How About An Ice Cold Bucket Of....
I needed to prep for an audition that calls for a character that in short is fierce, hot, funny and totally comfortable with overtly sexual material. So, I took a somewhat innocent, cute, comedic song and raunched it up a bit - okay maybe a little more than a bit, but anyone who knows me knows that I love going for shock value (it's my way of sticking it to our hypocritical society). In any event, it didn't go over so well in class and I was reprimanded for it. By the way, my choices weren't that extreme - they just weren't appropriate for Disney, I mean that particular class. Nonetheless, it felt like an ice cold bucket of judgment was thrown at me.
My first reaction was to be embarrassed and ashamed of what I did so I quickly apologized, then as I stood there taking it all in, while being berated, I began to feel humiliated and helpless, which then turned into anger at the fact that I was apologizing for myself. Of course, I didn't act out on my anger; I understood where the judgment was coming from. I took it like a champ and explained what I was planning to use the piece for and sang my song again minus the fabulouSEXness.
I still felt like shit afterward because it's bad enough that I judge myself, but to have others do it just took it to another level. Sheri Sanders once said this about our inner critic: Imagine if someone came up to you and said all those negative things you say to yourself you'd tell that person to fuck off so that's what you need to do to the judge in your head. But today I couldn't just say "fuck off" to the entire class; I didn't want to and it really wasn't merited. Instead, I took the rejection to heart.
I tried putting the incident behind me by focusing on memorizing lines for upcoming performances I have in the plays "Flowers" (dealing with domestic violence - will be writing about this next), and "The Taming of the Shrew" (Shakespeare - a raunchy mofo with my kind of humor). It was then that I recalled a great piece of advice I got from Terry Schreiber. I was doing a spoon river exercise in Terry's class and my character was "Dora Williams" - a bonne vivante who enticed wealthy men, killed them, inherited their fortunes and lived a short yet full life. I was fascinated by Dora because she was unapologetic of her life and even felt triumphant about it after death, but I was afraid of having others see me as her because that just wasn't my persona. Terry noticed my struggle and told me that I had to stop judging my character if I truly wanted to become one with her. I followed his advice and from that moment on I felt a huge sense of openness as an actor. I knew that I needed to achieve that openness in my personal life and I'm working on it, but I've come a long way baby and I do feel triumphant about that.
Okay, so maybe I should have reserved my audition piece for another setting (next time), but when I think about it I performed it without passing any judgment whatsoever on myself or the character and it was pretty darn good - even if I'm the only one who thought so.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that any form of judgment, be it external or internal, can be detrimental to us, if we allow it to be. I love acting and I feel I'm good at it for the very reason that I don't pass judgments on my characters or on myself as the characters. And really...who the fuck am I to be passing judgment(s) on anyone else?!
"The more one judges, the less one loves." -Honoré de Balzac
There will always be someone who makes you feel like you got it all wrong, but that doesn't matter so long as you remain committed to your actions and accomplish your goals. I did HA! ;))