A Season of Change, Part V: The Biggest Change of All

You better sit down for this one.

Comfortable?

And off we go.

With Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? not panning out, I thought another season had come to its end.  Luckily, I had things to keep me occupied.  A potentially good opportunity for my real life had dropped into my lap and I began pursuing it, though things seemed to cool off after a promising start.  Then I got a message from Sonia Keffer saying that she hoped to see me at auditions for Sabrina Fair which she would be directing for the Bellevue Little Theatre.  Since my opportunity appeared to have evaporated, I decided to audition.

Sabrina Fair will go down as one of my personal favorite auditions.  There were two roles suitable for a gentleman of my age.  One was David Larrabee, the younger son of the powerful Larrabee family who marries and divorces at the drop of a hat.  The other was Linus Larrabee, Jr., the older son and the CEO of the family business.

Of the two roles, Linus was by far the more interesting and very anti-me.  Linus is a bit insufferable, emotionless, and completely dedicated to making a profit.  He does care for his family and is concerned about doing what’s best for them, but goes about doing it in ways that make him seem a little shady.  At least, that’s what I gleaned from the character from the little bits I read.

I had a ball with the character and just let loose.  I rank it as one of my top five reads as I was engaged, moving, and just having fun.  Sonia said words which I shall always treasure after the audition.  She said, “You really surprised me up there.  You’ve got more than a little Linus in you.”

Without aiming for it, I had accomplished another goal in theatre.  I had finally convinced a director that I was capable of playing a role that was outside my real personality.  It felt really good.  That was Sunday night.

On Monday night, nothing happened.

Then came Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, I finally heard back about my personal opportunity and the other party was still quite interested in going forward.  That provided a bit of a dilemma for me as there would not be a way for me to have my cake and eat it, too.  If I were cast and did the show, I’d lose out on the opportunity.  If I pursued the opportunity, I’d have to give up the show as my weeknights would get eaten up.  What to do? What to do?

Ultimately, my real life won out.  Theatre isn’t going anywhere and there will always be another show and I had to take a chance on the other opportunity.  Having made my decision and since casting decisions had not been announced yet, I decided I would write Sonia a quick note after work letting her know that I would have to withdraw myself from consideration.

Now I had forgotten my phone that morning which would become important later.  I ended up getting home very late that Tuesday and prepared to write a little note to Sonia.  Then I checked my phone and Sonia had left me a message.  D’oh!!

At that point it was too late to return the call, so I decided to call her the next day.  But when I checked Facebook, I saw Sonia had messaged me on there as well.  I didn’t want to leave her hanging, so I wrote her a quick note letting her know what had happened and that I would call her tomorrow.

We had a good conversation the next day and she voiced the same thoughts I had that real life had to come first and theatre would always be there.  She did say that my withdrawal had broken her heart and if you think it was because she was going to offer me the role of Linus, you’d be right.  I told her that would have been nice, but thanked her for the opportunity and told her I looked forward to working with her again.  I also offered to use my website to help promote the show if she wanted to send any press releases my way. Sonia said she’d hope I would come see the show which I certainly will do so I can put the power of the pen behind it.

On Thursday I began my little B & B sojourn and on Friday morning I made a most shocking realization.

I was not upset by having had to give up the show.

If you’re standing, I bet you’re sitting.  And if you’re sitting, I bet you exploded up from your seat.

Don’t get me wrong.  I was a little disappointed by having had to give it up, but I know me and my regular readers know how ardently I’ve pursued acting for the past 20 years.  Not that long ago, having had to give up a role, not to mention a leading role, would have devastated me.  But, relatively speaking, I actually felt pretty good about the whole thing and that’s when I understood the full extent of the miracle granted to me by Leaving Iowa.

Leaving Iowa did much, much more than irrevocably restore my confidence in myself as an actor.  It also scratched my itch good and proper.  I realized that over the past 2 years, I had only auditioned 6 times.  In years gone by, I would have auditioned that many times in just one season.  I was further stunned to realize that, with the exceptions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sabrina Fair, the shows didn’t have the heft of my heart behind them.  My acting mojo simply had not been there as Leaving Iowa had satisfied me so thoroughly.

Through this website, I had managed to stay involved in theatre without having to act.  And I had, and have, been ecstatically happy serving as theatre’s champion by giving notice to shows that might otherwise have been ignored by the local papers and writing good, solid reviews for the public.

