*Note: I started this nearly a week ago, but reflection takes time!!!*
Chapter One: Final Destination
Here is where you would expect me to recap the tour and telling you how wonderful my experience was. Here is where you would like me to post all the wonderful photos of times I'll miss most. Here is where you would expect me to embrace the wonderful adventures that await me. One wonderful door closes and then another wonderful one opens.
Imagine this. This wonderful "tour door" closes. There is no denying that it once opened to awesomeness. Knowing this notion, I stare blankly for a day denying that it has closed. I grab a beer and stare at it some more and I try the handle. It's certainly locked. I take a piss and peruse the other doors and they all seem alright at best. Some familiar, some callously ajar. None look appealing. I have another beer and go back to the wonderful door. This time, I am frantically trying to put my fist through it. Then my head. Bang, bang, bang. Imagine my back leaned up against it. Holding my knees in, face buried like a cowardly ostrich. For this door to have closed is no celebration-
It is a funeral.
Chapter Two: The Prodigal Whatshisface
As expected, I returned home and instantly my ICalender was immediately filled with lunch dates and dinner parties. Knowing myself, I hesitated to talk about tour to not be annoying. Knowing my friends, they are lovely and want to know everything that was the last year of my life. There was an onslaught of "what's next" which I politely obliged by half-joking and half-knowing, "nothing".
I was expecting to sparkle from this high of being with an amazing show. The "prodigal punk rocker" has returned says my friend Patrick. And yet, I feel as fun as dead cat on a leash.
I wake up and drag my feet. I feel this overwhelming sensation of uneasiness in my stomach like after a night of drinking but all I had was water. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I make it to the gym and I feel drained. Even in my full face, I can see it has sunken in with grief.
I loved my job. I loved my life. And I feel robbed. Enjoy the UK, kids.
Walking through the upper west side with cast mate Tommy, he casually mentioned that I haven't had a moment of musical tourettes (where I'll bust into a song lyric that happens to reflect my current state of emotion; usually musical theater) in a while. I deny to Tommy that I even know that I have musical tourettes although I know it to be true from others.
So, I identify that this lack of song all of a sudden is an involuntary reaction to feeling utterly empty.
This is the life of an actor. This is the "glamor" no one tells you about as you take a one hour shower, staring at the tile because you have no where you NEED to be.
Chapter Three: Step One, Get Off The Couch
My adult self reminds me that it has been 5 days. This is all part of the 7 steps of grief. But my Aquarian mind wants me to hit rock bottom before I can really appreciate the next summit. I want to push the fast forward button.
Meanwhile, the chorus of:
"This is a game changer on your resume"
"Are you going in for Wicked/Bare/BookOfMormon/Glee next week?"
"Happy to be home?"
"Nothing has changed since you've been gone."
And that's the worst. "Nothing has changed". Because it's a lie. Everything's changed. All who have stayed home changed immensely and I refuse to think that I haven't. For better or for worse is still up for debate but....
I guess what it all boils down to is I've feel like I've lost everything. I've lost an outlet for me to do what I was born to do. I've lost the family, where it was bittersweet to work, live and play with 24/7.
"Nobody Likes You. Everyone Left You. They're All Out Without You Having Fun."
I've always understood this lyric. I've always been able to access this lyric on the stage. I just don't want to live it in my real life.
Chapter Four: Empty Threats at Empty Tables
If a kitten died every time an actor threatened to leave the business, there would be a whole lotta dead kittens. And who are you threatening that you're leaving?
If Stephen Sondheim threatened to never write another song, people would boo and hiss but the next day, they'd holler "next!"
If Ms. LuPone said fuck it she's done, no one would bat an eyelash and roll in the next diva.
This is a business that loves to forget. Even legends. And I am just a blonde streaked guppie in this big pond!
Do you know who David Merrick is? I didn't think so.....
Then why work so hard in a business that has your replacement dressed and ready in the wings?
Well, it comes down to the lottery question: "If you won 10 million dollars tonight, what would you do?"
My answer: I would pay off my parents house and send them on permanent vacation. Buy my brother a nice car and a house. And I would build a theater in state that needed it and run it and try to do good work.
A long time ago, I determined there were two different kind of theater artists: Those who wanted to be in theater and those who needed to be in theater. I need it like a heroine addict. And I refuse to quit it. I've tried- I've killed many kittens.
Chapter Five: Audition Halls of Broken Dreams
I happened to stop by the Actor's Equity Building (only to pee) where I passed a couple dozen actors waiting outside in the hall. I wanted to shout, "if you can turn away, not look and run, do it!"
But there's no fighting it. Us theater actors, we're idiots. We don't know we're the new vaudeville. Either that or we just don't care. Trying to stay relevant at time where there is no way possible that we can keep up with the distribution of movies and television.
And the internet- We live in a world where a cat playing a keyboard has been viewed by over two dozen million people. Where Justin Bieber can tweet and it can be read by the same amount of people. All for free.
Youtube Video = $0 Production Value/5 Minutes Shooting 10 minutes uploading = Free Tickets = Instant Reviews/Free Advertising through commenting and sharing.
Broadway Show = Millions$$$/Years of Development/Years More = $100+ tickets = What's Theater?
The theater is pushing the limits of being obsolete, right?
Chapter Six: Biggest Fangirl Ever
I find myself walking through Times Square and unlike the other jaded New Yorkers, I don't wish everyone would drop dead. Instead, I wish everyone would just stop talking. I wish everyone would just put down their phones. I wish every Asian tourist would put down their cameras and look at this city without a lens, the German ones too.
Shut up, Look up, and Listen.
Now as an exercise, I wish we would all stop, look a complete stranger in the eye and take a mental image. This person's face is worth a million times more than the millionth picture of who cares.
Because it lives and breaths. If you are suddenly compelled to communicate, he/she can communicate back.
And isn't that what theater is all about?
It's a truly unique experience; that moment of silence when a room full of people voluntarily gather. They turn off their cell phones (for the most part) and wait for a the voices of real people. Unfiltered. The scene is only edited by the speed at which you choose to blink.
And alas, that is why I do it. Whenever I go to the theater, whether it is onstage or not, I never feel like I'm at work. I feel like I'm at home. So NYC is awesome and sweet but not coming to the theater everyday, I feel only like a visitor again.
Despite the heartache of leaving the show, I think of what every friend has advised me at the end of any relationship: "Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all."
Because love to me is a learned behavior. And the more I exercise my heart muscles, the more powerful I can live with love, share my love, radiate in love.
[Btw, so does hate. Don't work those muscles. Keep that muscle small like the dicks of those who choose to lead with hate.]
3 Final Parting Thoughts
1. I love the Idiot fans. I am confident that on many nights they elevated the crowd that sat behind from being good to being awesome.
2. If I end up adopting a dog, I'll probably name her Whatshername. If it's a boy, I'll name him Cocksucker.
3. One day when I have kids, I'll have video evidence that once in my life I was so fucking cool. And so was everyone else riding in that badass car that was Idiot on tour.
Thank you for coming on the ride. This is just another pit stop. Take a piss, grab a bag of Cheetos and I hope you'll join me on next leg of the Amazing Life.