On Being (and Not Being) Carol in Mamet’s “Oleanna”

From time to time as an actor you find yourself truly falling in love with a role. There are certain ones that just speak to your soul in a way you can’t undo. You become woven into the fabric of each other, and you come to care for them in a strange way- strange only because, by nature of being a “character”, they are fictional.

These characters don’t truly exist, and they are subject to the opinions of those artists playing and directing them. Of course. We know this….

Still, I can always tell when I’m head over heels for a character I want to play because the same thing happens to me every time: I become desperately protective of them. I’m suddenly worried that no other artist in the world could possibly understand them the way I do, and that, out of my control, they will become terribly misunderstood by the entire world.

More often than not, it is the nature of our business that we do lose those roles. There are vast numbers of actors feeling this way, and just the one role.

Such it has gone for me. In a few weeks time I met, studied, deeply understood, became wildly obsessed with and overly protective of, auditioned for, went to callbacks for, and subsequently lost the role of Carol in a production of David Mamet’s OleannaContinue reading

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Photoshoot Flashback

Wow! Something so strange just happened….

I had an audition this morning. When my agent sent the info, I read through everything, but somehow skipped over the word “photoshoot.” They usually send me a lot of commercials, so my brain filled in the gap.

This morning as I double checked all the info before leaving, I saw it. “Photoshoot.” Simple. Something I’ve done a hundred times, probably a few hundred by now, a go see or casting for a photoshoot.

However…it’s been a minute. See, I used to be a full fledged model. Legit, working a lot, making money, the whole thing. And back when I was a full fledged model, I had another little thing: a full fledged eating disorder.

Part of being an actor involves doing photoshoots. I’ve done some recently, sure, especially for publicity photos, new headshots, and a job like this here and there. Not nearly the way I used to, however. A lot of times the castings are in regular casting rooms, little things with a small lighting setup, a quick few photos snapped by a casting director or assistant, close up, full, profile, hands, smile, out.

Today’s audition? In a studio. An actual studio. Like I’ve worked in a million times.

A full lighting setup. A legit photographer. Backdrop. Huge space. Echo-ey. Dark in the cavernous space beyond us….

Something surprising happened. I flashed back to that time in my life. To being hungry. To contorting my body into crazy angles to hide my “fat rolls” or my “round face.” To dreaming about the meal I would finally let myself have once we wrapped, something decadent and terrible for me, something that would taste extra amazing because I had eaten maybe 1,000 calories in the past 5 days.

But here I was, at an audition, for the role of “Mom.” Not in a bikini. Not about to pass out. Not sucking in and twisting around….

I heard the photographer ask for some simple shots. Smiling. Mom stuff. But I was frozen. I couldn’t remember how to do it. It was cold and huge and the lights were in my eyes and I wanted to run. I just forgot everything.

Thankfully, I snapped out of it. I’m not totally sure what I gave him, but I managed some smiling shots, and remembered to put my hand on my hip…

I walked out quickly, in a daze. It’s crazy, when the beast of an eating disorder hits you. It really never totally goes away. It’s a constant conversation. Mine rushed back, today, all at once, and said, “you aren’t this person anymore, and you can’t do it.” It told me I could only function in this space if I invited him in along with me. It hissed, “they all see you don’t deserve this type of work anymore.”

Now, I sit in my car in the parking lot, and I write this blog, because I refuse to sit quietly with a little demon in my ear. If I write it down, I take away its power. If I shine light on it, it can’t live off the darkness it needs to survive.

It’s a lifelong journey, an unpredictable one, but I can confidently say, I’m slowly growing into a confidence ninja. Jump out at me from around a corner??!

WHACK! Bye bye, little demon. No thanks. We no longer require your services here.