When you add that to my growing interest in directing and wanting to shadow someone for that, I realized there was something I needed to give to myself that I had not yet done.

It’s time for a break. . .at least, that was what I thought when I originally began writing this article.

I had planned to announce that I was going to take a season’s break from the acting side of things next year, but it seems that Sabrina Fair did a little magic of its own and I can feel the creative juices stirring again.  So I don’t think I’ll be taking a break, per se, but I will slow things down a bit so I can attempt to learn a thing or two about directing.

It’s a bit ironic that I called this series the “Season of Change” because the biggest changes were with me and, most assuredly, for the better.

Sadly, this story ends this season’s theatre tales.  But I’ll be back soon when I begin the “Season of Exploration”.

As always, until the next time.

A Season of Change, Part IV: Is There a Woolf at the Door?

“The wonderful joy at being able to say ‘yes’ to a talented artist is often undercut by the horrible responsibility of having to say ‘no’ so many more times to equally talented artists.”—Unknown

I don’t envy the lot of directors when it comes to casting.  As difficult as things are on the acting side, there is also a tremendous amount of difficulty on the casting side.  Getting just the right blend of performers to tell the best possible story is truly an art form and I believe the above quotation best reflects the plight of directors.

Having to break a lot of hearts is not fun.  I’m also certain the criticism for doing so is even less enjoyable.

“It’s not fair.”

“He/she hates me.”

“It’s all politics and favoritism.”

I’m certain directors have heard variations of the above remarks and then some on numerous occasions.  Sometimes the criticism may be well founded and true.  But, by and large, I believe a director’s choices are impersonal and rejection simply comes from the fact that you did not suit the director’s vision.  This is something I’ve grown to understand and appreciate more over the last year and a half since I became an independent theatre critic.  I’ve grown to appreciate it so much that I’m thinking about trying my hand at direction one day, so if any of my director friends are reading this and are interested in letting me shadow them for a show next season, drop me a line.

I once read an article by a director who said, “I hate that experienced, talented actors can see whether or not they get cast as a measure of their intrinsic worth as actors”.  Truer words were never spoken.  This is the only business I know where you can be a failure and a success all at the same time.  But I’d also like to take a moment to try to respond to that statement.

The reason actors see the casting as the yardstick of their worth as performers is that it is the only validation we have of our skills.  Sometimes a rejection can be done in such a way that it almost completely salves the disappointment of not getting the job.  But the bottom line is if we’re not the ones on stage or in front of the camera telling the story, we instinctively feel as if we failed even if we intellectually know that the work we did in the audition was good.  After all, everyone likes to taste the fruit of their labors.

Now I’ve told you all that to set the stage for my latest theatre tale.

After the victorious defeat of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I began preparing for a return to the Playhouse with an audition for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  For me, it would be my first audition under the new Playhouse artistic director, Hilary Adams.

I knew the odds would be long going into this show.  The show is only a 4 person cast and there is only one role for a younger man.  Knowing that up front actually took a considerable amount of pressure from my shoulders.  I headed into the audition solely with the intention of making a good showing and leaving with my head held high.  Anything else would simply be icing on the cake.

The turnout was smaller than I expected, but still more than enough to be able to cast the show from our night alone.  As I glanced around the room, I knew the role of Nick (the one I was eligible for) could be cast three times over at a minimum as I noticed both Nick Zadina and Sean, who read so well for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, in attendance along with myself.

Under Hilary’s leadership, auditions have changed at the Playhouse and I would say for the better.  Now pictures of the actors are taken to go along with their audition information sheets.  Hilary also prefers to bring the performers in as small groups.  I think this brings a double edged advantage to the actors as they not only know that they have the director’s full attention, but I think it unleashes their creativity to the Nth degree.  They do not have to worry that their interpretation is similar to another performer’s.  Every actor can be secure in the knowledge that everything done in the audition will be perceived as completely original.

I ended up being in the second group called in to audition.  It was an older gent named Lance and myself who would be reading the roles of George and Nick.

This first read presented one of the interesting challenges of the audition process as actors of varying levels of talent are often paired together.  My partner was very inexperienced and it showed.  When experienced/naturally talented performers work together, the energy of the performance is like a ball that’s tossed around in a game of hot potato.  Toss in an inexperienced/less talented person and it’s like throwing a ball against a wall and watching it drop.

