17 April 2008

I'm Not a'Scared of You

Things are picking up.

I don't want to go into much detail, because a lot of the work opportunities that I have coming up have yet to be variously accepted, detailed and signed-on-the-dotted-line. I'm talking here, of course, about acting work. There's also nothing necessarily career-making in the bunch. I mean, you never know, and hope springs eternal, and every rose has its thorn (what?), but speaking in the immediate sense, Spielberg has yet to call. (Although I'm presently in negotiations with Romero.) I know this is typically applied to bad news, but the following expression keeps cropping up for me: When it rains, it pours. What follows is as vague a summary as I can express.

Monday I am previewing a space in which I will be stilting and/or clowning for a benefit on May 12. The very next day begins rehearsals for an environmental theatre piece I'll be doing, the which I have yet to receive a specific rehearsal schedule on, but which I also know will perform May 14 through 17. On the 30th of this month, I'll be playing a featured extra in a silent film someone's making (bizarre: I'm not the only one). At a certain point in mid-May, I've promised to do my best to get out to Wilkes-Barre, PA, to stilt in a "Fine Arts Fiesta" (ole!). I'm in negotiations to help develop a physical theatre piece starting rehearsals some time in May, and retreating to near Port Jervis in June for two weeks to work intensively. For four days at the end of May, beginning of June, I'm also rehearsing and performing a staged reading of a play I've acted for variously through its stages of development over the past couple of years, in the hopes it gets picked up for a New York run. And also in June, Zuppa del Giorno is attempting to recruit for a commedia dell'arte workshop to raise money to go to Italy in July, said workshop to run over the course of two weekends.

And I won't attempt to get into July. Maybe we'll be going to Italy, maybe not. There are definitely, however, 3-4 workshops in Pennsylvania to be taken and led, not to mention the further life of whatever I'm working on May-June that continues apace.

This all comes after a few months of relative inactivity on the theatre front. I kept busy with readings and development workshops, and not to underrate such work in any way (oh no; I'd never do that), but that sort of thing is always at least a bit limited in several ways. I have been craving work, and not just work, but work that leads to some sort of fulfilled product. So this(these) is(are) a(all) good thing(s). A(All) great thing(s)! All in all, a(all) grood thing(s). Cause for celebration. Hip, hip--!

Oh crap. What if I lose the job I just got months ago to replace the one I lost because I couldn't commit to being there from month-to-month? Oh crap. How am I going to juggle this work and keep it all, without pissing people off or seeming unreliable? Oh crap. Where is the money going to come from for all the obligatory expenses I've literally scheduled for myself in the coming year? Oh crap. Do I still remember how to act? Oh crap. What if one of these gigs is phenomenally over my head, like A Lie of the Mind often felt last year? Oh crap. This is a lot of physical stuff, and I'm out of shape and haven't resolved my pelvic injury. Oh crap. Come June, I can't sublease my apartment anymore. Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh--!

It's vexing, going through these stages. It seems as though success always brings anxiety with it. I'd be kidding myself to say that none of this is guilt-related. The world tries very hard to tell us that we are failures as human beings if we're having too much fun in our work and not making a lot of money, and it's continual--though not constant--work to remind myself that this is just not so. The larger part of the anxiety, however, is owing to hope. Hope may be constant, to varying degrees. Every time a good run of work comes my way, there is within it the hope for it to continue, and continue, and continue. In the summer of '06, for example, I had enough to spend three months straight on continuous work. It was difficult, involved a lot of bouncing around and scrounging what money I could make, but it was also blissful in its way. And it was a time when my hopes for a full-time acting career felt more realized than they ever had before.

The most accessible allegory I can think of has to do with love. Bear with me. (Or, just sign off. Hell: I'll never know.) Every time a period of work ends, with no further work in sight, it feels similar to a break-up. When a potential new love comes your way, you get scared. Frightened not just of it failing, but of the promise of the new potential succeeding as it never has before, and what that will mean. Things will change. A dream just might be realized, against impossible odds and in the most unpredictable ways, and if it does it will change your life. Maybe for the better, but who's to say? The point is, you want the possibility of it so much, you have to overcome the fear. You have to make some big mistakes, take some big hits, keep going. You have to take the chance. Again. And again.

Here we go.


Nat said...

Know what would help? Hanging out with your friend Nat. He's good luck.

Jeff Wills said...

Yes, but I'm bad luck to him, so we're kind of screwed. Of course, I might be better luck if we avoided getting drunk and discussing combat-inspiring issues.

Nat said...

You know, he's willing to make that sacrifice. For you.

Jeff Wills said...

We'll get him a helmet.

And me anti-retardation pills.

Patrick said...

Hurray! Huzzah! Kalloo Kallay! Fingers crossed, Bro.

Jeff Wills said...

Thanks, P! Especially for the Kalloo Kallay!