Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Asking the Deepest Questions

About a year ago, I met for lunch with a pretty "important person," who said to me that I needed to just commit to one thing in the theatre business, because otherwise people wouldn't know what to do with me. I was seeking data from him and many to decide to give my life purpose or drive. In that instant, I realized that his advice was limiting and boxes one in.

Whilst I recognize the importance of commitment and saving money, being an artist requires me to be more than an actor or just an admin. It requires a joy and openness to always being a student, a teacher, and an actor, and a singer, and an administrator, and a writer.

I spent most of last week travelling back and forth between New York City and my current residence, Providence, RI, to take some classes with a deeply inspiring role model/mentor in my life, Alexandra Silber. I hadn't been in an acting classroom since 2013, and it was an important opportunity as a wiser, on-the-other-side-of-the-mountain 27 year old. To reacquaint myself with deep questions about who I am and how I execute my artistry.

I ask myself many of these questions on the regular, but to do it in a structured space with allies enhances and challenges one to go deeper. And it also inspired me to take charge of how I am actively executing my goals and embedding a positive mindset into my life habits. Because only through believing I, right now, can execute my loftiest dreams may I ever accomplish them. And I can.

When I left NYC in 2015, I wasn't ready to be there. The lifestyle and the expense wasn't something I could marry with my desire to make art. Right now, I am an active, deeply involved ensemble member with the fringe RI company OUT LOUD Theatre, where we challenge ourselves to expand and probe the concepts of performance and space. It is deeply satisfying and productive, and therefore I feel successful in it. When we presented Marat/Sade in March, I used ever tool in my kit and worked with a company so thorough in its work that I can't help but be proud.

Many more extraordinary opportunities are happening at OUT LOUD through to next summer, and I have been hired during my brief lulls at OUT LOUD by a company called 2nd Story for two of their productions. And it's happening because of the work I am putting in at OUT LOUD.

In addition, I am writing a musical with a friend. And there are so many other things I wish to do... and no one is giving me a permission slip to do them. I just have to do them. I sometimes think when I've just done something of my own volition, it's been a surprise to me I have at all. I believe the next step to greatness is purposefully doing the things.

And perhaps the biggest change in my mindset is that I say with intense confidence that I am an actor, but chiefly I also say I am an artist. Because the pursuit of serving pieces in different manners is paramount. Studying dramaturgy as a master's is likely the best thing for me to do by the time I reach my early 30s. I want to solidify a foundation of teaching or administration and then continue to expand and probe my artistic boundaries from there. But in the meantime, I make art and work for the RI Philharmonic and love every moment of it, At 5pm, I leave the office and rehearse or sing or write.