Last night, I gave perhaps the worst performance of my career. So far, anyway. I completely reserve the right to suck big time in shows down the road, but up until this point, last night was probably the worst. Having said that, I want to make clear that this is not a "oh, poor me" entry, or a post where I want everyone to comment and say "I'm sure it wasn't that bad..." I am not fishing for compliments of any kind; I am being completely honest with my readers and telling them what I truly think. I also don't intend to offer any excuses for last night, and if that is how some of the story comes across, it is unintentional. I take full responsibility, and I revel in it.
Yesterday was a particularly hard day for me, in terms of my acting career. So when I arrived at the theatre last night (late, I might add), I was totally not in the right "zone" for the demanding performance of the show. So I got dressed, and while thinking of other things I finished the screenwriting book that I've been reading. The book, as well as the play I saw on Thursday night, was all about how to not only work in the arts but also have a fulfilling life outside of your devotion to them. And so when I went backstage to start the show, I wasn't really as focused as I should have been. And when we didn't get started until around 8:15, fifteen minutes or so after we were supposed to start, I confess that I had become completely distracted from the performance and the show. And so only a few minutes into the show, I realized how distracted I was. I normally don't hear or see the audience members when I'm onstage, but I couldn't ignore them last night. And so when I embraced the sheer folly of the acting moments, when I gave myself over to the crappy job I would be doing, then the performance paradoxically got better. I stopped trying to reclaim something that had been long, and I instead started honestly responding moment-by-moment to what was happening without any preconceived ideas about it. I won't lie; it wasn't a miracle of acting by any stretch of the imagination. No sudden epiphany here about the craft. Just a slightly bewildered actor trying his best to make it through the evening.
Tonight's show is going to be a better one. And, in fact, all of the ones coming up as well. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances last night, and I ended up doing the best job that I could. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming to think that all performers have bad nights, and that these sorts of stories come with the territory. Also add in the idea that I spent the rest of the night having a few beers, eating Doritos, and watching "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Things weren't so bad after that.