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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PRiDE.

Auditions were this past Sunday. I was lucky enough to participate in ten audition process’, all quite complex and incredibly different from one another…but by far the most interesting was that for our main stage production of Faustus.

Two months prior to the audition: ‘Create a one minute piece on one of the seven deadly sins. Anything you want. Go, and enjoy.’

Um. Awesome.

I sat in my room mulling over ideas, from songs, to poems to dance. I thought of each sin and wondered how I could incorporate them into a neat little piece that show cased my creativity and talent.

It wasn’t a hard decision, honestly. I’ve often meditated on the seven deadly sins, a bit enthralled with how inter-woven together they are. I chose the one that scared me the most, my least favorite, but certainly the most deadly…Pride.

--

I held a red balloon in my hands, crouched down, back to the audience. I had one minute to execute my performance and to prove worth to my viewers.

‘pulsing, and Pulsing…’

I grew tall, raising the balloon over my head as I gradually stood in the upright position. The audience could now see that the word ‘PRiDE’ was written on it, the ‘i’ underlined twenty times, but surprisingly was in lower case.

‘And PULSING—WHAT?! YOU DON’T THINK I’M GOOD ENOUGH?!’

I whipped around and popped the balloon. The pieces fell to the ground, and I found myself crumbling along with them. Soon I was reaching, grasping at the pieces, but writhing in pain.

‘Selfish. Selfish. Me. Yeah. Me. Yeah!
Boyfriend. Break. New one. One night stand. Cheat. Cheat. Repeat that.
Drug use. Clean up. Drug use. Drug Use.  Clean up. Drug use. Rehab.’

Every time I seemed to find a word that felt good, I could finally hold the balloon in my hands, as if finally beginning to build up my ego, but then the healthy words seem to drive me towards humility and I was forced to throw the pieces back to the ground.

‘[Expletive]. I suck!  DUDE. Self loathing.’

I am broken. I am nothing without my pride. I am sprawled out on the floor, helpless. But then, a spark of devilish hope. I grab the pieces of the broken balloon, slowly beginning to rise. I’m calm now, collected.

 ‘Self- esteem.’

I can fix this. I’m the best. I’m better. I pull out another balloon from my pocket. Now, I realize that I’m gracing them with my presence…I’m standing upright, squared off with my main viewer. She’s so lucky to see me perform.

‘Ego.’

I blow into it once. I smirk, I’ve won. I’m in control. Screw the audience.

‘And then me again.’

I turn around. They don’t deserve me. The balloon, partially blown up, is in my hand.

--

And there it is. I guess you kinda had to be there. Hah.

The piece was put together as I listened to an album of rap that my best friend had given me. An entire song that almost seemed to be on pride…and soon the rappers words became the monologue for the piece. Everything else seemed to fall into place as soon as I knew what I was going to say, and before I knew it…the audition was over.

But I walked away, surprisingly…dissatisfied.

Granted, the audition went well, and I felt great about the piece…but as I found myself pacing about the theatre school, waiting in anticipation for the next audition I couldn’t seem to shake that feeling of…unrest?

God loves us. He gave us free will because He loves us so much that He didn’t want to force us into loving Him back. He respected us enough to give us a choice, and yet…how many times have we hurt Him because we couldn’t admit that we were wrong? Or how many times have we hurt Him indirectly by hurting one of His other children by not including them because we think they’re less than worthy to be in our presence? How many times have we looked Him in the face and denied Him? How many times has our Lord felt the nails driven further into His hands and feet because we’re so caught up in our own stupid problems that we can’t make time to humble ourselves to help, listen and love those around us?

I sat in a corner and worked through my worry, my utter sadness at this thought and prayed that I find humility in my own life. Because, honestly, I couldn’t think of the last time I had intentionally humbled myself to glorify the Lord.

The day continued on. It was long. A long waiting game, filled with…well. If you hadn’t guessed. Waiting. And I soon saw each sin take physical form around me. One person refusing to read the scene out of laziness, another stuffing their face with food out of nervousness, another fondling their significant other to take their mind off of the stress that surrounded them…. and even more prominently, I saw envy. It seemed to me that envy had crept into the theatre school, lodging itself in the heart of this person and of that person. Each actor seemed to be looking at another actor wishing to be as good or better. And within this envy, I saw pride. Pride that they thought God had given them less. Pride that they thought they ought to be better or more worthy. Pride that they were more deserving.

And I saw that I was judging, even if with an unbiased view. I was judging. So, I put my blinders on and began to love. I loved and laughed and listened and enjoyed being back in my theatrical ‘home’. And I tried to take the focus off me and put it on those I cared about who surrounded me. We were all waiting. Waiting to hear about callbacks and see if we made it to the next round. We were all in the same boat. In this moment, I decided to have no expectations, no desires. God was going to bless me with whatever I needed. I didn’t care who I was, or how big my role was…because I knew I would learn something regardless of how grand my character was.

The first list was posted. It was for the first main stage show. The crowd ran to the board. I, on the other hand, stayed behind, not in any rush to see. I stood on the couch behind them all, watching them gather together into a frantic cluster…and then they stopped. Collectively. They grew silent. Slowly they began to turn and look at me. My ‘parent’ in the program looked at me, smiling, as she spoke ‘Katey, sweetie…come look!’ Confused, I jumped over the couch and squinted as I tried to read the fine print.

Callback
Mrs. Van Buren:
Katey Kerman

I was the only girl called back for the only white girl in the first main stage show of the year. A third year actor. My first time auditioning and I was called back for a main stage role that probably ought to have had a list of MFA Actors and fourth year BFA Actors under it…but my name was the only one written beneath the characters name.

I stood, absolutely stunned.

The first words out of my mouth surprised me.

‘This doesn’t mean anything.’ I laughed.

They looked surprised as they watched me react in such a way. But, my friends, it was the most amazing moment. I felt…nothing. My ego didn’t jack up, I didn’t think I was a shoe-in, I wasn’t thrilled or amazed or had any desire to run out of the building to call my mom and tell her the ‘big news’.

World hunger had not been solved. Wars had not ended. Life would move on.

Because, it was just a callback.

I am blessed, and God was kind, but this was a gift not a reward or an affirmation that I was soooooooo much more talented than my classmates. It was simply a gift given to me by my divine friend.

And she grew, because of His mercy and love. Praise God.

[UPDATE: And, as God had provided me with this message of humility-- I did not receive this role. I can't wait to see His plan for me this quarter!]

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