…….I’m a hazard to myself. Don’t let me get me……..(Pink:Mizzundastood)
It is always amazing how dysfunctional we are in this world. This dysfunction ranges from one woman suing another for US$9 Million (and winning) for breaking up her marriage to a co-worker who needs to sexually harass EVERYONE at the office, so that he feels wanted. Now, look. I don’t claim to be normal in anyway at all but I just don’t think I’m that bad. My friend Clint however, thinks differently and it is reflected whenever he says these lines to me:
“What must it be like to be in your head?” or “You need to come with a user manual.”
And true enough, he is correct (well slightly, I don’t think I need a user manual).
I pride myself on trying not to adopt an emotion filed approach to most things that I do. I try to be on the side of logic. I go through what I consider to be the logical or simple flow of things and always challenge people as to why they chose a different route. Clint then reminds me that while there is some structure to what I say/suggest, most people don’t operate that way. My friend Matthew just sighs at me and just says my name out loud. “Stefan”. And within the single utterance I understand that Matthew regards me as being difficult on some level.
Again, I guess they are right, but I am not being difficult or am I? I don’t chose to be difficult. I never do. HONEST? (Insert innocent smiley face with Halo here)
I believe that I am just misunderstood. When I make my intentions known to people on a matter, they all assume that I am stone-walling them or just bluffing. And that’s the problem. In my head I am clear as to what I want form others. However when it comes to what I want from myself or what makes sense to me, well …I don’t think I’m playing with a full deck of cards.
I recently completed a two weekend run of a Staged Reading of a Play called “Boxes” written by an American called Ebony Rose Custis. The first time I sat in on the reading of this play, I felt a connection to her work. I loved it.
She isn’t a playwright by profession but there was something magical about what she put on paper that just moved me.
“Boxes” speaks to the fact that some people spend their lives going around in circles. And others, consciously or unconsciously, create boxes. Deep inside those boxes, buried in the subconscious mind, psychological dysfunctions are stored; unresolved issues, troubled emotions, hurt, pain, anger, fear, disappointment, heartbreak, unaccomplished goals, emotional fantasies, childhood dreams, unfinished business. Some boxes are cluttered with many issues; chaotic, confused, illogical, and messy while others have been neatly packed, tucked away and almost forgotten. ’What’s in your box?’ is the question that it poses to you.
And boy did it shout that question to me.
In one scene of the play, I am a young man talking to an older gentleman in a fictitious place where men come to store or retrieve stuff they have placed in boxes. My character came to drop off “Fear”. In a moving little moment of the scene I utter these lines:
“I look at photographs sometimes. Old school pictures, family photos you know.
And it always takes me a while to remember which one is me.
I’m living behind a mask, a grown man mask.
People see me as this real guy with a job and responsibilities.
And the person they see, well he’s smart, seems strong and confident. But he doesn’t look anything like me. I mean, how he looks.
It doesn’t match the way I feel.
I’m not that man……..”
After I read these lines at the first reading, I spoke to God immediately and told him that I had to be a part of this!!!! It spoke to MY life. It was something that I needed to voice and there was no way this opportunity was going to pass me by. Thankfully, the writer felt the same way about me.
So what started off as me being in one scene turned out to me being lead in three scenes , one being the final scene in which I stand alone talking to the audience while the voices in my head kept taunting me about being a failure at everything I tried to do. It is a really nice scene and one that I was proud whenever I did it.
Anyway I digressed a wee bit.
So the play was off and running and every night I got compliments about the good job I did on stage. I took these compliments as people just being polite to actors (as I have done the same in the past). I didn’t pay it much attention. Then they kept coming. The praises. My friend Kurt, who came on opening night told me that he was really impressed with me. My friend Cindy and her family (who were also there opening night) declared me to a great talent and that during the play they stopped seeing Stefan and just saw the characters. Strangers hugged me and when my family saw it, even my older brother told me how good I was in it.
You would think that this would be enough? Oh hell no. Even with all these compliments, I didn’t get one from the director, Mervyn De Goes. Let me just say that I am so happy this man continues to call me to do stuff with him when EVERY actor I know desperately wants to work with him. He is a tour-de force- as a director and everything he touches comes out brilliant and he has the awards to prove it.
So anyway, Mervyn never complimented me, so I just kept on doing what I did on stage and hoped that over the run of the show that (in his eyes) I was improving.
Then one night before the final show, he told me that most of his friends who saw the show loved my performance. I just told him thanks and had a shy kind of smile. Reason? I didn’t care what they thought I wanted his opinion. Sigh….actors can be so insecure.
Then after the run finished and I was talking to him about the musical that I would be doing next, he said this:
Mervyn: Stefan, I’m going to give you a list of names of directors that you are NOT to work with.
Me: Oh Ok…why
Mervyn: When they approach you, tell them your Manager says you otherwise engaged.
Me: (smiles) Really?
Mervyn: If they ask who is your manager. Tell them “de Goeas” and watch them recoil. Hahahahahaha
Now folks, I don’t know about you but at this point I felt on top of the world. While he didn’t declare me to be one of his favourite actors (like he does with Keino Swamber), I took the compliment and ran with it. Finally I felt as if I had done really good work. Relax I won’t get swell headed but it just now makes me want to try harder at perfecting my craft.
After that show, I finally felt confident enough to declare that I am an ACTOR!!!
It is only as I write this that I realize how insane I must’ve been to disregards tonnes of compliments just because one person didn’t say anything to me.
So here’s to hoping that I’ve become a little less neurotic after this experience.
Ha Ha Ha…If wishes were horses…….