When You're A Jet
I had something come back to me this week that I thought was dead but perhaps had been just dormant. Lying in wait, buried in my heart, almost forgotten. Twice it opened an eye, looked up at me, and shifted its position. I sat in a theater and felt it. I sat in on my couch and felt it. Maybe I am not done with acting after all.I never thought I was done entirely however it has been put up on a high shelf in a linen closet and I have not taken it down in a long time. I've performed on stage and in sketches; I haven't been without entirely. But I feel it is not the same as sinking my teeth into something and memorizing, studying, rehearsing, then releasing it into the wilds of an audience. It's not the same as being part of a long project that develops into something special, something new.I saw a new play Saturday and I couldn't remember the last time I had seen an actual new play. Bernhardt/Hamlet is written by Theresa Rebeck (who I love) and led by Janet McTeer (who is an acting goddess). It was clever, funny, heart-wrenching at times and very, very good. Janet McTeer is one of those performers who is so full of light and energy, it is quite astonishing. Even when she is screaming, begging, angry, she looks like she is having a fucking blast up there. There is something that radiates off of her, much like when I saw Ian McKellan live for the first time in London in a panto, and it is infectious. I sat in awe of her, in awe of the play, and that hunger poked at me a bit. I saw the collaboration, vivacity, and love poured out on that stage and I wanted it. I wanted to be a part of an ensemble again.I sat there, watching, and thought "I can do that. I did do that. Let's do that."Cut to a few nights later, on my couch, watching the Emmy's Red Carpet. This year, effort was put in to ask interesting questions. They asked them to every artist but especially the women, leaving the designer and jewelry credits to the last moments before they moved along. I watched as Jessica Biel, Mandy Moore, and others discussed producing and finding new, brilliant, and rich work to create. I love that these actors alongside others like Reese Witherspoon are saying "Fuck these flimsy female leads" and making their own that have substance and guts.I sat there and thought "I can do that. I want to do that."I always cry at award shows. Always. It was no different for the Emmys this year. There is something about the camaraderie you see amongst the crowd. Maybe not everyone notices. They don't see the casts visiting each other during the breaks, laughing together, piling onto each other like the actors from Handmaid's Tale did when their category was announced and three of them were nominated together. The thank yous that include the crew and writers and every hand that brought it all to life. There is magic there that maybe not everyone knows. It is a unique, special bond when you create something together. Sure, they are celebrities but they are also all artists. Claire Foy dedicating her award to Matt Smith was so touching because that is her main scene partner, her lifeline, and the work they make together succeeds because of the trust and support they give each other.I sat there and thought "I miss that. I want that. I can do that."I almost submitted to an audition on Backstage the other day. It was for a film shooting this fall. Decent plot, a few characters in my age range. I hesitated as the screen popped up to select my headshot, resume, and write a quick cover letter. Insecurity flowed in. It began to peel everything apart as one would an orange. My headshots aren't exactly what I look like any more. My face is not as thin therefore I don't look quite as young and my type has alter a bit in my opinion. I worried that they would see me walk into the room and question who they had called in. I thought of my reel that is begging for an update with new work and I have not had the motivation to tweak it. It still has my former agent's information on it. My resume is sad. Nothing recent, the last New York play I did lingering at the top of the credits like the last leaf on a tree.I didn't submit. I do not know what it will take for me to get back in there. I do not know what I am so scared of. I'm not afraid of rejection but even if I was, I need to put myself out there to even be rejected. I worry I am no longer good enough. I worry I am underprepared. I dissect every tool I have in my box before I have even begun to use them. Chances are, no one will care my headshot looks a little different. People cut their hair, grow beards, use shots from ten years ago that are still black and white. My reel is an easy fix and so is my resume. I stopped trusting my work and that is what should matter (although I know a lot of the time it doesn't). See! BOOM! Insecurity strikes again.I let little things eat at me. I think that I am not familiar with the Equity Members portal and haven't auditioned in the not so new center. I don't know why but it gives me anxiety to think I will get lost or do the wrong thing. When I first moved here, I marched into every EPA as a baby non-union actor and knew next to nothing about the professional process and felt no fear. I keep thinking there is are new rules and regulations to follow in the game of this business. As if in my three year absence, the entire acting world decided to renovate and change everything. That's not true but my brain is thinking it is. My brain is thinking the worst about it all.Days like the past few I've had surrounded in good art, it starts to part the clouds a bit. I see actors from small beginnings winning Emmys because they got out of bed, figured out how to get their face out there and gave it a shot. It does not matter if I think I am talented. I mean, of course it matters, I should think I am talented. But in the end, it is the people in the room that make the decision to hire me or not that need to think I am talented. They are the ones looking at my headshot, resume, and reel and considering if I fit in their vision. I need to have control but so much of it is out of my control. If I get lost in an audition center, it isn't going to lose me a part. It might be embarrassing but it also will be forgotten quickly. I won't be the first or last person to fuck up while attempting to secure a role. I won't be the first or last person to try again. I am sure there were many actors on that Broadway stage and in that award show audience that went out for parts they never dreamed they would snag. Perhaps they were like me, sitting and watching and wanting after time away. I don't know if I am ready to try again. I truly don't. There is something comforting about the stirring inside me though. It is returning to me and I did not think it would. I put it on my treasure map. It used to make me happy. I think it still might. Next time, I just might press submit and start the path to finding that joy, inclusion, creation, and utter exuberance again. I want that. I can do that. Let's do that.