All the world's a stage...
I should have been an actor.
Particularly a stage actor. I had forgotten until I spoke to the Halls Women's League last night how wonderful it is to bask in the warmth of an audience. I don't know how good I would be at it. But, I know I would love it.
It's funny. I remember watching Damon Patterson and a girl who's name is lost to time -- Allie something, maybe -- do a scene after dinner at a high school awards banquet. I was quite taken by it. I also remember a friend leaning over and saying, "I can see you doing that."
Couldn't stay asleep tonight (that seems to happen nearly every night anymore), so I finally quit tossing and turning and finished Alan Alda's book. He talks about the ups and downs of performing. His theory is that an actor has to reach a point in which you "care without caring." I think that makes a lot of sense and can be useful in many walks of life.
(I told you yesterday how much I always admired Alda. I used to want to be just like him. Funny, isn't it? Whatever late hour I get off work tonight, I'm going to light a fire and watch him and Ellen Burstyn in "Same Time, Next Year" if I can stay awake. I always watch that movie the night before Thanksgiving. Go figure. I'm nuts.)
What finally steered me away from any serious thoughts of thespianism (other than fears about earning a paycheck) was anxiety over learning lines. But, I was so taken by Damon's performance that I took a couple of years of drama in high school.
I love the play we did my sophomore year ("The Foreigner"). I didn't so much like the play we did my junior year. By my senior year, I'd fallen in love with journalism and dropped out of Denise Pennington's drama class to work on the school paper an extra semester. Don't have any regrets. As it turned out, I've made newspapers my life's work.
But I've never lost my love for live performance. One of my fondest memories is seeing Tom Selleck in a revival of "A Thousand Clowns" 10 days before 9/11 in New York. One of my goals for 2009 is to take time to catch as many local plays as possible.
And maybe, just maybe, I'll seek out more invitations like talking to the Women's League. The ham in me loves the applause, sure, but it's really more than that. Sometimes the performer connects -- really connects -- with the folks sitting out there in the crowd. You share a common moment and it makes you realize that one of the most important things in life happens when human beings relate to one another.
Kind of puts the best spin on Shakespeare's declaration that all the world's a stage.