Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Young Man

I had a wild hair this summer and decided that I wanted to read some plays.  After making my living as an actor for nearly fifteen years, then taking a break for the last twelve, some part of me was waking up and wanting to stretch.

On a whim, I sent out letters to a couple commercial agencies in town, and got called in for an audition last week.  I had to do a monologue, which to me as an actor when I was doing them all the time was the most nerve wracking, un-natural thing on earth; but now I'm a menopausal wreck who can barely remember my own name on a good day how was I going to memorize a monologue?

As it turns out, there is a lot of muscle memory to this stuff.  I worked and worked and muttered to myself for over a week.  I did my monologue for Charley, I rehearsed it while walking the dog, I did it while doing dishes.  I had the audition, it went okay, but my nerves!!! Oh my gosh.  Even though I feel a thousand times more comfortable in my skin than I did when I was working, I could still feel my heart racing, but I managed to get a callback.

It would be two days later, and with an additional two people in the (very tiny) room.  In the meantime - we had friends in town, we had doctors appointments, I could no longer just focus on "the work".  Still, I treated it like an experiment.  Just flexing old muscles, more for myself than anyone else.

Yesterday, as I was cleaning and muttering, JH asked why I was talking to myself.  When I explained what I was doing, he asked if he could hear my monologue.  I chose this monologue because the woman is crazy, and funny, and I thought it would be a chance to show them something close to myself.  Although I have never been institutionalized, menopause has given me new insight into irrational thinking!

Here is where the whole perspective shift happened for me.  My boy, my amazing kid, gave me his full attention.  He paid me compliments.  He gave me real and valuable feedback.  He was sort of wowed by my (rusty) ability to become someone else.  He helped to ground me, he helped me run lines, he helped calm my nerves on the way to the audition.  We had an appointment right after, so I brought him with me, and he waited in the lobby and played with the agent's 16 month old son.  He made me so, so proud.

I was a wreck.  I don't think I did very well.  I couldn't stop my heart from racing.  I had difficulty staying on track, but I finished the monologue well, I think.  The scene I read with one of the people in the room went better, though, but still, I doubt I'll be going back there any time soon.  But it didn't matter.  When I came down from the audition, saw my sweet young man sitting on the floor playing with the wee one, and later in the car, when he just reached out and touched my leg and said "I'm so proud of you, Mom.  I know you were nervous, but you did your best.  I'm so proud..."  I felt like nothing else mattered.  There was no beating myself up, no self-defeating talk, which had been my constant companion back in the day.

Now, there was only this:  No matter what external forces bring, whether failure or triumph, I am the mother to an amazing human being.

1 comment:

I, Rodius said...

Facebook has made me so lazy that without a "Like" button, I hardly know what to say. I hope my kid grows into a young man with the same maturity and sensitivity and generosity as your young man. And I bet you did better at that interview than you give yourself credit for. I tried to reorder that sentence such that it didn't end with a preposition, but I failed.