Yep, after weeks of preparation, the play (Derek Walcott’s Beef, No Chicken) that I have been working on premieres tonight. Am I ready? Yes, I am. Is the show ready? Yes, It is. Is the Cast ready? Yes they are. Am I nervous? Yes, shitting bricks.
Why am I nervous you may ask yourself? How can he be nervous when he has performed in The Lion King in Germany to thousands of people? The answer to that question is simple. There were no Trinidadians in the audience when I performed in Hamburg. Huh? WHAT?? Why is this an issue?
Well anyone who knows Caribbean people will realise that when it comes to entertainment, we are very hard to please. I have known so many international acts to grace the shores of Caribbean islands and either be booed off or just receive luke warm responses. We are a tough crowd to please. Trinis are no exception to that rule. As a matter of fact, we seem to be on the extreme end of that rule.
Personally, I have sat with friends in many plays, concerts, etc and just plainly criticzed the hell out of anyone performing that seemed to think that they were above board or in some way professional. It was a past time for many years. Now I am on the other end and while I don’t purport myself to be the" consumate actor", I still worry about the criticisms that come from the Trini audience(LOL). It stings. It hurts like hell and even bruises egos beyond repair. (I am trying to form a thick skin……almost there..a few kinks in the amour still).
I remember the first time that I did a play in Trinidad. It was a good experience. I couldn’t see the audience whatsoever and so in playing to silhouettes, I wasn’t scared. Then during a prop malfunction before the opening of a scene (well not an actual prop malfunction, but me getting tangled up in the prop and kicking it into the audience), I ended up seeing some of the patrons who were there to see me. No, I wasn’t the star of the show, but if you reference TGATS (The Gospel According To Stefan) you will see that It’s always all about ME.
Anyway i digress…..hmmmm let’s see. oh yes. In the audience were some actors that I had seen on local stage and TV countless times, just sitting there. I froze for a short time and my scene was a little stunted for the first few seconds, then i got into it and forgot about them being there. Later on I would here and they referred to me a Stiffen not Stefan. It cut like a knife and I jsut thought that I shouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t good enough. In speaking with the play’s director the next day, he said he saw notihng wrong with my performance and that I should not take it to heart as actors are extremely insecure people. He further reiterated that they will say anything to ensure they have the mental edge over anyone they remotely regard as competition.
In the end, I realised that performers in general are very insecure people despite how well some mask it. So it is the job of every performer (if they are to survive in the field) to develop a sense of worth and a thick exterior.
This time, it is different as the audience is much closer to the set in this play as we are working "in a round". This more than anything else has me thinking of running to the hills and communing with one of the mythical nude cults that apparently live in the mountains of Trinidad. I think I need to form a search party to find one.
In the end, I know that it is my destiny to perform and to be a channel for this lay by Derek Walcott (which is soo funny BTW) and therefore I must embrace my destiny and just move on. The show must go on…yadda yadda yadda. So here I go. I am once again entering another phase in my life. I don’t know where this one is going, but I embrace the journey.
So here I am. A Banker/Financial Analyst by day and an actor by night. LOL I still feel a bit uncomfortable calling myself an actor but that is what I do. It was hard to think of myself as a singer/performer in Germany but then again…that is what i was doing. How weird is it that society conditions us to think certain associations or titles are not to be taken seriously.
I prefer to think of myself as a lover. Lover of theatre and music. Oh sod it. I am an actor or as that guy said in the beginning of the movie " Torch Song Trilogy"…(in a raspy voice) …"I Am An Entertainer"….lol BTW if you don’t want to change or alter your opinion of Matthew Broderick, do not go and rent that movie. It was a bit depressing but then again we can’t all live in Disney-esque worlds. Some of us need to step out of our bubbles at some point.
Jeez I just realised that I am ranting. Sorry. Ah well….I am off to do my day job now. You know..the one that pays really well and lets me drive a nice car. Sigh….
Will write soon.
Hoping to break a leg tonight.