Thursday, May 2, 2013

crippling fears and embarrassing tears

The past couple of weeks have made me come face to face some of my greatest fears.  I'm sure everyone has more than three legitimate fears, but here are the three I have felt are most pertinent to my current daily life:

1. a question of safety in my own backyard (refer to last post for details)
2. the dentist (I cried and had panic attacks all day Monday when I had to get a filling)
3. Shakespeare

I know.  You're thinking, "India, how can YOU, a highly trained actress that works and gets up in front of people, be afraid of Shakespeare?!"

Well folks, I'll tell you how.  It makes me feel stupid.  There, I said it.  I went to a university, had to take sciences and calculus and all sorts of classes to graduate with my Theater degree, and still I feel like a fucking idiot when I read or have to memorize Shakespeare.  There are so many words that I don't know what they always mean, and I have to read a monologue 6 times before I can understand what's going on and the intent of the words.  I'll even admit, I didn't do well on my SATs which is probably why I went to UMass because I wasn't confident in even attempting to apply anywhere else.  I know that I'm smart, and almost finished my degree with Environmental Science as my second love, but the words of my dear William make me second guess everything about my understanding of the English language and I hate it.

It also makes me feel "less than".  I feel like some of the great actors that are admired for their education and how it made them great actors (Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, etc) did all this Shakespeare and it molded them into becoming fabulous.  Sometimes I feel like I'll never be as great as them because I can't even go to a Shakespeare audition without fucking up and embarrassing myself.  There have been three times where I've blanked during a monologue that I spent weeks memorizing, two of which the director stopped me and sent me outside to try it again and come back in.  Needless to say, I did not get called back.

Now, I can't say that a play that is too "wordy" gets me.  I'm working on a Greek Euripides show right now, "The Bacchae" and it's one of the best I've ever done.  But that English jerkface that spent years of his life making up words from his Latin education confuses the heck out of me, and I think he made up ridiculous words just to fuck with people.  I didn't take Latin, therefore I have no idea how to decipher a word like some of my Catholic school friends do.  Even my boyfriend has to tell me sometimes what a word means and it makes me so mad to have to ask in the first place.

Just now, I am writing this from a library that I had to go to print some stuff out, but before that my boyfriend was driving me in Somerville to a Shakespeare audition.  I started crying in the car on the way there.  There are no words for how ashamed of myself I was because I just knew I was going to screw up and forget the monologue I've already fucked up before at the ART auditions last month.  Will pulled over and held me and said, "You don't have to go, you can do whatever you want."

Which made me realize, "Why in the hell am I auditioning for this in the first place?!  Do I even WANT to do a Shakespeare play on the off chance that I got this part?  NO!"  And that settled it for me.

Ladies and gents, here is my official announcement that I know and will not pretend to say that I am a Shakespearean actor.  I have Shakespeare training, both acting and literary, and I could write a heck of a paper, but at the end of the day I'd much rather do a Greek myth if any classic stuff at all, and will always prefer something from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Being honest with yourself and where your real talents lie is always better for an artist's growth.  Don't get yourself stuck trying to do something you feel weak about and may not even want to do in the first place.