Of Mice and Acting

On mice:
These little guys are so tricky. I truly believe they are adorable, despite how disgusting they actually are. I have a penchant for little animals with cute faces, and this particular rodent belongs in that category in my mind. So, while I was startled to find one scampering around my kitchen, it was incredibly difficult to accept that I need to get rid of this thing. Otherwise I will have a bigger problem on my hands including more mice, lost food, a scared dog, and possibly hantavirus, of which I had never heard before but sounds very disturbing. I’m experiencing – what do they call it? Cognitive dissonance? I know I’ve got to take care of the mouse, and to most effectively do this I’ve got to kill it. At the same time I don’t want to kill anything, you guys. Pacifist’s dilemma. Everyone I have been talking to has said “Kill the thing!!!” People have had some pretty bad experiences with mice, so I need to heed their warnings. I set up the trap yesterday and am just waiting for the moment when I look in my pantry and see a dead mouse :S (Yuck, I can’t deal with it.)

On acting:
Trying to participate in theatre after five years has been an interesting adventure. I thought I’d give it is a shot to see if I still have any theatrical desire in me. It has been a lot of fun, no question about that, mostly because of the people I have met who are a part of the show. I really like everyone – the cast, the crew, the director – and we have gotten along splendidly. It was a little unusual to go into a show not knowing anyone else, but it has been a great thing.

There have been some challenges, though. I’m not sure if they are challenges that come with theatre and you deal with them because of your love for the craft, or if they are things I just want to avoid altogether and are reason enough to keep me from doing shows in the future. First of all, it takes up SO MUCH TIME. I’m only in about 2-3 minutes of the entire show. I have about 25 lines. That is a very, very small fraction of the show. But I am there so much! I can’t even imagine how much time and effort I would spend if I had a main part. After working all day long, my dog is very happy for me to be home and I feel like an awful person leaving her again for another 2-3 hours. NOT COOL!

Another challenge is my lack of motivation/festering stage fright. As I’ve become increasingly introverted over the years (yeah, weird, right?) I have noticed it is difficult for me to always speak out when I’m in a group of people, mostly because I’m all in my head and thinking about my surroundings and what is the best thing to say. I think outwardly this makes me seem like I am not really interested in what is going on, when I really just have a lot of thoughts buzzing. So when I have to get up on stage and pretend to be this very outward, overly-enthusiastic character, I tighten and get so nervous to do this in front of people. I’m afraid I will seem insincere, because in a way that is exactly what I am being! (thought: how does one fake sincerity?) All of this combined makes it so hard for me to WANT to get up on stage and try to act. It’s strangely easier to do this when the lights are up and I know there is a full house out there but I can’t see them, than when it’s just rehearsal and I’m trying to act in front of my fellow actors. Maybe I feel like I will get more judgment from my team than from the audience? This may or may not be true, but might not be a bad thing.

ANOTHER challenge is that I feel like I’m pausing from real life to spend time living in a fantasy world. Spending hours to memorize lines, working out how we’re just going to stand and move on stage, and trying to connect (and awkwardly so) with other people, as other people, in this imaginary world. Meanwhile I could be doing the things that Hannah loves to do, like connecting with real people, not characters. Or knitting, or reading about the world, or listening to Joni Mitchell, or engaging with the REAL world. Clearly acting is not on the list of things Hannah loves to do, so maybe this is a good sign.

I still may try out for musicals periodically in the future, or for shows that I really, really love. I do think I like performing – women’s glee concerts were always highlights after a semester of hard work. Maybe this experience has led me to a place where I realize my search is not over. Dramatic theatre isn’t exactly where I want to be, but I’m sure there is some way I can perform in some capacity and absolutely love it. Maybe I need to be involved in musicals, maybe I should be a part of a choir again, or maybe I should try spoken-word poetry! (Just kidding.) Rather than finding a specific answer that I was looking for in this endeavor, I only answered one small part, and need to ask many, many more questions before I can find my performance sweet spot.

One Love,
Hannah

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