Before we began reading, Hilary made the interesting request for us not to block anything.  Another hurdle removed as some performers are so intent on the words that movement sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

The pressure was really on George in this side as he has the bulk of the dialogue and gets the ball rolling.  Lance read and it sounded like reading as well.  For my own part, I was pleased with my work.  I fired the ball with energy, made some decisive choices about Nick, and presented a character I liked.  I did find it humorous that in the back of my head I kept thinking, “Oh, this feels like a movement line.  That feels like another.  There’s a third.”

About a half hour later, I was called in again.  This time I read with two people.  A man named Jeremy would read as George and Sydney Readman would read as Nick’s wife, Honey.  This time I felt that ball being tossed around.  Jeremy had some nice chops and instincts and had a really rich speaking voice.

Again I was pleased with my work and really enjoyed the byplay between the three of us in the scene.  After we had read it once, Hilary asked us to read it again, but gave some direction to Sydney and me.  For Nick, she wanted me to make him “more beta and less alpha”.  She explained that at this early stage, Nick wouldn’t be standing up to George quite so much.  This was a business meeting and Nick is trying to make a good impression.  She also asked me to be a bit more loving towards Honey.  I processed these changes and gave a more beta interpretation.  Though in hindsight, I think I should have kissed Sydney’s hand to seem more loving.  The words had the right intention and I did tenderly clasp her arm, but my gut says a stronger action should have been used.

Twenty minutes after the read, Jeannine Robertson, the Playhouse’s Artistic Administrative Assistant, told me that Hilary had seen all she needed from me and that I could go home.  I had been there for 2 ½ hours, read three times, and took some direction.  All in all, the signs of a very positive audition.  Callbacks would be on Saturday so I knew if I didn’t get notification by the end of Friday, I could officially consider myself out of the running.  I had nothing to be ashamed of as I accomplished my main task.  I had a good showing and, hopefully, gave Hilary something to remember for future auditions.

Regrettably, I did not receive that callback.  Fortunately, I was braced for it, but it’s still a mild disappointment.  But I did the best I could with the material I had.  The only regret, as it were, was that I would have liked to have read a meatier side for Nick.  Then I would have known that I had truly given it all that I had.

With such a small cast, other good actors also, unfortunately, heard the word, ‘no’ for this one, too.  And, believe me, there was some heavyweight talent that did not make it in.  Let me see if these numbers put it in perspective.  Four people heard the word ‘yes’.  At least twenty others heard the word ‘no’.  Chew on that for a bit.

While there’s no Woolf at the door for me, I do remain content that there will be something for me in the future.  A friend once told me that becoming a stronger actor doesn’t mean the number of roles you obtain goes up.  It just means that the quality of your rejections goes up.  With some of my adventures over the past couple of years, I think there’s quite a bit of truth to that statement.  But, if I may add to his statement, I think the quality of the rewards goes up, too, and that’s something all actors should keep in mind.

Until the next time.

A Morality Play for Madmen

In the sterile ward (nicely designed by Josh Mullady, Dan Whitehouse, and Bob & Denise Putman) of a mental institution, a war is waged for the souls of the patients.  On the side of the angels is Randle P. McMurphy, an inmate who likes to fight and f—k.  The demons’ champion is the cold-blooded Nurse Ratched who rules the ward with an iron fist.  Their intense battle of wills makes up the story of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Dale Wasserman based off of a novel by Ken Kesey and currently playing at the Chanticleer Community Theatre.

Director Ron Hines has done a nice job mining the script for both comedic and dramatic moments and has cast a unique blend of characters for this show.  Aside from the two leads, the success of this show depends on casting a strong ensemble of patients to bring the necessary flavor to the piece and Hines’ casting was right on the money as each patient breathed a beautiful bit of life into the show.

Particular notice needs to be given to Joseph Edie, making his stage debut, who takes the nearly catatonic role of Ruckley and runs with it for all its worth, Jim Farmer who brings a twitchy awesomeness to the role of the hallucinating Martini, Gary Lee Jungers who is a riot in the role of the lazy drunkard, Aide Turkel, David Sindelar as the all bark, no bite Charles Cheswick III who gravitates towards the strongest person in the room, Randy Vest who brings a touching intelligence to the role of Dale Harding, a repressed homosexual who is also president of the patients’ union, Mark Reid as the timid, but fair, Dr. Spivey, and Meganne Rebecca Storm who brings a vampy sweetness to the role of Candy Starr, a hooker friend of McMurphy.

