Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
So last night I started to perform a premiere of one of my TML plays and then, in the parlance of American football, I shanked the kick wide.
It was brutal. I just stood there with my mind completely blank, searching desperately for words that I had managed to produce during the rehearsal, during the lengthy memorization process, during almost every other time that evening except for when it really mattered. I had the technician restart the music and lights. I tried again. I didn’t get any farther. It was like there was a bridge out in my head, and the rest of the text was on the other side, completely inaccessible. I couldn’t even come up with vamp to fill the space until the play came back. I had absolutely nothing. We ended up halting the play entirely, and tried to go back to it later, with me holding the script. The timer went off in the middle of this attempt.
The last time I so profoundly went up on my lines like that was at an audition, three years ago. It felt somewhat similar; I remember being stricken with panic and a sudden feeling of exposure, like I had no business being in this situation and everybody knew it.
And it grew from there in increasing concentric circles; not only was I a fraud in this my own short play, but within the show itself, within the very act of onstage performance, within the theatrical craft itself. I’d hit my expiration date, and from here on out it was going to be office jobs and the life of quiet desperation.
I took my bow at the end of the show and then sat in the green room until most of the audience had left. No, there will be no interview. How do I feel? What do you want me to say? How do you think I feel? I feel rotten. I was called upon to perform a very particular task and I failed spectacularly.
I have another chance to perform it tonight. I’m already vacillating between rugged determination to vindicate myself and abject terror that I’m going to screw it up again, tinged with the worry that either of these emotions is going to contribute to my repeated failure.
So I’ll let you know how that goes.