The following was written by Artists Without Walls’ member, John Moran:
I have ambitions to actually make acting my next career. Foolish you say! I know. You’re right. It’s a long shot at best and a difficult road lies ahead but having had an interesting and instructive life I believe I’m prepared for both success or failure and am simply grateful to be in a position to try. And try I will. I genuinely want to learn the craft so I am paying attention now to the heavy lifting required by stage acting, such as the concentration needed for Miller’s deceptively simple dialogue, the long emotional monologues of O’Neill or the quick pop and snap needed for much of Mamet’s prose. After that type of work I imagine delivering a line for a TV script will be easier.
I’ve always considered myself to be a good public speaker. I communicate clearly. I enjoy it. An audience of ten is great. One-hundred is even better. Public speaking causes me no concern whatsoever.
Keeping the above in mind, what a surprise to me when I auditioned for a spot in an acting studio, was handed a script, stood in front of a crowd of one man and nothing came from my mouth. Not one word. Not a sound did I utter. “That was interesting.” he said. Then yawned. What great fun.
Apparently I didn’t have a problem speaking my own words but when the words of another person were substituted such as those of a playwright, nothing good seemed to happen, or at least not until recently.
I have many bad qualities but giving up isn’t one of them. For over a year I’ve been working in a scene study class. The teacher, Scott Freeman seems to believe the devil is in the details and the phrase “go back and do it again” is not unheard of. I’ve come a long way since that troubling audition and at last felt competent enough to commit to do a first short scene in front of a genuine audience at an Artist Without Walls’ (AWoW) Showcase in late September.
Showcase time was getting closer and stage fright became the order of the day. Nothing I could do about it. I kept myself busy by taking the day off from work and spending time with an actress rehearsing an entirely different scene from the one I’d be doing that night. The showcase began at seven that evening and as the time grew closer for me to perform I grew……, hmmmm what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yes, nasty; I grew nasty. I told my partner Jason and my buddy Joe not to talk to me and sat in the garden out back of The Cell theater going over lines I’d said a hundred times before. Then of course I found religion. I have a lot of negative opinions about the state of my church and The Creator himself when all is well, but when the guns are about to go off I can say Hail Mary’s as fast as anyone I know.
After a decade or two of the rosary the time came, my partner Jason and I performed and all was well.
For those who would like to step up, but like me are shy and reluctant, I must say that when you present at an Artists Without Walls’ Showcase you’re among friends. Seize the day. The members of AWoW want to see you do well and regardless of how well you believe you presented your work, they are happy to have you.
You/we/us are the reasons for the existence of an organization like AWoW to begin with. And remember, regardless of your feelings ten PM will come. The showcase will be over. You will have done yourself, and AWoW, a service by sharing your art. All will be well once again.