Do Something Else!

RayIn early 2005 I was stuck. In a creative rut. The ideas weren’t coming as fast. Sometimes they weren’t coming at all. Basically, my Mojo wasn’t working. So, I went on an audition.

Although I’ve been performing as a musician since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to act. Actually my secret desire was to someday be a footnote in the credits: “Man at bar #2”. Uncomfortable in my own skin, becoming someone else seemed like the perfect way to be someone else for a while. The Great Escape!

The only acting I ever did was in second grade when I played the butler in “The Frog Prince” so you can imagine my surprise when I passed the audition and was chosen as one of the lead actors. At the first rehearsal I was handed a script and to my horror noticed that my character, Ray, had lines on every single page! At that moment I had a major anxiety attack and began to sweat internally. I eyed all of the exits and tried to figure out how I could sneak out of the rehearsal without anyone noticing. After the read-through I approached the director, thanked him for the opportunity and told him there was no way I could do this. It was just too overwhelming. He then stopped me, put his arm around my shoulders in a fatherly sort of way and said not to worry. Everything would be just fine. I would be just fine. “Right now you’re only thinking about opening night, right? he said. “You’re not considering what it takes to get there. Time. Patience. The Journey.”

And you know what? He was right. After a few weeks a transformation occurred and I gradually became Ray, my alter ego, who, wide-eyed and simple, strutted around our house with a drawl as big as Texas. I eventually found that memorizing the lines was the easy part. Acting – becoming someone else –was the work. But for me, it came easy. And I welcomed the opportunity to become someone else for a while. For a number of years after my stage debut, I went on countless auditions and landed parts in many productions playing a wide variety of characters and misfits – a psychotic, criminal, necropheliac, bisexual theatre director, Italian Uncle, Texas yahoo and even God – in regional theaters,  Off-Broadway and even performing an Ira Levin play with the author in the audience!

And it all started by taking a chance. Trying something new. Opening myself up to new experiences. So if you’re stuck and need to get your Mojo working. Try something else. Paint. Learn to play the harmonica. Build a model. Take the long way home. Or, go on an audition.

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