Last night was Chekhov Showcase, my final performance for Acting IV: Chekhov. And it was a doozy. Basically, the showcase is two hours of two-person scenes from Chekhov’s five most well-known works, performed by the class. We work over two nights, so it’s not five hours long. Thank god I got to go on the first night or I would be dying from anticipation.
This night is really just for fun. It’s so we can show off what we have been working on all semester for our peers, and any other interested faculty or students. It’s the last chance we have to go out there and really “run at the edge of the cliff,” as my director says. Which basically means, take risks and don’t look back.
Of course, since it was all for fun, I was nervous. Oh, my mind. I was trying to remember that it didn’t matter at all; I could go up there and speak gibberish and people would still love me. I’d still have an A in the class. But there is always something in the back of my mind saying I need to do it better, and do it RIGHT. That is death to the acting major, friends. There is no right way; there’s just how you do it.
By the time I’d reached the theatre, tensions were high. Liz and I were running a tiny bit late (by which I mean, right on time) due to a printer malfunction. I came rushing into the room and found my partner Tanner, cool as a cucumber. Have I mentioned how wonderful he is? Because he is wonderful. A great anti-stressor. By the way, I haven’t mentioned it yet, so if you’re interested: I played Yelena and Tanner Astrov in the final scene of Act 4 in Uncle Vanya: the farewell scene (affectionately called “the pencil scene.” If you read it you’ll see why). We had run it a few times that day and I hadn’t really felt much besides, “Oh, yep, I remember that blocking.” To get our blood pumping, we did this amazing exercise where you chase each other around the room, running full tilt, all depending on who has the upper hand and what the emotions are.
I don’t know if I’ve ever felt better in my life. It was poignant, beautiful, new, and made me really get back into why I love that scene so much. I realized that even if we went up there and bombed, I had had a beautiful acting moment. Good way to start the night.
Then it was time to start the showcase. While I watched the other scenes performing, I tried to think about what would get me in the right mood for my scene, and the thought finally struck me: saying goodbye to The Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy) at the airport. It is always the hardest thing–hopeful, but sad. Just what my scene portrays. I had a few moments in that zone before I walked on, and can I just say: that was the absolute best I’ve ever performed that scene. I wept with real emotion. I laughed and cried and hugged and just enjoyed doing a beautiful piece of art with a wonderful partner for the last time ever.
Beautiful things happen when you can let go. Thanks for sticking with me through a kind of long post; here’s some pictures as a reward! Can you find me in the big group one? And by the way, yes I am wearing a full corset (22″ waist for the win!), rehearsal skirt, and character heels. Life was good in the 19th century.