Day 10 of the @yoga_girl, #yogagirlchallenge is GET CREATIVE.
I’m embarrassed to admit I grumbled when I saw the theme for the day. It *shoould* have been a slam dunk for me, I should have been able to churn up a shorty story or poem or stand under the elevated platform of the 7 train and do an impromptu monologue slam for the good people of Sunnyside but instead I dreaded posting, writing and the very thought of “getting creative” that day. So yesterday, when I shut my work computer and began to get ready to go the play reading I’d volunteered to read for, later that evening I realized I might have an easy out for today’s challenge in the form of this play reading.
But to be honest I didn’t really want to go to that either. I’d volunteered before I could talk myself out of it and despite have a piqued interest about the subject of the play (roller derby!) I didn’t know anyone at the event and barely knew the playwright—I was feeling really insecure, guilty and ashamed having talked myself out of many an audition for the past month and while I was definitely doing more writing than in past, I was feeling really, really tapped when it came to the performative aspect of my creativity.
But I got on the train, opened my book and an hour and a half later showed up on her stoop in Brooklyn with a “fuck it, I’m here’ attitude. As soon as I sat down I realized I was in a room of pretty fantastic women and had a pretty fucking good script in my hand. A script with a cast of ten, strong female characters (check the sky for flying pigs!) and when I read my character description (“derby veteran, loud mouth, nurse) I laughed to myself. One of the things I’ve jokingly/not jokingly moaned about since moving here was that I’m ALWAYS cast as the ‘nurse’ be it a play, a staged reading, or here we are, an informal play development workshop. This time I found it oddly reassuring, a nod to the fact that I was in the right place, there was something for me here, so I took a deep breath, an even deeper swig of wine and the reading began.
When I said my first line and got a laugh, I immediately felt that feeling in my belly that I feel when things are going right, clicking along and organically born. I recognized that feeling as the one I chase as an actor, the one that keeps me tethered to this craft that beats you the fuck up, spits you out and makes you face some mighty big demons named rejection and competition. And then that amazing thing was happened when you can separate yourself enough from the character to leave the insecure actor behind and step into the shoes of the character who’s time it is to have their voice heard.
When it was all done and we sat there talking about the development of this great little play I began composing a monologue in my head for a new play I’d dreamed up while sitting in this room packed full of creativity and passion, I mentally fixed a scene that’d been bothering me from a play I’ve been working on and I realized that as an actor, my insecurity is my biggest hinderance of all—if I could put that to bed, I’d be good to go.
I walked back to the train station in the early hours of the next morning, surrounded by some really great actresses and new friends. As we laughed and joked together, I realized that creativity, even if it’s hard to find sometimes, is contagious. I realized that the things I want to do the least often have the most for me in return. I realized that creativity never leaves you, but rather sleeps in places you can’t find, hides behind laziness or insecurity and can be teased out with something as simple as a train ride to Brooklyn.