I never know where to begin when I start writing. Sometimes, I’m blessed with an idea of a format. I sometimes know exactly what I am going to say to my faithful readers. Most of the time, I tend to write in the “free write” format. And then there are times when I completely plan out what I’m going to say because I’m sure I have something clever or witty to impart upon the masses. But lately, I’m starting to feel a little massed out.
I have not been able to write to the extent that I would like because I have (luckily) been very busy with my part time job (at LUSH again) and my budding career as an actor. As many people know, I spent the summer in Edinburgh, Scotland performing in a wonderful site specific piece called CARGO which taught me very much about myself and where I fit in this industry. The show, being my first professional show (and a very well paid one, at that) gave me a bit of direction and is responsible for my newfound ambition. I left that show knowing exactly what I wanted from my career, thanks to having made a lot of professional contacts and seeing people put in good work. To anyone involved in my CARGO experience, I thank you loads, as you have made me a better person.
Speaking of being a better person, I have been trying my best to be exactly that every single day. I came back to London with a new zest for life and an unexpected job offer. Lush Covent Garden was hiring, and I was lucky enough to just slot myself back into gear. Yes, selling soap is not my goal in life, but damn if it doesn’t pay the rent (which has gotten significantly higher since I decided to move from Stratford to Clapham in South London). Of course, I would see some old faces, but the newer faces were just as welcoming and I am very sure that I have made a couple friends for life from this shop. Moving on…
September began with a casting call for a Nokia viral with up and coming directors, The McHenry Brothers. More auditions would follow, but none would be as memorable as the one I had for a play which seemed so promising. The whole experience taught me that as long as you do your personal best, you will be rewarded, even it’s it isn’t in the most obvious way. Here’s the scenario (for you actors/actresses out there, pay attention):
I went to an “urgent” casting call because they were looking to replace an actor who was no longer available. For me that meant being able to go in and do a cold reading (which is a skill I rock like no other). For those who are not familiar with that phrase, cold reading is basically reading/acting a script without having any prior knowledge of it nor any time to properly prepare it. I read the script and could tell that the director and producer were pleased with my performance. After asking me if I would be available for rehearsals the next day, and if they could contact my agent, they gave me the script to take home and I was feeling more than excited. There was a chance I would get to originate a role and possibly get reviewed for it! Amazing!!! But then…the sun went down that day…and I’d heard nothing from my agent. Strange….
The next morning…I figured ‘I’ve still heard nothing. I’m going to take a trek down to the theatre. Maybe they’ll be expecting me.’ (I mean…I DID rearrange my work schedule for them, putting my bosses in disarray for a bit) So I arrived at the theatre…and could tell immediately that I wasn’t the actor they excpected. In fact, I was rushed out of the room before making too much contact with the performers in the room so that the producer could tell me “I’m sorry, but you didn’t get the part.” (yes, he made the obligatory face that accompanies a person who has to give bad news…”the ooooo and the wince” and I didn’t even feel rage…well not immediately. I felt shock first.) After informing him that no one told my agent that I wasn’t the “selected” one, he apologized profusely saying that she should’ve been contacted. I was then told, basically, that there was someone better than me who came in and was exactly what they were seeking (and I thought to myself wow…if only dating was this direct, then most people’s time wouldn’t be wasted.) After that embarrassing fiasco (or let’s call it “misunderstanding” to be fair) I somehow managed to walk back to the London tube with my head held high (it was a sunny day after all) and my thoughts in order.
No soon as my train departed from the station, however, my thoughts turned into a jumble of porridge mush in my head and I started feeling a bit worthless. I knew the feeling wouldn’t last, but dammit, I felt inadequate and I was gonna ride that negativity out until it left my system completely. (Thanks to my Lush employers for allowing me to, once again, rearrange my schedule and burden them with the story of my audition gone wrong). Lucky for me, I am also blessed with colleagues who believe that muffins can cure all problems….even unsuccessful auditions!
The rest of September was 1) laden with days of work at Lush, 2) making peace with a distressful yet mutual separation, 3) me getting grumpy at slow walking, hand-holding commuters who have no walking etiquette, 4) having to say goodbye to a very important friend who moved back to America. and 5) searching for a new flat with close friends of mine. The latter proved to be the most stressful (to the point where I had the flu and a high fever while I was on the hunt for London’s Next Top Affordable Flat). But eventually, the place that we wanted, in the perfect location that we desired, was what my friends and I ended up getting! Thank God!
Then there was the lovely Nokia N8 short film/advert I filmed with surprise leading actor Dev Patel (of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame). Not only is he the nicest celebrity I’ve met so far, but he’s very talented and professional. And yet…he’s younger than I am, and I assume more well-to-do than me, as well. But there’s no jealously here…if anything, I know (for a fact) after working with him that I want to be doing what he’s doing. So I’m going to keep fighting as hard as I can (within reason, though) to do the best I can because I’m all about making a better me right now.
Being “better” means rising to the challenges that my career and (most importantly) my life have set forth. I was blessed with the opportunity to audition for Topdog/Underdog (thanks to some very handy work done by my diligent agent), and I can now say that I am reprising my role of Booth. Having done the show once and not really feeling as if I were able to perform it to my full potential (as the circumstances around my previous performance prevented me from doing so), this second chance gives me a chance to actually give more to this role than I did before. I have been able to find some nuances that I’d missed before. I have also realized that though I thought some things about the character before, I’ve discovered more about him since the first time and my interpretation of him has grown. The challenge now is to make this guy believable and to tell his story as best as possible. I am so taken with playing this role because I know for a fact that this story is one that would never really get told, and to have it written and scripted in such a beautiful and particular way, it widens the perspective of the audiences who get to see it, much like how the film Precious touched ALL people regardless of race, culture, economic status, etc. It was a universal story and I’m proud to be a part of that.
Basically, at the end of the day, I live to tell a story, whether it is my own or whether it means helping someone else’s come to life. All experiences and emotions are quintessentially human and as a human being in this world, I can only do my best to make sure I live my universal life as best as humanly possible.