Flaming your passion

Ruth-St.-Denis-in-The-Greek-Veil-Plastique

I’ve been in rehearsal for a new show. Wild Songs & Naked Souls. I’ve never done anything like this before and though I’m not terrified, I am somewhat nervous. Nervous isn’t the right word, but I feel …… well nervous. The show is a collection of poetry and love letters and the like being dramatized. I love the concept, I’m my apprehension, yes that’s what I feel apprehension, is about not having done this before. Well that’s not exactly it either. Perhaps it’s not being familiar with the world of poetry and prose and the writers we are working with.

You see I grew up in The Bahamas and my family was not exactly what you  would call artistic. They were/are blue collar hard working middle class people. But I’ve always gravitated towards the arts. From I’ve known myself I’ve been an artist.  However, since I did not have access to a lot of these love letters, poetry and such that we’re working with, I feel a bit out of my league, which I hate feeling. This is really funny because I’ve always wanted to be this kind of artist. You know the artsy fartsy type that goes religiously to theater, and sits reading 17th century love letters and other obscure literature. Please I know I’m so pretentious!

And yet though I’m doing the artsy fartsy thing that I dreamed of, I’m so insecure about my performance because I haven’t had the experience with it. I haven’t been sitting in a coffee shop reading poetry and love letters. But I could have been, because I’m here. I’m in America in Los Angeles.  O.k L.A doesn’t really count I suppose because let’s face it, this city is not known for people lounging in coffee houses reading poetry!

My point is, and I’m getting to it, I think my feelings are coming from that fact that somewhere along the line I lost the vision of the kind of artist I wished to be. When I lived in The Bahamas and didn’t have direct access to AlbeeFranz Kafka and Pablo Neruda. I would spend my last dime trying to find those books, spend crazy amount of money to get them shipped to me on the island, etc. And now that I’m here in America and have those things at my fingertips, I haven’t been as voracious about it. I have an acting teacher that lives this stuff and is constantly imploring us to dig in. I could go directly to any Library and get a Neruda or go to the theater, yet I’m not. I remember saving up all my money to go to New York for a few days to see a play on Broadway. And now that I’m here I’m not seeing the plays as much. Not as hungry for the poetry.

I’ve thought about why this is and the first thing that came to mind is I allowed the daily grind to get to me. You see creating a career as an actor, an artist, takes a lot of work. And I’ve been bogged down in the “work” of it and I allowed my passion to be suppressed.  The day job, the life stuff, I allowed it all little by little to smother my flames. I’m not as revved up as I was before. Albeit I’ve noticed this from sometime, but I just didn’t know how to fix it. We all need to get the bills paid so I can’t exactly dispose of the day job.  And to be perfectly honest I can’t exactly blame all of this on the job because not only are they superbly flexible with me they are aware of my passion and don’t get in the way. So I can’t really blame anything, anyone but myself.

So how do you keep a fire going. Blow on it, poke the wood around a bit, stir things up. This show is my re-awakening, the rebirth of the flames of my artsy fartsy self!

{Photo Credit: Denishawn Collection/The New York Public Library}

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