Many people have regarded writing as a form a therapy, a way to release pent up thoughts in your head and onto paper. (Or in this case, onto a blank Word document.) Either way, writing has always helped me manage stress and rid myself of the anxious toxins swimming in my brain. This instance is a prime example of the curative powers of the pen… Sorry. Keyboard.
In approximately four and half hours, cast lists for the fall and winter Tufts Department shows will be plastered onto the call board as every terrified actor scans fervently for his own name. The anxiety leading up to this moment is sometimes overwhelming, swallowing my whole being into a mix of answerable questions, combining “what ifs” and “whys” to create a monstrosity of overanalyzing everything about yourself.
Theatre is not a stress-free activity.
However, it’s a matter of reminding yourself (myself, in this case) that you’ve done everything you could. The auditions passed, you read some lines, presented what you thought was a decent monologue, and now you can do absolutely nothing except play that horrendous waiting game.
When this is finally published, all news will have been revealed and the knots in my stomach may have finally untangled themselves. For now, they just continue to tighten and congeal into a net, holding some very fluttery butterflies.
Right now, I have no idea what those two lists of names will hold for me. Beyond just mentally repeating calming messages as the hours pass, it’s also a matter of being thankful for the opportunities and even getting a callback in the first place. There are little accomplishments in theatre that are often forgotten, even when the cast list is unfavorable: the kindness of the director, the supportive community of actors who know exactly the same way you feel, roommates who commiserate with you, and even the knowing look you give to your friends that they immediately recognize as ‘audition panic’ and rush to distract you from the thousands of flustered thoughts swirling inside your skull.
Of course, I chose to keep myself hidden away in my dorm room, not to purposefully isolate myself with my impending fears, but because I had to write this blog. I have Psychology and Child Development reading. There are essays to be written and dishes to be washed. Maybe I’ll even have time to fix my broken TV. All of this is here to distract me, but it also humbles me and reminds me that at the end of the day, I’m a student. While theatre is a large part of my identity, it’s also only a part of who I am. So even if whatever happens today is not perfect, I’ll still have my new batch of classes to look forward to, other projects to sink my teeth into, and retain a bit of myself no matter what.
This does not negate my nervous conscious, but it relieves it briefly. For a small moment, I can continue my day as usual and be a “normal” Tufts student (not that those exist, but I’m sure you understand what I mean).
So here goes another four hours of distraction and hoping for the best.