by Kendra Augustin
Artist Credit: Lucas Werneck. As a kid Sailor Mars was my favorite. Or was it Sailor Mercury? Sailor Gals were out of this world and transformative and maybe I am too.
For most of this year I’ve been trying to figure out what I want more in life than being involved in the arts and I haven’t found it yet: except maybe to go to Berlin (probably because of its rumored wonderful artistic culture). In my desire to let go of the arts more opportunities have come my way. I was cast in three shows back to back and none I had to properly audition for. I said yes because it’s nice to be asked. For the first time I had to learn lines, but for more than one project and within short (for me!) periods of time and I had to act and I realized in all the years I’ve been pursuing this dream I haven’t really had this much opportunity to perform this consistently. I had to learn lines, I had to deal with disagreements, anxiety, frustration, or limited rehearsalsand I wanted to quit many times, but I didn’t because this is what actors do. They deal with all the nonsenseand the confusion and they do their job. For the first time (or at least in a new way) I understood what it meant to be an actor. And I now have respect for them. It’s a lot of work to take something on a piece of paper and make it work, make it funny, make it interesting, whatever. The director does their thing. The writer writes the thing, but it is the actor that brings the thing to life. There’s so much power in that, and also so much excitement. I understood that whether my director directed me or not it was up to me and my partner to make it work! Whether the script made sense or not it was up to me and my partner to make it clear and I felt like a true storyteller.
For one of my projects we had 8 performances! I used to hate having tons of shows but this time I got to see the beauty of it. I got to play each night: work on something I didn’t like the previous performance, work on different techniques each performance, work on diction, decide if the character was moregroin or or more airy,yada yada yada.. What a privilege it is to perform several times! I almost feel like it’s kind of disrespectful to give actors only one night to perform (which I do often when I curate shows but hey!).
Performing is becoming my new acting class. I’ve spent many years trying to be good. Taking classes left and right in the hopes that I could gain some understanding. And now when I’m on stage (or on camera) I get to do the work. I always feel dumb when I’m acting because I’m slow to grasp things and I don’t think I impress anyone on first impression or 15th but I eventually get it. I’m the “most improved” which I hate, but I guess for the people I work with it’s a relief because they no longer feel like they’ve made a mistake in casting me. This is not insecurity my friends, these are vibes!
Anyhoo, what I’m trying to say in all this is that life is strange. You try to run away from things and they come to you in abundance. I want to be clear that even though I was wishy washy about the arts I still worked at it. So, it’s not like I dropped everything to live in the woods (although I did do a four day residency in the middle of nowhere) and opps just fell into my lap. It’s just that I was uncertain and blue, but the universe threw opportunity after opportunity my way and I took them all. To quote Christina Aguilera quoting someone else in her song, What A Girl Wants:
They say, "If you love something let it go.
If it comes back it's yours, and that's how you know.
It's for keeps, yeah, it's for sure."
Maybe the arts are for keeps! Maybe this is where I belong! I wonder if I decide to not care about money anymore will consistent amounts come my way next? Stay tuned.