16 June 2009

"I can't. I have rehearsal."

This pithy saying (Oh! The pith!) appears on t-shirts now, to which practice I am vehemently opposed. It's a cliche, and one that comes about honestly; your actor/ technician/ weirdo friend(s) are always opting out of plans due to rehearsals. Heck: I can't make long-term plans with any confidence because if I get an acting gig, all bets are off. So it's a true and honest expression. It's just that wearing it on a t-shirt seems to me like flaunting a deficiency. There's a pretense there -- oh, what a pain in the ass it is, this thing I love to do, you know, THE THEATRE. I suppose I'm as guilty of such complaints as the next weirdo. But I do not iron the sentiment onto my chest.

In the next couple of weeks, however, perhaps I should consider it.

It's one of those repeated, and nevertheless surprising, life lessons that just when we need the most time we find ourselves the most busy. It must be related to human nature in some way, this rains/pours phenomenon, but it's a little beyond me to deduce the cause/effect of it. What's especially wild about this week for me is that I'm making time for social engagements while I'm at it. I've come to view this as a necessity (insofar as "necessity" can endure the stress of a to-do list). So I don't try real hard to plan for nights out when I'm under the gun for assignments but, if they come along, I do what I can to invite them in. Hence a baseball game Wednesday night, plus dinner and a play with an out-of-town friend on Thursday. All this even as I endeavor to get off-book for filming on Friday and meet to rehearse a secret project (oo-oooooooo-oo...) on every odd night. And teach workshops. And audition for shows. And prepare for Italy.

See? I'm writing out that damn t-shirt. EXCEPT: I'm really excited by all of this. The excitement/anxiety threshold is an interesting boundary but ultimately: This work makes me happy. Sure, the t-shirt would be even more obnoxious with exclamation points added. BUT ALSO: I CAN; even though I have rehearsal. Because what on earth would I put into rehearsal if all I did other than it were sleep and work a desk job? Well, a lot of drowsy logistical work, I suppose. And one can get pretty drowsy as a result of all this activity, too, granted . . . but it's a happy sort of drowsy.


Nicole said...

I can understand your tainted view on the so-called cliche design. However, I'd like to point out that it's not all people who despise it and look at the theatre as a heavy burden to bear. I say this because, yes- I am defending myself. I bought the shirt and wore it during high school from a thespian conference. I took it as a normal saying but the shirt now serves as a work/painting/building shirt for the OTHER theatre excuse-users to ironically take joy in it.

What is a better shirt, I believe, is one mocking it. Pleasantly playing with it's all too familiar saying. For instance, I saw Waiting For Godot and couldn't resist from chuckling (and suckered into buying) the shirt saying "I can't. I'm Waiting For Godot." I couldn't agree more that people shouldn't use their passion as excuses out of plans as if they are not proud of being driven in a fast-paced career. (But I do like the satire of my Godot shirt, and want to share the lighter side of the saying and mentality with you.)
I guess we'll all have to fit in with the non-theatrical and stick to good ol' housework to get out of plans.

Jeff Wills said...

I have certainly been guilty of worse cliches (not to mention t-shirts) in my time, Coley. Next year I'm sure to be complaining about all those damn people who wear hats all the time. God help me if I ever achieve any small amount of fame, because the internet will have a field day with my hypocrisy.

That having been said, I'm glad the shirt has been relegated to the domains of non-public use.

+ I really want one of those Godot t-shirts . . .