I went to a magnet high school to study theater and dance. I did my first commercial when I was 12. I got my college degree in acting, moved to Chicago, and then spent the next few years doing commercials/industrials and working as a certified actor combatant in rapier/dagger, quarterstaff and “street fighting” in a troupe called Babes with Blades. ( I can throw a punch or a kick to the groin like nobody’s business.) Also during those years, I trained at Second City, spent 5 years performing and touring physical comedy and improv with Comedysportz. Then, being really lucky, I got to do some amazing work at Victory Gardens which was known as the Playwright’s Theater at the time, as all the work done was original plays with world premieres. This was amazing to me! To build a play from the ground up. In fact, I was working quite consistently as an actor up until the time I got pregnant with my twins.
As a union actress in Equity as well as the Screen Actors Guild, I absolutely loved rehearsing even more than performing. I never had a desire to “be famous”. I think that idea got squashed out of my brain early on in high school because I read a book called Toxic Fame. (The idea that I would lose my privacy or be chased down the street by crazy fans scared the hell out of me.) No, I didn’t do it for the celebrity, I did it for the love of it. The richness of diving into characters and making sense of them, understanding them from the inside out was so fulfilling to me. Most of the work I have been fortunate to do has been in original work, so I have spent most of my life building characters that didn’t exist until I had them up and walking around. And bringing this type of world to life, understanding what makes a person tick, on a deeply spirit level, creating a fully dimensional person from the inside out in a way that could be seen from the outside in…wow. This kind of work is exhilarating. I just had an audition yesterday. It’s really fun getting back into it.
I am sharing this because I am curious about something and I want to open up a dialogue with you. With quite a few clients in the last months, we have been talking about the need to “put on” and “take off” our boardroom personas. We have a work persona which, for some of us, is quite different than our life persona. And, my thought is: No acting, please! Be real. Be genuine. Be you all the time. In the boardroom, in the bedroom. How does that feel to you? To me, having to hold back your true essence, your true thoughts, your true self would be incredibly demanding and exhausting. I am wondering what you think?
I hear many have said, “I can’t.” “I will be fired.” “I will be demoted.” “I will not be liked.” And I’m interested to hear how others of you feel? Even when, especially when, we are acting in a play it is really just ourselves we are putting on show. We are building the character from our own life experiences not from what is wanted from the outside in. In other words, every part I play has a part of me in it, I am just showcasing some parts of myself more than the others; I am not squashing the rest of me.
If I were to play a woman who has anger management issues, I use those moments in my life that I lost control of my anger. I don’t pretend to never have anger. Similarly, in the board room, even when the room feels colder than I feel in real life, I can bring my warmth, my humor, my wit. I can remember that every single person in there is a walking/ breathing/ hurting / worrying person just like me. And boom… there is real authentic connection. I can feel connected to my deeper self but also to the authenticity of my peers even during a stressful meeting. Especially during a stressful meeting.
What do you think? I want to know.
And, if I can help you in any way, reach out firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel Burned Out: CLICK HERE
Your tomorrow starts today. Why wait?