So, I went to Sydney. Again. I can hear the chorus of Why? You were just there? Surely one person can’t be that in love with long distance train travel? .
And after the train trip on the way there I certainly am not a fan of long distance train travel.
And yes, I was just there.
But I got accepted into a Bachelor of Performance Course (much glee) and as I have moved interstate before without checking out schools I didn’t want to do this again, and I already had an audition booked before I got into the bachelor audition so i thought, well why not.
This is where this post becomes one of many parts – there were some brilliant, excellent parts in big neon signs.
some that were just depressingly sad, or worrying for my children.
Some that were good.
And Some that were just plain weird.
The trip up to Sydney during the day seemed to take forever (although considering it took my cousin 7 hours to fly from Brisbane to Melbourne lately, trains may well be almost as fast as flight, with more time feeling like you are actually going somewhere).
But I have never been so stultifying bored.
See the results of my boredom here.
By the end of the trip – the Origami Bunnies were waging a war over who would take over bruised knee hill and triumph (the lined bunnies won, as opposed to the pretty patterned ones) (and oh yes, I managed to severely bruise my knee on the way to the train, on a bench. I could say the bench moved, but it didn’t. I am just that uncoordinated.)
But I arrived, safely, stayed at my friend’s house, slept and went to this audition with no expectation, listening to my iPod, crossing the harbour bridge on the train (very exciting for me, though I’m a bit worried how long I’d last were the train to stop in the middle – i give myself about 7.5 seconds before I start behaving like Marge Simpson on a plane, you know, racing up and down going “I have to get off the train, I have to get off the train” although I have no idea what I’d do then to get off the bridge. The flagging down of cars may be an option , anyway)
I arrived at the Acting School. The door next to a bakery. A very dodgy door next to a bakery, under a train station. and I pondered for a second, and then I thought, almost exactly “Well, I have my audition pants on and took the train across the bridge so I might as well, plus if it is dodgy I can scream very loudly, and kick and run” and then I thought “well at least I hope I can, ah bugger it, I have my audition trousers on” Yes, I am THAT obsessed with clothing.
So up the dodgy stairs I went seeing no signs for the Acting School, until walking through random door number 3 (if anyone wants a kinesiologist there is one under a station in Sydney who is very friendly), I stumbled upon a guy and a table, chairs and pile of pamphlets, he knew my name, we chatted, he was lovely, told me about how he’d been commuting from Wollongong to do the course and had just completed his bachelor in commerce but loved acting too much to do whatever it is that ex-commerce students do, and I felt happy, not one second of nerves.
After about ten minutes of chatter in leapt (literally) the course director, welcomed me, I went straight into an ‘interview’ only it wasn’t, it was the course director, a graduate and I talking about theatre and film and acting and why we love it and how we do it and my life and for the first time ever when I said I had children (as comes up in the ‘what have you been doing since you left school) I didn’t get the ” well you do know this is a FULL time course” he thought it was great.
And when I told him I was on a disability pension he asked me why, and I told him, Borderline Personality Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and for ONCE someone asked me to explain what it meant, he really wanted to know, so I got to say that it just means that I feel more than ‘the average’ all the time, I get really sad, but I also get really happy, over simple things, and they can be very small – not in a massive bi-polar way though. I also have flash backs, and I’m not one hundred percent sure of who I am. And this wonderful man laughed, he smiled and laughed and said – “But Isn’t that being an Actor?” Then the graduate who must have been about twenty-five said something along the lines of ‘imagine if they came and assessed our class, EVERYONE would have something” and I thought, you know what, this, this is a place where nothing I feel will ever be wrong, or too much, and I was happy.
Then came the cold read (they give you a script, you look at it, establish a scenario and perform it). Cold Reads have always been my enemy, my downfall.
It was a dialogue with the graduate, relationship based, and the director said, you just be you in this situation. So I was. Then we sat down and he asked all the usual questions about who i thought this person was and where she had come from and what had just happened and was she justified in asking for what she wanted, and I knew it all, and realised what I needed to do with her and did in the second read through. And I realised that cold reads aren’t my enemy any more.
Then in the brilliant white blinding lights of the old theatre with burgundy seats and curtain we did Improvisation as I have never done before, given a situation – i was in a relationship with the ex student- he then used people from my real life to flesh it out, he had been dating my friend(A) and then me when A went overseas, A had come back the night before and at a party he had been only with her, another friend (B) had called and told me she saw them kissing and left together after I left.
Then the director told me to Just be me. To not put on layers of emotion, to just feel what I would in that situation.
And I did.
And it was the best thing I have ever done, the biggest buzz, the best ‘acting’ I have done in my life, the most connections with the other actor. The stage wasn’t there nor the director, just him and me and my shattered heart and wanting him back but terrified he was going to go back to my friend(A) and wanting to know what had happened but not, and it was amazing. No it was AMAZING.
I walked away from it in tears and so happy, sat in the stalls with the director and the graduate, who said some very complimentary things, and the director turned around and said ‘Usually i like to think about my decision, but I’m going to Melbourne for two days tomorrow, besides I know what i will say, I’d love to offer you a place in the course”
So half crying, smiling, laughing, lip synching to Tim Minchin on my MP3 I wandered back down the dodgy stairs, back to the too high train station.
I have found my place. Not my place in the world at large, but my place to learn and grow, my place to simply be me without fear or regret. I am accepted as an actor.
And you know what? That Rocks.
And I think the other parts of this post can wait for another one.