Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Good News And The Bad News

I recently opened a show.  The rehearsal process for this show was particularly stressful.  Add to the mix the fact that I've been away from my husband since the beginning of April and have only seen him for a handful of days (and not consecutively, either), and it's made for a hard summer thus far.  As an actor, I am very thankful to be working (although I find it slightly ironic that I actually make more a week on unemployment than I am making at my current job).  But I am also realizing that Jonah has become more important to me than my career, and our time away from one another has been harder for me to deal with.

That being said, my career is still very important to me.  More on that in a minute.

This past weekend, after my show opened, I flew out to spend a couple of days with Jonah.  The time when my show's performance ended and the time when my flight was scheduled to depart were pretty close, and I worried that I might miss my flight.  Thanks to some good friends and careful planning, I made my flight just fine.

As I felt the excitement of knowing that I would be seeing my husband soon, I was filled with such joy.  While we were flying I actually started crying, I was so happy.  Because of my work schedule, I only was able to spend two days with Jonah.  It was way too short, but it was good to see him and our three cats.  And he cleaned the house for my arrival, so that was a nice surprise, too.  (Oh, and one thing about long-distance relationships is that the reunion sex is AWESOME!)  And just as strong as my joy and elation was when I was flying home, I felt the pangs of sadness when I had to leave.  I wish we could have spent more time together, but such is the nature of our jobs.

About two weeks ago I auditioned for a show I really wanted to be in.  It's a contemporary drama, which is exactly the kind of show I've been craving.  I've been doing musicals and comedies for so long, I just wanted a chance to do something serious and straight.

My long-time boss at this particular theatre company recently retired, and there is now a new boss, one with whom I've never worked and who doesn't know me well.  One one hand, that's cool.  It means the theater is getting some new blood; that there will be a new set of directors and artistic personnel to work with; and perhaps it means new opportunities.  On the other hand, I was worried about my future at a company that has been fairly consistent in hiring me, and one where I felt I was working my way up and getting better parts.  I worried that the new boss wouldn't take to me or like my acting or that I wouldn't be hired.  So I wanted to make a good impression.

I do have to say in my brief interactions with the new boss, I like her.  She seems more open and easy to talk to than my old boss, who, while I'm very thankful for the opportunities he gave me, was also someone I never really connected with or ever really got to know in spite of working with him for 12 years.  I am also intrigued to see what direction our new boss wishes to take the company.  But it is admittedly, a time of uncertainty for me as an employee.

Anyway, the cast of this show I tried out for is relatively small, and there were only two parts I thought I would be appropriate for, and really, only one seemed really right for me.  So I tried out for that part.

Both the new boss and the director of the show were in the room as well as an assistant, who I knew.  I read my part with a reader, and I thought it went really well.  I also liked the director a lot and thought she would be someone that I would enjoy working with.  She informed me that her vision for the part for which I read, although I read it well, was for someone younger and that she wanted me to read the other part I had considered, but which I didn't feel I was quite right for type-wise.  She gave me a lot of input on what I should concentrate on when I read the new part at the callback the next day and said she was very interested to see what I would do with it, in part because it was quite different from the first part I read.

I was excited to be called back, especially since it's a project I very much wanted to be considered for.  I didn't doubt that I could act the part well, but didn't see myself as a good physical match for the part.  Still, I worked very hard on it and came up with a lot of good ideas on how I should play it.

The next day I was the first one to read, and I played the scene with the same reader.  The director was also very helpful at preparing me for the scene and allowing me to do what I wanted to do with it.  After I did the scene, I was very pleased with my performance, and she seemed happy with my interpretation.  She asked me if I played the guitar or harmonica, as she might want the character to play an instrument.  I replied that I had played the guitar in a show, but was in no way proficient and that it would be a challenge.  I also said I had played the harmonica before, and while again not proficient, I felt confident that I could learn to play it well enough for the show provided I was given enough notice on what song(s) to learn.

She and my new boss thanked me, and I left the audition feeling that I had done very well, but also feeling that I had some good competition, and if it boiled down to physical type, I probably wouldn't get the part.  It seemed now that there was only one appropriate part for me, and I doubted I was completely right for it, so I figured I probably wouldn't get it.  I guess actors can be insecure, and maybe because I wanted it so much, I was bracing for disappointment so it wouldn't be as disappointing.  I also took solace in the fact that not getting the part meant I would get to go home to Jonah for at least a couple of months.

I learned that the theatre company would also be holding out-of-town auditions in August, so I didn't expect to hear until then.  But a few days ago, the assistant sent me an email saying that I was under serious consideration for the part, but that they didn't know when they could let me know either way, and that if my availability were to change to let them know.

I asked Jonah, who frankly, is a bit psychic, if he thought I would get the part.  He indicated that he felt I would.  But I didn't want to get my hopes up.

Yesterday morning my cell phone rang, and I saw it was from the theater's managing director.  Calls from him are always a good thing; it usually means you're being offered a job.  So I excitedly answered the call, and sure enough, he was calling to let me know that I had been cast in the part and wanted to know if I accepted.  Of course, I said yes.  He also informed me that I would be getting a raise, which was an unexpected, but welcome, surprise.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am.  This show and part is exactly what my acting muscles need.  The part will be a challenge, I think, but also is a welcome challenge.  I need this show and this part.  This is exactly the kind of show and part I have been aching to do, and I am so excited about it.  Based on my first impressions, I'm also looking forward to working with this director and I'm looking forward to getting to know my new boss better and hopefully will impress her enough with my work that she will want to hire me again.

I'm also grateful for this opportunity.  Under my old boss, I'm not sure I would have been cast in either this role or the play itself.  I like that the new regime doesn't know my work at all because that way they aren't typecasting me.  I may get new and different opportunities that I wouldn't have gotten under my old boss, and I like that.  As the managing director said in his phone call to me, "It must feel nice to get a job right off the bat with a new regime."  I said that indeed it did.

Truth be told, I am kind of astounded that I was cast in this role.  I did not expect it, but am abundantly grateful.

Of course, the downside of all of this is that this next job starts only two weeks after my current one ends, so that's not a whole lot of time to spend with Jonah, and if I get cast in the show after that, that will be nine months I will have spent apart from him.  So career-wise, great things could happen, but relationship-wise, it's not so good.

Still, I do think it's important to prove myself with this new administration and to keep my foot in the door so that I can continue working steadily.  It's also important to stay employed.  Jonah's long-time job will be coming to an end in September, and as he has been the breadwinner in our relationship due to his ample salary, things are going to change soon, and I will have to carry more of the load, so it's important that I have money in the bank to help pay for our mortgage and necessities.  But I sure do miss Jonah.  I'm not sure either of can take a nine-month stretch.

Whatever happens, I am definitely ecstatic and thrilled over this latest job opportunity.  It's just what I need career-wise.  I am so, so thankful.  God blesses me with so much.  I do not deserve any of it, but I'll take it.

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