Friday, July 6, 2012

The Other End of the Pen

Tonight I'm doing something I haven't ever done before: acting in a short play.  I'm very excited about this.  It is part of ESPA-Primary Stages' "Detention" series: monthly performances of short works written, directed, and performed by students of ESPA.  Tonight's show is especially fun: short plays set in the worlds of classic board games.  I play Ayn Rand trying to win at Pictionary in order to earn a chance to get reincarnated.  Very fun.  (Show info here if you want to come check it out!).

After half a life-time performing works other people wrote, I first stepped behind the pen in 2009 to write a show that I also performed (Nat & Kat's Adventures with the Time-Traveling Piano).  But that's the only time I've done that -- I quickly transitioned to writing works for other people to perform, and have never since performed anything that I wrote.  In fact I thought maybe I was done performing.  Then last December, a playwright I know asked me to star in a work she had written, and suddenly I was back performing again.  And - for the most part - loving it.

Since that work was mostly acting (75 minutes of monologue, to be exact), it inspired me to try doing some "straight" acting instead of singing.  In the last couple of months, I've done some auditions, and have been fortunate to actually land several things (including my first TV show -- more on that after it shoots!).  It's fun to look at things from both sides again.  I am learning a lot about writing (largely because I am reading so many plays searching for audition material) and getting exposed to a whole new network of people which is both fun and also good for all aspects of my life.

I often wonder how realistic it is to try to both perform and write.  Is it possible to do both well, and to achieve any "success" (read: make any money) doing both, or am I spreading myself too thin?  While I don't know the answer to this, I've also kind of decided I don't care.  Acting is fun, and it is satisfying to use this part of myself, especially in a new way.  I don't want to miss out on that opportunity for joy because I am afraid it will detract from my writing.  And I don't want to give up on my writing either, especially not while I have some stories in my mind that I really want to tell.  And who knows, maybe some day I'll hold a pen from both ends and act in something I wrote again.
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