Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Flesh to Feather

So now that the cast list is officially posted and what not, I can tell you that I've been cast in The Swan by Elizabeth Egloff. I'm more excited for this project than I have been for any in a while, and as such, I fear failure with every cell. Of course I should embrace failure, to be consistent in my values, but I'm still working on that. Hypocrisy, like passive-aggression, is really just a function of having aspiration, since some failure is an inevitable side effect of persistent, repeated effort.

Anyway, the play is a fascinating little fantasy in which I get to break out some zoomorphic physical work. I'll appear nude in this one, as well (whether you consider that a warning or you consider that an enticement, you're right), so thelyamhound will be busting his canine ass to drop about 10 lbs. over the next two months. Wish me luck on that.

Auditioning was interesting in the context of my ongoing struggle with identity and its relationship to art. I will never be able to fully give up acting, any more than I can fully embrace the acting industry. In light of my work schedule and financial needs, I decided some time ago that I would only audition for shows that sound genuinely exciting, and stop doing shows as favors to friends or, far worse, as perceived stepping stones to some perception of legitimacy (a concept I despise, unless of course I happen to want it at the moment). When I got an email asking me to audition for this one, I was skeptical. But then I looked at the synopsis, and the sides . . . and something about this one just . . . I don't know, just seemed to call to me. It just seemed so right. So right that I was able to embrace the notion that it wouldn't work out, paradoxically. I auditioned knowing both that this was the right role for me, that I was right for the role, and that I might very well fail. That great cosmic buzz of caring-but-not-caring . . . oh, I tell ya . . . Why can't I feel that way all the time?

Anyway, it paid off. I got cast, I'm working with some cool folks, and I think it's gonna be awesome. I mean, if we can pull it off. If I can pull it off.

Also, the role I'm playing was played by Peter Stormare, opposite Frances MacDormand, in 1993. And that's cool.

I was laid out with a back spasm last Monday (probably the result of some misguided attempts to shock those 10 lbs. off in one fell swoop on Sunday morning). It's feeling better now. I wish I had something more interesting to add to that, but there you are.

Funny thing about that: I checked a website yesterday for some dietary information--not for weight loss, strictly speaking (I'm trying to improve my overall health, which is fine but could always be better), although I did note that I was interested in dropping a few pounds by April--and they had me put in things like height and weight. According to the BMI, I'm overweight. Now those of you who know me (in real life) know how neurotic I am about every pinch of fat I can scrape together; and while I feel that, to look (for acting purposes) and feel (for human purposes) my absolute best, I could afford to lose 5-10 lbs., I do NOT, in any way, shape or form, see myself as overweight. Has anyone ever found the BMI chart to be . . . just, I don't know, weird? Maybe there are questions of frame or musculature that need to be addressed. Maybe I'm delusional. Maybe I'm just American. Whatever it is, it struck me as odd.

I'm still sitting on a lot of writing--it's harder to get any sort of writing program started than it is to start acting again, especially when my primary interest seems to be writing screenplays & rock operas (neither of which I know how to do) and write for myself (my motives for which I'm always second guessing). And while all writers will have varying thoughts on this matter, it's my finding that the writing I force myself to do when I have no inspiration pretty much invariably ends up in the recycle bin. It's neither here nor there, since I still have two jobs to work, lines to memorize and a weighty book of biblical-era text to finish; but I need to assure myself that I haven't stopped trying to find a place in the chaos, or abandoned my intent to re-explore my writing. I've just abandoned myself a little more to whims of chance and intuition.

It also occurred to me that being a physical actor--and I think it's fair to say that I am one--bears a useful relation to being a writer, because the physical actor has a level of freedom in creating a "text" of sorts that's bound to, yet independent (ultimately) of, the written text at hand.

My other theatre group, UMO, is having its retreat in June. A longtime colleague, also a relatively recent inductee into the company, has proposed our creating a "routine" that can be used for onsite gigs (corporate or artistic events where we perform clown routines, sketches or ongoing improv in a crowd situation--onsite gigs = good money for not too much work). It may be an interesting opportunity, both for making money in the industry without interfering with my day job or wasting time on unpalatably middlebrow projects and also for learning a bit about creating text for physical acting.

Ultimately, I can only go forward, with whatever caution or circumspection I care to apply. My greatest fear? That I'm a dilletante, looking for a place in the art world because what I crave is the artistic lifestyle. My greatest dream? I don't know. So I guess I'd best find one.


Blogger the beige one said...

all quite exciting stuff, mon ami! And yeah, define that dream, buddy, having it will at least give you a magnetic north.

4:20 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

There are vagaries about the dream that I can define: I wish to have audiences, always; I wish to have my ideas heard; I wish to maintain the consciousness of a warrior, to be a barrier between injustice and those victims thereof that I can help; I wish to be an actor the way Nick Cave is a musician, not an actor the way Yo Yo Ma is a musician (if the distinction makes sense to you--I'll gladly clarify); I wish to be a handsome old man; I wish to travel, but not as a tourist; I wish to grow old with Christine; I wish to write my industrial-jazz-clown-opera trilogy and perform therein; I wish to write a book; I wish to achieve financial stability.

I don't know what all of that looks like, so I can't really "visualize" it the way one would, say, a clear directive like, "I wish to be a Tony-winning, musical-theatre actor."

4:43 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

I don't necessarily think you "have" to visualize it any specific way. I think just having all those sentences you just typed in your head, and repeating them to yourself often, will garner a lot of movement in your life. The specifics don't matter, keep your eye on the goal.

I mean shit, look at all those things you just said you wanted. I used to have to pull teeth to get you to say what you wanted, and sometimes, with certain things, still do, but that's another post. :)

Hmm..."caring and not caring"...hmmm sounds like a debate that we've been having for oh like TWELVE years.

Duality is your friend. It's not "do" versus "be", it's "do" AND "be". But I'm waterlogged from the spa tonight, and I wax verbose, so I leave it at that.


10:11 PM  
Blogger Missuz J said...

The "vagaries" of your dream sound absolutely lovely to me, and fairly specific as well. I wish you all of them.

1:04 PM  

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