Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The New Year

Here we are, folks. 2009. As I look back on the year that we just left, I must admit, it's been pretty eventful.

- I started this year having not even performed once at The Shakespeare Tavern, the place I now consider to be my "theatre home" in Atlanta. By the end, I'd added Twelfth Night, an understudy gig in Romeo and Juliet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, my beloved Much Ado About Nothing, and the Three Parts of Henry VI. Not only that, but I was their May Featured Actor, which got me a lunch with Redd, so it's alright by me.

- I started this year basically not going to church, since not being able to attend The Journey. Now, I'm the comic host at Kidstuf Buckhead, and feel like I'm actually affecting positive change, I judge.

- That's another difference. A year ago, I wasn't ending any sentences with "I judge."

So, here I am, a year later. A year older. A year into my Atlanta theatre career, having auditioned for most of the places I want to audition for. I've auditioned at The Alliance, Theatre in the Square, 7 Stages, Georgia Ensemble, Synchronicity, Theatrical Outfit and Georgia Shakespeare. Now, granted, nothing came from those... So, maybe that's a bad thing. Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe it's just a thing. The hope is, though, that the more familiar these people become with my face and with my work, the more comfortable they will feel using me. That's the hope...anyway. Plus, there are a couple of spots in town that I'd really like to audition for that I haven't been able to, for one reason or another (I'm looking at you Horizon, Aurora, Actor's Express and True Colors...), so I've got to redouble my efforts this year.

I say I've never been one for resolutions, but, down deep, I know I am. I love the idea of being able to have a fresh start, and will myself to a better, somehow more true "me". Some have worked out pretty well in the past. Some haven't. Some I make foolishly, knowing I've got no real control over them. But, most are resolutions that are based on my own willpower and drive. This year, I'm hoping I have more of the latter.

By my expectations, I've had an incredibly successful year. Coming out of my apprenticeship, I didn't dream that I would be involved so much in the next year at the Tavern. There's a problem buried in that, though. I'm so used to working solidly, especially during the tail end of the year, anything less feels like failure. Do I need to readjust my expectations or let that feeling of failure drive me, even if nothing comes from it? I don't know. Really, truly.

I'm doing a lot of introspection. "Thinking out loud" is how I just described this.

So...what do I want to do (somewhat "professionally") in 2009?

- Lose Weight.

Isn't that just so cliché? I lost a lot of weight my summer at The Lost Colony, but, since then, I've sort of stagnated. It's almost enough reason to make me want to go back. (You hear me, Tim Dunn!? Spectrum!) Don't get me wrong, I feel like I was getting in really good shape (for me, at least...), but my weight loss sort of plateaued. Not only that, but in the last few months, I feel I've taken some pretty severe steps backwards. Well, no longer. I'm going to start my new workout program on Monday. I'll be doing some basic warm-up workouts this week, to get my body used to the idea that it's going to start having to work again. Then, I begin my EXTRA SUPER SPECIAL WORKOUT PLAN OF PAIN. It has, basically, three components.

P90X, which forms the backbone of the program.
Bas Rutten's MMA Workout. One! Liver Punch! Right Straight, Left Hook!
And, of course, good old fashioned weightlifting and cardio.

Theoretically, I'll be doing two workouts a day (excepting Sundays and rest weeks...) for 90 days. If I can make it through...and there is doubt in my mind...then I will come out the other side in the best shape of my life. I just know it.

- Work around Atlanta more.

I really like Atlanta. I mean...I'm truly a huge fan of Atlanta. I like it's proximity to home. I like it's proximity to the only other place I've felt at home. I like the fact that it's in the south, so it's warm and people talk slowly. I like the people I've met down here. I like the Hawks. I like living in a city, without the feel of living in a city. I like the fact that, actually, it's a pretty darn good theatre town, with a lot of different options for jobs. That's where this one comes in.

I want to establish myself more firmly in Atlanta. In reality, I could see myself being here for a very long time. Laura Cole, one of my teachers at the Tavern, said in a podcast interview that she was interested in training and retaining Atlanta actors. I want to be one of those actors, so one of my goals is to work around town. To get more places on my resume, to improve my standing at The Tavern, and, in general, start to gain a foothold as a solid Atlanta actor.

- Audition outside of Atlanta more.

Now...that being said...I want to go where the work is. For instance, this summer, I see nothing for me around town. Last year, when I went to UPTA, it was on a lark more than anything else. I was pretty sure I would be able to swing something in the summer, and I wanted to be able to solidify my standing in Atlanta further. Now, though, I really want to be out of town this summer. Don't get me wrong, if something fantastic fell in my lap from any of those places I mentioned earlier, I'd take it. But my instinct tells me that I need to roll on to another pasture for a bit.

And that doesn't just me talking from a summer perspective. I want to head back up to Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and audition for Shakespeare Live, to give that one last shot. I want to head to Orlando Shakespeare and get in for their generals, so that I might be able to take a year and move back down there. I'm strongly considering going to the League of Washington Theatres general audition, since I've got an offer to live up there, rent free. I'm also...secretly...half considering auditioning for another "apprenticeship" type position out of town. It's something I'm currently wrestling with since, frankly, I'm so old. 26, folks. It ain't no picnic.

I'm in like with Atlanta. Not quite in L-U-V, yet. I want to be...but I also want to go where I'm able to get hired.

- Read More. Learn More.

I feel this is pretty self explanatory. As I've said before, I can't change a perception of me. But I can change myself, and through that, others may change their perception. I want to educate myself. That will change me.

- Slowly...quietly...take another step toward my degree.

I don't care what it is. But I need to move forward. Sounds like something else I can do this summer.

- Go to Florida more.

I actually don't know if I can do this. I've been to Florida quite a bit this last year... This one isn't particularly professional. I just like it.

- Enjoy it.

It's been a really good year. A hard one to top, frankly. I started off this year in a place of structure. Now I'm in a very nebulous place, where things switch from month to month. I played Claudio. In the last six months, I made more money from acting than I did at my "day job", which made me feel like a professional. Without the quotes. I ended the year by going to Disney World and a black dude got elected president. It's been a really good year. Here's hoping for another one just like it.

Love to all those that I love. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.


Robbyn said...

I too was in "like" with Atlanta and after two years, I didn't see the like changing to love. So I decided to leave my starter city and move on to the city that had always been distant love to me. I've been in Chicago almost as long as I was in Atlanta and I can say that I am close to being in love with this city. I miss a lot about Atlanta and the theatre scene is a big one. I think I moved to Chicago with theatre on the back-burner and it needs to stay there just a little longer. Hopefully you'll be able to find the love for Atlanta that I never could. Or...you could always come visit and fall in love with Chicago. We've done it to others! :)

Mark said...

Happy New Year, Jacob! Glad I got to share a large part of it with you.

-the guy with the Altoids and perfect pitch