Wednesday, March 4, 2009

well, well, well...

it seems that I have gotten myself cast in a play.

WHAT? (Yeah - that's about how I feel.)

Yes, my bachelor's degree is in Theater with an acting emphasis, but somehow "actor" has never rolled off the tongue when I'm describing myself. I didn't jet off to grad school for an MFA, I didn't move to L.A. and I was only a waitress for about a year (har, har). I did move to New York for about 18 months, but that's a whole 'nother story!

Sometime in the last few months I decided that I needed to act again before expanding our family. 2009 looked like a good year to set that kind of goal for myself. (I also need a car and we need a house, but hey - priorities!) I began my hunt for roles in local companies' upcoming shows and to make a long story short, I went to this particular audition merely to get the cobwebs out and get some juices flowing again. I'm honestly surprised that the director cast me, but I'm genuinely pleased as well.

I've been in about a half a dozen productions since my proud graduation day in June of 1997, when I wore a large hyena head hat (yes, you read that correctly) and was jubilantly silly with my fellow theater & dance majors. I remember that day well - I sat next to a friend who bounced his knee throughout the entire ceremony, quite literally bursting with excitement because he was getting on a plane for New York that very night to go start his career. I remember being floored by his courage and drive. (Incidentally, he has never left the big city - he's been dancing professionally for almost 12 years now and he began producing shows as well a few years ago. You go, Adam Z.!) Where was I? Oh yes - in case you didn't do the math, my average is 1 show every 2 years since I got my diploma. Not stellar.

Why so few acting gigs? Good question, and one I've definitely pondered yet never really answered over the years.
I suspect that I don't really have the ego of an actress. I kind of hate giving monologues for auditions, it weirds me out to own stacks of 8x10 pictures of my face, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that occasionally a stereotypical "theater person" will annoy the bejesus out of me. I definitely don't have the thick, rejection-proof skin required. Oh, but I do love to be onstage. Over the years I've satisfied my theater itch by stage managing and house managing at my friends' theater company, as well as supporting my acting & directing friends as an enthusiastic audience member when possible.
I guess I never had "the bug" badly enough to attempt a career in the field - just enough to dedicate 3.5 years in college to studying and rehearsing living in the Theater Department - and enough to make me cry during Academy Award acceptance speeches.
In all seriousness, though - I think one of the things that has kept me from acting is my unique and neurotic form of perfectionism. The thing is, good theater - really, good theater - is utterly magical. If I'm going to do something that is meant as entertainment for other people, I need to do it extremely well. And the effort that requires - the commitment, the focus, the energy, is no small task.

I want to do this. I'm thrilled that I'm being given the opportunity.

And now the work begins.


bsittler said...

cograts! go break a leg :)

bLacKfoOt said...


Nay-Nay said...

Congratulations Janine - I hope to follow in your footsteps someday soon!! I totally feel your perspective....

Gillian Kessler said...

you go girl! it's so important to reconnect with art and what you are truly passionate about when you have a little one. i'm so glad you're getting back on the stage. love your shout out to adam z too! how phenom are those two out there in the big city?

thanks for your sweet bday comment. much love.