culture theatre & dance

When the Stage Goes Dark

September 4, 2011

I strive to stay upbeat and positive on this blog. I have many blessings in my life for which I am very grateful. I may be short on money much of the time, but compared to many people in this world, I am very wealthy. I recognize that. However, this self-awareness does not prevent me from experiencing periods of unhappiness, self-doubt, and frustration, as we humans are prone to do. I’m choosing to write about this now because I’ve been struggling with it for some time. Today, I felt like hit rock bottom, if you will, and now I would like to climb out of this funk.

Creatively, I am in a dark place. I live in a fairly remote rural community. When seeking performance opportunities last year, I drew a one-hour-drive radius from my house and considered only theatres that fell within it because that’s about as far as I can manage mentally and physically during the rehearsal process and run of a show. There is only one professional theatre within that range (a 55-minute drive), and I am unable to continue working there because my non-union status precludes me from earning enough income to cover my travel costs. There are many community theatres near me, but again, without any sort of pay to cover a babysitter or fuel, not to mention the considerable time commitment, I will lose money on the endeavor. This is simply not an option for me while trying to raise and support a family. Thus, unless we move, I am on an indefinite theatrical sabbatical.

I am hoping to find more work in film and commercials since they typically have shorter time commitments and higher pay than theatre, and I have made some professional connections in the Cleveland area over the last year or so. I signed with a talent agency and joined the cast of a radio variety show, with other small gigs here and there, but the work is infrequent and requires a three-hour round-trip commute. I can handle the longer drive since it’s just every once in a while, but it’s difficult to drive so far and still feel energized to perform. Sometimes I’m gone all day for a five-minute audition, and I can’t help but wonder, “Is it worth it?”

I don’t like feeling jaded and cynical. I am a dreamer, which may be a large part of my problem, but I’m a dreamer just the same. I want to feel the way I used to feel about performing, back when it was for fun and not my job. I’m admittedly not very good at the business part of show business. I am improving, but it does not come naturally to me: I feel like I am doing something wrong most of the time, which is not a good feeling. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.

I’ve decided that I need to start creating my own performance opportunities. I have wanted to put together a cabaret act for a long time, and with no other projects on the calendar, this seems to be a good time to get started. Additionally, I feel that I need some other course of therapy to help heal my sickly inner artist. She maybe looks a bit like this:


I’ve started The Artist’s Way twice before and haven’t finished. I would like this time to be different. I will use this blog as a place to share my experience of the process and to keep myself on track by making the commitment to do so. Please feel free to hold me accountable. I’ll probably need it.

Here we go.

*If you own this image and would like it removed, please contact me directly. Thank you.

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