The play is over. Yesterday was the final performance of “so you wanna be a vampire.” Couple of questions came up: how was the experience? How do you feel? And what’s next?
How was the experience?
I had a great time! This was the first performance I booked in LA. So, after years of auditioning and hearing nothing back, I was finally rewarded with a chance to perform. To play! To have fun! I was finally validated that I can act and that I’m wanted.
The theater is such a different medium from movies and television. There’s a live audience. We had two performances each week for 6 weeks total. That’s a lot of chances to improve one’s performance. Closing night had better be better than opening night. And lucky for us, it was! You could feel it. During closing weekend, the cast was finally having fun instead of worrying about forgetting lines or if the blood pump was going to work [reminder: we had a splatter zone ;)].
This was also black box theatre. Literally everyone’s in a black box (ceiling, walls, floor, stage all black). It was intimate. Small-scale production. Small cast. The play wasn’t well known and so sometimes, we had more people on stage than in the audience. Cast was made up of six ppl. With so little ppl in the seats, I could hear every laughter AND every non-laughter.
I’m an extrovert. Hands down. And I define extroversion by being energized and thriving off from being around others. I would say most of the cast are extroverts as well. And I make this assumption because when we heard ppl laugh, it drove us. It fed us. Our performances were stronger.
With a live audience, you can tell if what you’re doing or what you’re saying is landing, is affecting the audience IMMEDIATELY. So based on their reactions, you can decide whether or not to change or to keep what you’re doing for the next show. The whole live aspect was something I never really thought about for film and television. In acting class, I was taught that the most important person in the scene is the person your character is talking to. But with live theater, not only is it that other person that’s the most important, but the AUDIENCE as well!
Silence then, became an indicator that something was wrong or something wasn’t working. However, there is a caveat to this conclusion. This play was a dark comedy and what makes it a dark comedy is because the protagonist was so pathetic that you should pity her, but instead you laugh, and then you feel bad for laughing. So silence isn’t a really good indicator of any bad acting, since ppl may laugh, but just inwardly so as not to look like an asshole. Hahah!
How do you feel?
So, another indicator of whether or not you’re doing well is actual feedback from the audience! How did they feel? How did they like it? Everybody who came said they had fun! They loved it! The director said I was everything and more of what she wanted. The writer said I made an awesome bitch. And my friends told me I killed it! So, this makes me feel awesome!
What was even more awesome was all the support I got. Ok, another caveat. Feedback from the audience might not be as objective if it’s all coming from your friends and family. Hahah, they’re obviously biased. But, it says a lot when they show up and take the time to come out, to buy a ticket, to sit through a black box, and to endure a little bit of fake blood splatter. And even for the ones that couldn’t show up, everyone around me was so encouraging! I had cheerleaders, I had people believing in me. It felt really good.
When I was younger, I watched e-true Hollywood stories of successful ppl in entertainment. A lot of the stories would start off with the person saying how they went against all odds, that no one believed in them, that they succeeded in spite of all the flak and doubt they got. My situation is the complete opposite. I have SO MANY people believing in me. I want to succeed not in spite of them, but for them. To validate their good opinion of me. It’s just a really motivating thought to have in such a business like this.
So, what’s next?
While this was a great experience, I’m more than ever motivated to be on set. While theater has the live audience and the time to work out the kinks and improve, filmmaking to me is a miracle. And I want to be a part of that miracle. For a film to be awesome and to live on in pop culture legacy, every component of that project has to be fucking awesome, not only on it’s own, but it has to work well with everything else AND be done in the dark of no immediate audience feedback. Sound. Music. Story. Performance. Cinematography. Costume. Lighting. Etc.
Interstellar blew me away because it was such a powerful cinematic experience. What I saw on screen matched up perfectly with the sound, the music and cooper’s struggle. So much so, that I was able to suspend reality and just throw myself in that movie in spite of all the plot holes (I know I know).
This theater experience gave me that extra push and motivation that I know I’ll need to take on this coming year. For 2015, I’m nowhere near quitting. Looking back at this year, there were many things that happened that I could’ve taken as a sign to quit. Getting fired from my day job and getting let go from my commercial agent are some of the lowest points of my career. And they both happened THIS YEAR. But even despite the lowest, I have felt the highest from everyone’s encouragement. So much so, that I’m just gonna keep on going. Let’s fucking do this, 2015.