Craig Bond commands the stage in the role of Randle P. McMurphy.  Bond does a fantastic job portraying McMurphy as a happy-go-lucky troublemaker who has submitted to being committed in order to avoid a hard prison sentence for statutory rape.  From the moment, Bond appears on stage, the audience knows things are going to be shaken up.  Bond’s McMurphy gleefully warbles songs, gambles with the patients on just about anything, plays cards with a deck pictured with naked women, hassles a God fearing nurse, and flouts authority at every available opportunity.

But McMurphy is also an antiheroic angel who brings the gift of hope to the downtrodden patients of the ward.  His antics and zest for life slowly remind the patients of what it means to be strong, especially as McMurphy is bound and determined to break the spirit of the iron willed Nurse Ratched who keeps the patients under her thumb with her rules and “therapy”.  When McMurphy learns that his stay could be indefinite as he is committed, it raises the stakes of his private war with Nurse Ratched to the ultimate level.

Debbie Bertelsen plays the role of Nurse Ratched, the domineering ruler of the ward.  In a battle between good and evil, the demon must be just as powerful as the angel in order to have an exciting conflict.  Unfortunately, Ms Bertelsen’s performance falls short of that standard and I fear she is miscast in the role.  The character of Nurse Ratched is truly a force to be reckoned with.  She is icy cold, stern, unyielding, and has a presence that should make your blood freeze in its veins.  Nurse Ratched is also the worst kind of evil as she is evil who honestly believes she is working on the side of good.  It is truly a difficult role to play.

Ms Bertelsen lacked the terrifying presence needed for the character and her fluid body language and line interpretation did not convey the sense that she was the “god” of this little world.  At points, she almost seemed like she was enjoying the cruelty of the character and that rang a little false as Ratched is genuinely committed to rehabilitating people.  It’s her execution of that commitment and unflinching belief that her way is the right way that makes her a bad person.

Brandyn Burget does a serviceable job as Bily Bibbit in his community theatre debut.  As the childlike, stuttering Bibbit, Burget has some very beautiful body language as he tries to hide within himself and has nice reactions in scenes where he does not speak much.  His line interpretation needs some more dramatic oomph at certain key moments, especially towards the end, but a very worthy effort overall.

Frank Insolera, Jr. gives a stoically mesmerizing performance as Chief Bromden.  Ostensibly, the narrator of the play, Insolera is an incredible physical presence as the towering Native American.  Pretending to be deaf and dumb, Insolera’s Chief Bromden silently observes the goings-on of the ward while pushing a broom around the stage.  His blank facial expressions and minimal movement are spot-on for the withdrawn Chief who slowly opens up to the renegade McMurphy.

Insolera imbues Chief with a wonderful weakness as he believes he is not strong enough to exist in the outside world.  That gradually changes as the ward realizes he can be reached and he finds an amazing strength in the aftermath of the final battle between Ratched and McMurphy.

In the end, this story is an interesting twist on the morality play.  It is at turns funny, tragic, happy, sad, but always hopeful.  It will give you a lot to think about and already seems to be shaping into a hit for the Chanticleer.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest continues at the Chanticleer Community Theatre through March 15.  Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $20 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, and $10 for students.  Contact the theatre at 712-323-9955 for tickets.  The Chanticleer Community Theatre is located at 830 Franklin Ave in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

A Season of Change, Part III: Waving Good-Bye to the Cuckoo’s Nest

Nearly twelve years after my first opportunity at the role, I received a second, and final, chance at playing Billy Bibbit from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Sunday night.

For those of you new to my blog, I had originally auditioned for this role back in 2003 when the Circle Theatre was going to try to mount it.  Unfortunately, the whole show got canceled when the theatre was unable to cast the key role of Chief Bromden.  Even more unfortunate was the fact that I later learned I would have played Bibbit had the show been produced.

