Anxiety, Future, Practice

the 5 stages of audition anxiety – part 2

2.  Waiting

I’m learning already that a great deal of an aspiring professional actor’s time is spent waiting.  Waiting to get an audition time, waiting to hear about callbacks, or casting.  Lots, and lots of waiting.  I’m of two minds about this.  Generally I have been good at the old “set it and forget it” mentality – the audition or submission is done and out of your hands, and no amount of energy you spend worrying about it will change the outcome, which is already in motion.  However, that was a lot easier to say inside of the cozy womb of theatre school, during which time one is always somehow ‘busy’.  Remove constant stimulus and long hours spent in sweatpants, and one might find themselves with a little more time on ones hands.  More time to obsess, catastrophize, or build up hopes that may or may not be dashed.  And so, dear readers, I put forth a list of things that I and my fellow novice actors have done to fill the void, and to avoid circular logic and entirely wearing out one’s roommate with constant speculation on the state of one’s artistic career.

Eat

I’ve developed this ‘theory’ regarding auditions – when faced with the stress of the audition room, the body tends to react from a place of animal fear, the place that tells you that you are being chased or hunted, and are in imminent danger of being eaten.  If I were to, say, eat some sort of fatty food after every audition, could I rewire those neurons to see auditions as the precursor to a tasty snack?  Would those animal fears give way to delicious anticipation?

Okay, no.  I really just got into the habit of eating my feelings after stressful auditions.  I learned how to make s’mores using a broiler.  The other day after reading my email I ‘couldn’t relax’ until I ate mexifries.  This is mental conditioning in the worst form…

Get a Haircut

3 weeks after grad. So much face-obscuring fringe.

During our 3 years of guidance and repeated requests from our instructors to ‘get your hair out of your face’, the ladies of BFA Acting 2011 at UBC obediently trimmed, clipped, pinned and hairsprayed our locks into submission.  The minute we graduated, we all went out and got bangs.  Eyeball-poking, eyebrow-grazing, face-obscuring bangs.  Sorry, Stephen.

Read

One of my favorite parts of post-school life is all of the non-theatre related reading I’ve gotten to do.  Right now I am reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (just a good old, dystopian beach read).  I am currently spreading the gospel of Goodreads, which I describe as Facebook for books.  Join up, add me as a friend, and let’s share our favorite reads!  Books are awesome!

Make New Friends

As much as I joke about the anxiety of post-school life, it has been immensely comforting to be welcomed into the vibrant and friendly community of young actors that work in this city.  I met so many fantastic folks doing Bridge Mix, and continue to be inspired by projects like The Verona Project, bash, and Party This Weekend – young artists going out there and making the kind of work they want to be part of, and gathering on the resources of the independent theatre scene to do it.  I can see already how discouraging this business can be, and how easy it would be to develop a chip on ones shoulder, but here is a generation of positive, empowered young artists who do incredible work and have a great time doing it.  I’ve met so many wonderful people who I am so excited for and by, and I look forward to spending more time in their company.

Photo of "Parked: An Indie Rock Musical for Novelty Instruments" by Adam Fedyk (click for link)

This is the generation that doesn’t want to wait for permission to make the kind of theatre they believe in.  They remind me that if you want to be an artist, you don’t have to wait.  You just have to go.

Fitness, Future, Practice

Discipline

There’s something deeply ironic about having a job that requires us to be fit, attractive and in peak physical condition, and a lifestyle that sees us capping off a long day of rehearsals with several beers and greasy pub food.  This irony is not lost on my final year class as we start to consider seeking film and television work after graduation, and facing the competitive theatre industry.  We left off the last week of classes in December with a Hanukkah party that left us too full to move and began our new semester with an afternoon at Koerners pub.  It’s time to get off the bar stool and back into shape!

We ate so many latkes. So many!

Generally, I am a disciplined person – since closing Seussical I’ve continued to warm up and stretch every day, have started eating more fruits and veggies, cutting back on caffeine.  But when it comes to exercise, I am the worst.  As my classmates sail out the door to the gym, I don’t even dignify my non-participation with an excuse – I simply don’t want to.  This needs to change!  Here at UBC we have so many options for staying fit, and I plan to tackle my extreme dislike for exercise and get in shape.  Here are a few ways my classmates and I intend to shape up this semester:

The Gym

This is how the Bird Coop makes me feel. Like a doughy, sleepy hamster running on a wheel.

UBC is host to a variety of different gyms, but our gym of choice is usually the Bird Coop.  Just a stones throw from the SUB, membership to the Bird Coop is a sweet $25 per term, afer which you can just swipe your student card and go.  While it’s insanely busy at the start of the term (gee, I wonder why) there are tons of cardio machines and every weight-lifty-thing imaginable.  The Bird Coop comes with a certain vibe though – the guys are beefy and self-assured and the ladies dress to impress even while sweating it out on the treadmill, so unless you thrive on competition it may be too intimidating.

The Pool

UBC students get free access to the Aquatics Center (again a close neighbor to the SUB).  It’s open most of the day for swimming laps, has a sauna and steam room and a small gym that is significantly less busy than the Bird Coop.  Last year we even had a ballet barre class in the pool – very cool!  Lots of the girls work out at the pool to develop long, lean muscles and avoid stress on joints.

Yoga

Yoga is great exercise for stretching and strengthening muscles and much of the philosophy behind it reinforces the voice and movement work we do in class.  I would practice yoga more often if it were more affordable – I was pleased to find the classes at the UBC Rec Center are affordable and conveniently timed, so I will definitely be registering with them.  Other favorite studios include Semperviva and Moksha Yoga.

That’s my list for now – hopefully I can join my classmates in “getting jacked”, as the guys like to say.  For now, I’m curious – how do you get in shape?  Please comment if you have a favorite gym, studio, or activity that keeps you feeling great!