the scene I felt like I had lost a limb. There were sections that clicked but I didn’t feel the ease I usually maintain. Despite the fact that my scene partner, who might be one of the best and is definitely the most giving actor with whom I have ever worked, knocked it out of the ball park, I felt like it was the worst performance I had ever given. People kept coming up to congratulate me but I just couldn’t deal. I was so upset and I hated myself for crying. I felt ridiculous. Jenna tried to comfort me by telling me that in the end it really didn’t matter and rationally I knew this to be true but I couldn’t stop from feeling horrible. I hate that irrational feeling so much now, when I can understand in my mind that I shouldn’t be upset but my heart won’t give in. I asked Jenna why that was - was I just missing some internal component that makes the feelings stop when the mental realization kicks in but she reassured me that things just take time. Luckily, I feel like Russia has given me the ability to speed up that process and things that wound no longer wound as deeply or for as long. It is perspective I guess. So I decided to go home and look for some. All of our final performances were video taped, except ironically enough for my final scene because the camera died the moment I got onstage. Fortunately, someone had recorded the scene on my camera and while the quality wasn’t as great, at least I would be able to assess the damage. I locked myself in my room and put on my headphones to watch with utter breathlessness the work I had created but halfway through the piece I just had to stop. I was laughing too hard, at the scene because it was actually funny and at myself for being such an idiot. Lexi had told me during my fit of disillusionment that if that was the worst I had ever done then that was pretty amazing because it was so great. I, of course, figured she was just saying what you have to say when someone bombs but as I watched it I had to admit she was right. There was some really great stuff in there. Yes, there were moments that didn’t work as well as they could have but it was a really good scene. And then came the epiphany of all epiphanies. What happens when you realize that your own insecurities are ridiculous, when you have to admit that you actually have talent and can no longer hide behind fear. I called Jenna into my room and stared at her with a dazed sort of enlightenment. ‘I am a moron,’ I said. I came to Russia hoping to find myself and I feel like I found so much more. I can’t beat myself up any longer and hide behind my insecurities. Oh don’t get me wrong, I am sure I probably will, at least to an extent, but I don’t have anymore lies to tell myself. I came here feeling, ugly and unstable, irrational and untalented. I felt like I was weak and broken and I hated who I had become. Three months in Russia has toughened me up. It has shown me that I have beauty, no matter what someone tries to make me feel. I feel more solid, like I am finally in control of all this passion and emotional content that drives me rather than being at its mercy. And now, I have to admit, even when I when I feel like I am at my worst, I am good. I have talent. After years of living in Los Angeles, feeling like I had no right to claim the title, I can say that I am an actor – I am an artist, with all the responsibility and conviction that implies.