Feeling Footlost

We’re two performances in to our five show run of Footloose, which means each set of main parts among the young performers has had their first night, and I have experienced the show once through with each daughter and each antagonist.   And I am feeling lost, footlost.  Last year, my character in Fame was quite adamant that “acting is the hardest profession in the world”, and I think he had a point (but then, so did the characters who claimed music and dance to be the hardest professions in the world, as neither discipline makes any sense to me).  Not just from the point of view of how difficult or technical the craft of acting might be, but from the emotional perspective.  There are the ups and downs of your character’s journey, which get mixed in with the ups and downs of backstage life and your own independent emotions.  For me, there is the desire to perform the part of well as it can be performed, and there is the crushing disappointment and self-directed anger when you know you didn’t do a scene as well as it should have or could have been done.

My young castmates are having an absolute ball doing this show, and I’m very pleased for them.  The feelings I have, however, remind me of how I felt when I did Me and My Girl (so long ago now that I hadn’t even started this blog), which was the first time since my school days that I had performed a principal role.  I felt absolutely awful, like I was letting the show and myself down.  I was unable to enjoy the experience, and all I wanted to do after the show was go home and curl up in a ball on my bed.  Feelings of inadequacy for parts have driven me to tears in the past.  Last night, I felt that I had really let Ren down in our scene together and I am aware that there is still a nebulous ‘something’ missing, a ‘something’ which I suspect will turn out to be the key to the character.  Looking back at my feelings from previous shows tells me that I probably shouldn’t pay too much attention to this – if there is a problem in general, or if some things didn’t work last night, then I have to trust the directors to tell me.  After all, I can’t actually see my performance.  They can.

I want to enjoy the show, I really do.  But to be honest, I’m not.  I’ve had people tell me that my performance is really good, but we’re back to that old, dangerous thing of thinking “well, you’re my friend, of course you’re going to think that.”  I’m not going to get another chance to play a part like this for some time, if ever, so I should be enjoying it for all it’s worth.  But frustration, a slightly blocked nose (which can be heard in whistly breathing through the mic from time to time) and an exciting selection of self-doubts have so far stopped me from doing so.  I know I can do better, and I will try to do so.  But instead of feeling overwhelmed and footlost, I need to feel…  I don’t know.  Something else.  Something better.  Something healthier.  The show is a good show.  The production is a good production.  There are only 2 days left to enjoy it, so I really ought to take that opportunity.

    • Trish
    • September 11th, 2010

    If I was you I wouldn’t take your close friends’ opinions of your acting too seriously. They are bound to be biased and are just as likely to be secretly OVER critical because they know you as indulgent!

    It may be that this role is not quite right for you and you can sense it. Maybe you need to be a few year older!

    But I’m sure the audience won’t notice – they’ll just be enjoying the music! Hope the next two performances go OK 🙂

    • steve ayers
    • September 12th, 2010

    Hey, what can I say, it is tough being a Rev!

    I haven’t seen the performance – haven’t even seen the film (there are some aspects of eighties culture even I haven’t experienced!) but suspect that you are on the money with your comment about the director pointing things out to you if you were too far off beam.

    It’s a different ball game but I often feel rotten after a Sunday service for no real or good reason. Sometimes it’s tiredness, other times just my head being a bit messed up. Often those services turn out to be really good for my ‘audience’. And other times I think I was excellent and no-one else does.

    Hope the last two performances felt better. Stick in there.

  1. The last ones did indeed feel better, thanks. It’s surprisingly difficult to see how things are coming across, isn’t it? And in my case, perhaps too easy to take my hobby a little too seriously. Professional standards are good, making yourself feel awful is not!

    Every time I do something at the front in church (I seem to be a regular part of the children’s talk rota), I have no idea whether anything useful was communicated by or through me. But I do always walk away with something I need to learn myself. EVERY time! I never notice it beforehand, but by the time I sit down, I realise that there is something from what I’ve said that I really need to learn myself. Funny that.

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