When I learned that the Chanticleer Theatre in Council Bluffs, Iowa was going to mount the show this season, I hoped I would have one last crack at the role.  I knew that the Bibbit of the novel by Ken Kesey was a man in his mid-thirties so terribly repressed that he comes off as much younger.  But, for whatever reason, he is usually cast as a man in his twenties, so I was concerned that, at the age of 37 with rapidly silvering hair, I might not be seriously considered for the part.  Not that the lead role of Randall McMurphy was a bad one to get, but I really wanted to play Billy.  I breathed a massive sigh of relief when the Chanticleer released character descriptions and it appeared that they were looking for someone closer to the novel’s depiction of the character.

So it was on Sunday that I found myself at the Chanticleer ready to give the performance of my life.  I was a bit surprised, but more than pleased to find my good friend, David Sindelar, at the auditions.  I had been twisting his arm a bit to get him to go as I knew there were a couple of great roles for him.

From the moment I first got onstage, I knew it was going to be a magical night.  I was fully in the auditioning frame of mind and I was hungry for a role.  I ended up being the second reader of the night in the role of McMurphy and was pleased with what I did.  But the real magic began about an hour into the night.

Director, Ron Hines, asked anybody if there was a role they wanted to read for before we moved on and I said I’d like to take a crack at Billy.  The second I opened my mouth, I was off to the races.  I can’t remember the last time I had been that supremely confident.  I had zero self-consciousness.  I was making bold choices.  I was animated and it was probably some of the very best acting between the lines I had ever done for an audition.  In all honesty, I felt I had finally given an audition that matched the quality of my read as John Merrick back in 2002.

For the rest of the night, all I did was alternate between reading for Bibbit and McMurphy.  There was another young man there (I believe his name was Sean Kelley) and we would pretty much trade the roles in the same scenes.  I thought he was a terrific McMurphy and had a good look for him.  He had a blocky build suitable for a brawler and, whether intentional or unintentional, wore a stocking cap just like McMurphy.  My only concern is that he might have been too young for the role.  My build was more suited to Billy, but there was that concern that I might be a touch too old.

The producers and the director gushed over my reads.  Producer, Terry Debenedictus, said she loved my reads while Ron Hines said he had written, “I like this guy!” at the top of my audition sheet to remember me.  I was actually getting a little embarrassed from the notices.

Intellectually speaking, I knew this praise in no way guaranteed my getting cast.  On an emotional level, my head was somewhere in the clouds.  I knew I was rock solid and hoped beyond hope that this was leading to something great.  I was asked to stay at the end of the night for physical analysis and a final 2 reads.

After the audition, Dave and I had a post-audition analysis meal at Burger King.  Dave didn’t get to read a whole lot, but he gave a pitch perfect reading as Cheswick at the end of the night.  That read plus his physical appropriateness for the role gave me a good feeling for him.  (With good reason, for he won that particular role.)

While on a conference call at work, I received a call from Jerry Abels, the stage manager of the show.  Needless to say, I was beyond excited.  Like most theatres, the Chanticleer sends out a form letter if you’re not cast in the show.  So I took it for granted that I was cast as somebody.

As soon as my meeting ended, I called Jerry on the phone and he told me that they had a great turnout for the show with about 46 people auditioning and that leads to the good problem of having too much choice which means that some good people don’t get in.  In my mind I thought, “Yeah, that is a tough thing.  So who am I playing?”  And then Jerry said, “With that being said, unfortunately you were one of the people who didn’t make it in.”

I was stunned to silence.  I actually dropped the pen I was holding because I was so taken aback.  “If I wasn’t cast, why are you calling?” I thought to myself.  Jerry answered my unspoken question as he continued.  “We wanted you to know that it had absolutely nothing to do with your talent.  Please, and we really mean this, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please come back to read for us again.  This theatre can always, ALWAYS, use a talent like yours.”

The words were kind, but I won’t lie to you, they hurt.  A lot.  For those of you who have read my theatre tales, you know I’ve often said the acting part counts for precious little in the casting process and this is a classic example of that lesson.  But it stings nonetheless.  I realized that, short of a miracle, this was the last time I could conceivably play Billy as next time, if there is one, I will simply be too old for the role.

On a sort of upside, not getting cast in this show did solve my problem of how to audition for another show as its audition dates were going to take place during tech week.  But now I bid a final good-bye to the role of Billy Bibbit and move my eyes to the future.

