21 November 2008

The Rest is (Busy, Noisy) Silence


{This entry is a continuation of 11/20/08, 11/19/08 & 11/18/08...}

I'm sharp enough, gang. I'm sharp enough. I'm about to be sharpened down to a nub.

Yesterday the management agency I work with called to submit me to an audition taking place this morning, for what sounds like a potentially big commercial. They got it from an agent; like, a really real agent, who I guess shops work out to them occasionally when he can't fill it. So. Why did they call me -- who's only done one industrial for them to date -- for this peculiar assignment? Well, the casting director needs someone who can do an Italian dialect, and that's what it says, right there on my resume.

Ahhhhhh. Ah.

I could have said no. I could have said, "Oh well, you know, I mostly do a comic Italian, which doesn't actually sound anything like an actual Italian person. You know, it's all, 'I'ma gonna to tella you somethin'.' Like that." I could have said that, and I didn't, and it's either because I'm greedy, or insane, or a little of both. The audition's at 10:40. I'll write more after.

Perhaps needless to say, some of my valuable time last night was spent downloading and listening to an Italian dialect sample, over and over again.

* * *

Well. That was . . . not at all worth the stress under which I put myself. Me and a camera, slate, two lines, spoken twice, and that, as they say, was that. The director wasn't even a nutter. Not remotely, and they warned me about that. I didn't even have to wait, and there was no one there. I mean . . . COME ON! <--This addressed to myself, for being such a stressed-out goob.

I have absolutely no way of knowing how well I did. Even if I thought I did particularly well, I wouldn't know, there was so little interaction. But enough of that.

One lucky upswing from this is that it sort of temporarily released my stress over tonight's work. (Oh right! I'm performing tonight!) Similar to electroshock therapy, the possibility of facing a director furious over my crap-tastic Italian dialect has zapped an interruption into my ongoing rhythm of stage fright. It is welcome. I figure I've got a good hour or so of feeling this intense relief until my anxiety back-up generator kicks in and starts running the show, and that's good enough. I can get to 3:30, when I'll be back working on the show, on this reprieve. Thanks, Powers-That-Be!

Apart from training to open my As and turn my Is into Es, last night was spent very similarly to how I imagined it yesterday. Which is a hell of an accomplishment, because I feel I'm at that level of stress that gets disruptive to my entire being. I'm sure most of you can relate; particularly the air-traffic controllers in my vasty readership. I'm talking in my sleep, getting awoken by cramps, having trouble focusing on one thing for an extended period and generally losing my place all over. It's silly, I know. I'm working on it, but in the meantime, I managed to rig my props and cobble a costume together and dub my sound effects and music last night instead of running around my general neighborhood, clucking like a chicken and clawing at litter with my sneakers. I didn't run the piece at all, and it wasn't until this morning that I played with my new props a bit, but there truly wasn't time.

A lot of this stress has been self-generated. Yes, it's a last-minute, original performance, but it's also all of ten minutes long and I've no idea who will actually see it -- likely no one who will have an immediate and profound effect on my creative and professional life. Plus I do exactly this kind of work ALL the TIME. Some could handle this with greater panache, and some wouldn't even feel stressed at all. Not THIS guy, though. (sigh...) Without getting self-aggrandizing, some of it has to do with how important the work is to me. Without getting self-deprecating, some of it has to do with a finely honed sense of insecurity. Add a dash of general excitement at being allowed to make stuff up and show it to people, and you've got a giddy stress souffle just ripe for voracious consumption!

A lot is waiting on today's pre-show tech time and run. It had to. There was just little way for me to work things out without the space itself and all its quirky accoutrement. So this afternoon will tell the tale, and adjustments will likely be numerous and made as I go. I think I might even be able to relax into it a bit, if I try hard enough. Er, uh: if I don't try hard . . . enough. Wait. Oh, to hell with it. A relaxed person, I am not. But I do enjoy good, hard work, and I've plenty of that to do, which is always better than just waiting for curtain.

Of course, the end of the tale isn't until the fall of that curtain...

8 comments:

Patrick said...

Oh, the many knots we tie ourselves into. One would think we'd know by now that it's almost never worth it, and it's certainly NEVER helpful... but somehow, we just keep doing it. Glad the audition was painless and quick, even if that leaves you with no sense of how it went. I think I told you at least once before, that when I finally realized that you LIKED being over-committed, maybe even enjoyed being a bit stressed out, I stopped worrying about you, and stopped trying to get you to lighten up. Your way of working... well, it seems to work for you. Certainly last night's performance showed you at the top of your game (I did sneak into the audience for most of your work)... and for all the stress and tension you feel like you have in preparing, the end result was an energized yet relaxed stage presence.

I'm still gonna call you a big goober sometimes though. And I recognize that it takes one to know one.

Jeff Wills said...

And well you should, comrade. Well you should.

Melissa said...

Jeff I Love the brilliance of your props!!!
um. ha! I said brilliance - should I have said "illumination"?
whoa I am ON today!

And by the way world - COME TO OUR SHOW! These two fellas kick some serious bottom all over the place!!

Jeff Wills said...

Thanks, Mel! I'm still investigating every little thing I come across as a potential adhesive for those little b_st_rds.

YEAH! WHAT SHE SAID! COME TO OUR SHOW!

Greg said...

Oh, my god, the suspense is killing me: where in the world did you find a fake daisy and one that could be bent to your will?

So, it's just silly to hope you are resting in between performances today, eh? Will be thinking of you all tomorrow night!

Jeff Wills said...

Thanks, Greg. Rest assured that the "daisy" (more of a spider mum) will appear in future work.

Rest? Rest is for the not-masochistic-enough-to-be-in-physical-theatre.

Off to nap...

Greg said...

Oh, great: "spider mum, spider mum...does whatever a spider mum can..." Thanks for putting that in my head.

Glad the show turned out so well.

Jeff Wills said...

PS - Dollar store. Source of all things good and helpful to privately-funded theatre.