Have I ever told you about the first time I acted?
I was in high school. Senior year. I had interest in taking the drama class for a few years but it wasn’t open to underclassmen until I was actually IN senior year. Bugger.
The first half of the year was spent mainly reading plays in class at our desks, watching movies and plays on film. By the time mid-terms came up, we were ready for our first big assignment: To perform a soliloquy from either MacBeth or Hamlet. If necessary, we could use another classmate to read a line or two during it. If I remember correctly, there had to be at least 32 lines or something within the soliloquy. I chose MacBeth.
I chose the part which includes “Life is but a walking shadow…” and quickly memorized the surrounding 31 lines, but it wasn’t enough. There was still a lot more to this scene and I couldn’t just stop there. I went on to memorize the entirety of scene 5, act 5, and I enlisted the help of Mary Falls to play the part of Seyton and a messenger.
SCENE V. Dunsinane. Within the castle.
Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers, with drum and colours
Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
The cry is still ‘They come:’ our castle’s strength
Will laugh a siege to scorn: here let them lie
Till famine and the ague eat them up:
Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
And beat them backward home.
A cry of women within
What is that noise?
It is the cry of women, my good lord.
I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool’d
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in’t: I have supp’d full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.
Wherefore was that cry?
The queen, my lord, is dead.
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Enter a Messenger
Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.
Gracious my lord,
I should report that which I say I saw,
But know not how to do it.
Well, say, sir.
As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look’d toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.
Liar and slave!
Let me endure your wrath, if’t be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.
If thou speak’st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.
I pull in resolution, and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth: ‘Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane:’ and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
I gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone.
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we’ll die with harness on our back.
And with that last line, I swung my back to the class and walked away towards Mary Falls, waiting in the back for the scene to complete. My eyes widened as I approached her, as did hers. My arms stretched out, as did hers, and we just hugged as we squealed. I was filled with electricity and adrenaline like I’ve never felt before.
But it was when I turned back around, to face the class and my teacher, which took me to another level. I turned and saw my teacher get up as he clapped… briskly walk towards me with his hand held out… and he vigorously… shook… my hand. He shook it with a combination of excitement, pride, and (if I may say so) amazement. The class had risen to their feet with him as they continued to clap. I was so overwhelmed, it was as if I was hit in the gut and had the air knocked out of me. The emotional release of the powerful scene with the addition of how the performance was accepted by my teacher, I can’t remember what happened the rest of that day but I will always remember that moment.
I aced that mid-term. The 2nd half of the year focused on the play we’d put on for the school and community at the end of the year. I played a crotchety old man, still in love with his crotchety, old wife as they reflected upon their lives together in a play entitled “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.”
I left high-school with a clear indication of what I loved. This was a passion greater than music or art or anything else. Above all else, THIS felt right. This fulfilled me in ways nothing else could. But I couldn’t pursue it when I left school. I had shift-work jobs that were unpredictable in the times and days I would work, preventing me from committing to any sort of community theater. When I did have set schedules, I worked too far from home to allow sufficient time in my evening to commit. Then I got the job I’m at now and learned a co-worker acted in a theater close to our job. But I couldn’t because I had the band.
I realized just last Friday that I can now do this. The time is finally right. It’s been over 10 years since I left school, though. It’s a very scary thing. But I have to do this while I still can.
So, I went to an audition at that local theater last night and for the first time in 10 years, I acted again.
It would be sad if I don’t get a part in the play, but in a way, it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t really about getting the part. It was doing it. It was going. And man, what a fucking rush. Just like the soliloquy, each time I walked off stage I was shaking and unable to focus on anything or anyone. I was totally filled with adrenaline again. There was no applause for anyone during these auditions, which I found slightly rude, but maybe that’s just the way things are there. Regardless, I found it very interesting that I could still feel this way even without any praise. It proved to me it was not about that. It’s just being up there and doing it.
As for this audition, I don’t know if I was supposed to get a call today/tonight or not. I’m waiting to get confirmation on when I would receive a call, if I were to be cast. Whatever the case may be, I am proud of myself right now and I can’t remember the last time I felt that.
- Don't worry, this'll all be interesting when I'm dead.
ReminderSometimes I need to play this for myself just to remember what it feels like to smile. And it doesn't just make me smile because of the message (though it never fails) but because someone took the time to get her to record it for me.
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