Last year, I discussed all this with a therapist, as theatre has a rather 'bi-polar' trajectory. From the initial seed of a play, to the casting of the play (in this case myself) to the rehearsal process, (with its own ups and downs) to the opening night, (a high hard to describe if one lives through it and it feels good) to the run of the show, and then, the nasty down time when the show is over. I can describe the show days as all of this bundled into 'one day'. I used to have horrible 'downs' after each show would close, generally lasting for a week. I've noticed, however, that the longer I'm doing it the longer the depressions become. I'm not sure why. Its a difficult thing to prepare for. Because my form of alcoholism has always been 'episodic', it also played a huge role in this strange theatre system. When I was younger, I had to be careful not to have an 'episode' after a show had closed. I'm always the most vulnerable at this time. While I'm in the middle of a show, even though I struggle with temptation, I have always held on to a 'work ethic' of sobriety, and will not drink while I'm working. After you have memorized thirty eight pages of dense text, you cannot deliver it smoothly if you've been out drinking and killing your pain the night before. Its easy for me to understand the nature of the 'artist drinker', after weeks of prolonged intensity, if the artist has not developed alternative ways of dealing with the fact that something is 'over', its a pattern and a temptation that is difficult to avoid. It is definitely a 'bi-polar' existence, rife with mania and depression. Although I don't believe I'm 'bi-polar', I do believe that the reality of being a theatre artist can create a pattern that mimics this kind of behavior. I do believe, however, that I am prone to 'depressive episodes'. I love this quote, "Depression occurs when fantasy collapses in the face of reality." I think this pretty well sums up what happens. Because theatre demands an intense use of the imagination, and because it drives itself by the subconscious, it is indeed a 'fantasy parallel', and of course fantasy always collapses at some point.
I also believe in my case, there is a paradox that seems a lot like therapy, (because I usually do very personal work) but it is also 'taxing' on the psyche in other ways. Although I think it is ultimately 'good' to have this kind of therapy, there really isn't, I believe, a complete 'closure' on many things we go through in this life.
I didn't have time to post the previous entry yesterday, so today is another day. Last night's show was pretty good, although after several days off it seems a 'warm up' performance. The good news is that David Fofi, (the artistic director of the theatre) wants me to extend the show an extra week and release a 'extended run press release'. This means he really liked the show. It is good for his theatre to have this show in his theatre. I also have hired an additional producer/publicist, and am already seeing a result of her work. The reservations are finally starting to come in. The other good news/bad news scenario is that now there is press coming on all three of the upcoming shows, with the LA Times coming on Sunday! Good for us if they like the show, bad for me because it increases the pressure. Still, I have the show down pretty well, and just have to make sure I'm resting and eating my rice and beans. The show continues to have wonderful unexpected twists and turns. Tonight, there are twenty Australians coming, a result of a friend, Carla Werner who saw the show opening night and is now bringing 'Australia'. So, the ball is definitely on the roll. Tomorrow night, 'Backstage' is coming, which is the trade magazine much like 'Variety'. We are continuing to improve the show, and are excited about its future.
Additionally, my older brother Gary came to stay last night, and with my mother coming Saturday, it looks to be a very 'full' weekend. I was also approached by two young actors who unbeknownst to me, having been doing one of my other plays, 'Under The Desert' in their acting class. I had given this play to David Fofi when I first started rehearsing and didn't give it another thought. He took it into his acting class. Well, these two young actors want to produce the whole play! We'll see what happens there, but all I know is that good things are continuing to happen. All just 'acts of faith', as I think about it, and I suppose a few years of living on the inside of a theatre. I'll make sure I continue to log in the news as it reveals itself...