The reality is many men have body image issues also. We don’t talk about it because it is a sign of weakness. Or so my generation thought, many younger men are more evolved than I am. Despite that, this post is inspired by a recent Moth Podcast and what a Goddess of the Southwest taught me.
Part of me will always wish my body was more svelte and showed more muscle tone with less work but I love my body.
I love my body because;
My body has hiked mountains at midnight.
My body has watched sunlight creep over the horizon and kiss leaves in countless colors.
My body has tasted incredible roll your eyes back foods.
My body has given me incredible toe curling orgasms.
My body has walked in the waters of 3 different oceans.
My body has explored ancient civilizations and the birthplace of gods.
My body has endured the unadulterated hedonism of college.
My body has held my infant nephew and niece in my arms.
My body has felt the wind race over my skin and howl in my ears.
My body has danced in award winning musicals.
My body has sung in elite choir festivals.
My body has fenced against some of the best swordsmen and women in America.
My body has pulled “all nighters” to launch web sites during the dot .com boom and bust.
My body suffered years of abuse through tobacco and booze but is still performs and is reliable.
These are just some of the reasons I love my dimpled slightly droopy pudgy body.
Why do you love your body?
Today was the final performance of Mother Hicks by Emerson stage. The first play in the Ware trilogy was produced as part of the full cycle in collaboration with Wheelock Family Theatre producing A Taste of Sunrise, and Central Square Theater producing The Edge of Peace. Ware is a small close knit community in Illinois. The people are facing multiple hardships including the depression and the desolation of the dust bowl. While the characters put forth a stoic and self reliant face there is a quiet desperation and uncertainty under it all. On a much smaller scale I felt an empathy brought on by the snow disaster that hit New England this winter. This play could not have been more timely. Even more the play’s themes of how we treat people as a community and what makes someone an outsider or accepted resonate loudly with many if the conversations happening on the local and national level.
The people of Ware are a great example of the complexity in every person and remind us that you can’t take anyone for granted.
I I hope everyone has a wonderful, and health new Year!
The morning after the L.A. riots in 1992. My father and I spoke on the phone. I heard something in his voice that I didn’t understand. There was a weariness in hs words. It was a weariness of one who has seen all this injustice before. As I watched the news in 2014 and listened to the decision not to try the officer who murdered a young Black man. As I watched the demonstrations turn to riots I felt what 20 years ago I only heard. That same weariness. Instantly Rodney King and L.A. came to my mind, and as I watched the flames in Ferguson grow I remembered the flames of Los Angeles. But When I was a young man I was filled with rage. That night so long ago I said if that’s what it takes for justice then let the city burn, let all the cities burn.
I’m no longer young, I don’t have the energy for rage I once did. I don’t have the faith that even burning all the cities would bring the justice would make change. That is why I marched. Because I’ve seen this all before. I am weary. I want to believe that this country can still change so that my neices and nephews, and my friends’ children will never even feel the spiritual drain I feel, let alone how to fear for their lives from those who should protect them.
Photo: “Thank You” by Reggie Ballesteros
It’s november and recently I’ve been getting a lot of reminders to practice gratitude. Right now I want to offer a sincere thank you to the Boston Theater companies for rejection letters. Nope I’m not being snarky. While I’m disappointed every time I get a little email saying a director has gone in another direction or can’t offer me a part at this time, the email itself, even if it is just a form letter, is a professional and kind act.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of jobs in a lot of industries. I’ve also had a lot of chances, good or bad, to look for jobs. Outside of theater rejection letters are rare. Even now when digital communication as natural as breathing, a job submission, or project negotiation my abruptly be met with radio silence once one party hears something they don’t like.
As an actor it’s easy sometimes for me to take these communications for granted, specially when I have received a lot in succession until I’m pursuing projects outside of theater and am reminded how it feels when the other party doesn’t take the time to communicate. In theater we talk openly about how actors “put themselves out there” at every audition all the emotion the hope, excitement and possible let down of the process. Maybe mindfulness of that contributes to the culture of communication we have in our community. I’ve been on both sides of the interview table in a few places, and The woman going for the software development position, or the guy trying to get the entry level graphic artist gig is putting herself or himself out there just as much as any actor, with all the emotions and excitement and let downs, it’s just manifested in a different way. Maybe it’s easier to forget someone is making plans based on your decision in other industries.
Anyway, to any Boston theater companies who’ve taken the time to communicate rather than leave me to figure it out (which I think is all of you at least once.) Thank you.
“I believe I deserve success” will be my mantra for a while. Historically my career choices haven’t reflected this. As part of an acting career master class I’ve had to look at my past career and try to identify patterns that server me and patterns that don’t. One big pattern I’ve noticed in both my professional and personal life, is clinging to my childhood belief not to speak up. Not to draw attention to myself. I know, how did I become an actor then. Long story for a different post.
But clinging to the idea I shouldn’t be seen, also meant I have held on to the belief I shouldn’t try to be too successful. I don’t deserve it. I audition, and target small supporting and ensemble roles. Not the leads. On the occasion when I would be offered two different roles in two different shows, I’d choose the smaller role, or the lesser known company.
This has been a repeating pattern in my career since college. I see this pattern now and I choose to break it. I have a voice. I deserve success. I will target the roles I really want. I deserve the roles I want.
I’m working on it.
My production The Member of The Wedding was the closing performance of the festival. And once our cast was assembled we got the most unexpected gift of them all. Every one of us was an experienced professional artist. There was no question we’d work well together. But I didn’t expect us to become so close.
You work with many casts in this business. Each cast is as unique as any one of the individuals who comprise it. Every combination of people has it’s own communal energy. And some become close friends for the life of the show, and perhaps a few lasting friendships remain. Many friendships go dormant until they are awakened by a new show together, in a new cast with a new energy.
However with this cast, shortly after being assembled we felt like family, at least to me. Sometimes we’d have dinner or wine after the day’s work. We’d talk and laugh and I heard family, my family. Some of my cast mates were already old friends some I’d met this week but I felt like I had known them all for years. It felt like they were my tribe, my cousins, my blood. I’ve have had some close bonds form through theater including some life long friendships. But this was the first time I’ve ever felt this.
Of all the gifts of being part of the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival ,and there were very very many, this was the most unexpected and the most sweet.
“I hate to think you have to go. I’m only now realizing you’re here.”
My first visit to Provincetown began at Long Wharf waiting for the Ferry. It was a little chilly. I had a Ticket for the boat, a big suitcase and my backpack.
My cast mates arrived just moments before we disembarked and sailed down the coast of Massachusetts.
For 90 minutes the ferry sailed on the ocean. We weren’t far out to sea but in a way it still felt a little isolated.
Until we reached Provincetown. Then it felt like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia. The place was unfamiliar but we were met by familiar faces. And it seemed like The last cheer of summer had hung back in this part of the world.
Everywhere you turned there seemed to be someone friendly who knew why you were there and was able to help. It was one of the warmest welcomes I have ever experienced. It felt like the entire community of Provincetown is part of the festival.
It is a gift to be a part of it. The artists technicians and scholars come from all over the world. They are at the tops of their craft. They walk and work among the most notable persons in theater and film.
I kept wondering Who thinks that I deserve to be with these people? And I was very grateful someone did.