POSTSCRIPT:  In one of the biggest shocks of my life, I received a phone call from the Chanticleer on January 27.  At first, I thought I simply hadn’t deleted my old voice mail which led to my being told about my rejection.  I thought, “Well at most I’ll just look like a dope if I call and make certain it wasn’t a new message.”  I called Jerry Abels and cautiously asked if he had left me a message.  He said that he had.  It turns out one of the actors had dropped out of the show and now they wanted to offer me the role of Aide Warren.  I mulled it over for a little bit, but taking this role would have meant losing out on the opportunity to audition for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, so I declined the opportunity, but told Jerry I very much appreciated the phone call.  So defeat becomes a victory, after all.

What Do I See?

A short while ago, I wrote an article on the power of perception which discussed the idea that how actors are seen dictates if and how they are cast.  I’ve said that an actor exerts very little control over this aspect of the business and that is certainly true.  But how an actor perceives himself or herself certainly dictates the types of roles she or he pursues.
 
Some actors only see themselves as leading characters and will only accept a role of that type.  Others may prefer the sidekick/second banana role.  Still more may be willing to accept a role of any kind.
 
When it comes to me, I always seek out the most challenging role.  In my experience, that role is usually something other than the leading role.  So, in a sense, I am probably a character actor, though I think what I pursue is something more than that and somewhat defies a description.
 
If I were to put it into words, I would call myself a storyteller.  This is why I prefer John Merrick to Frederick Treves, Billy Bibbit to Randall McMurphy, and Renfield to Count Dracula.  I really don’t have a particular taste as I will always look for the role that intrigues me, though I do seem to have a predilection for characters that exhibit great strength of spirit.
 
Since I view myself as a storyteller, the size of my part does not matter.  I just want the challenge.  If I thought the leading role in a play was the most difficult one, then that is what I would pursue.  If I thought a character with no lines was the most challenging role, then that is the role that I would want.  With the pursuit of the challenge, a wide plethora of roles is available to me.
 
Not that I will do any role that comes my way.  I have refused roles in the past because I didn’t think they had the difficulty which I seek or just didn’t think myself well suited to the role.  As my abilities as an actor have grown and evolved, I have become a little choosier in what I will do.  For example, at this point in my avocation, the odds of me taking a supernumerary role aren’t particularly high.  Just like in climbing the corporate ladder where you have to work from the bottom up, I believe a role like that needs to go to an inexperienced, untested performer to give her or him a chance to show some grace and aplomb. 
 
As to my style. . .well, I’d like to consider myself a naturalistic actor.  I try to imagine what I would do if I were to find myself in the same situation that that character does and react accordingly.  Sometimes I think I’m too realistic as I need to work a little harder at being over the top when it comes to farce since my instinct is to play things as believably as I can even when my character may be in the midst of an unbelievable situation.
 
My perception of how I’m often cast is that directors tend to cast me in characters that seem to reflect my real personality.  Though, over the past few years, I’ve managed to start obtaining roles different to myself such as the loutish drunkard, Eric Birling, in An Inspector Calls and the adult version of Don Browning in Leaving Iowa.  Rest assured, child Don was very much me and probably the most fun I’ve had being me on stage.
 
And it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed playing the characters who reflect the real me.  I’ve loved them all.  But I’m me every day so I already know I can do that.  In order to continue my growth as an actor, I have to show the sides of me that aren’t seen very much.  This is why I’ll often try a different take on a “me” character to make it a little less “me” when I’m playing that type of role.
 
When I first got started in this business, I didn’t understand what acting was all about.  I felt I had to feel like I was doing something in order to be acting and this road, unquestionably, led to being perceived as a poor performer.
 
Along the road I met those who helped me understand that I didn’t have to feel like I was doing something, I just had to do it.  That is what helped me to become a stronger actor over the years.  Learning to trust my instinct and be in the moment also helped me to achieve that truly rare feat of altering perceptions of me as a bad actor.  Mind you, I didn’t consciously set out to do this.  I just did it because I kept trying, working, practicing, and learning.  My conscious goal was simply to get roles.
 
The theatre season is fully cast and, for the first time in years, I didn’t do a show.  It wasn’t that long ago that I would consider that a failure and the frustration would be weighing on my shoulders like a ton of bricks.  But my perception of me has changed and I now accept myself as a good, capable actor. 
 
There’ll always be another show.  And I’ll be offering directors all of me which is the only thing I can give.  My instinct.  My effort.  My imagination.  My interpretation.  When it comes to casting me, directors may not always agree with me, but they will know that they got the best me.