Late last year we previewed a new monologue show and I just fell in love with my character. During the preview I got into an expensive suit and strutted around in some power heels feeling like I could take on the world - which was good as the character is one super tough cookie.
Then comes the season proper and a new costume; lucky one of my new year's resolutions is to get out of my comfort zone, because I find myself challenged to the max having to walk out on stage an extremely tight LATEX mini-dress.
Now here is the challenge, how do I play a character that needs to feel like she owns the room in a get up that I feel less than confident in. Those who know me can testify, I am strictly a boots, jeans and jackets kind of a girl. Sometimes described as a feminine tomboy, really I'm just lazy and prefer comfort over glamour.
So first I have to get used to parading around in the type of dress a BDSM Jessica Rabbit would wear - tick off another life experience. Then I have to get used to how restricting the latex is - I can sit down or breathe but not the two at once. And I'm a physical performer. Meaning I like to move around, curl up, stretch out, jump around. This is not going to happen, I
realise as I walk on stage for the first time in the dress.
So, even though I know the character, I can tap into the intention and understand her motives, I feel - just a little – self-conscious!
Not a good place for actor to be. Yep, it's true, this costume has thrown me. So what do I do. Panic, that's the first necessary step. But then I have a mini revelation - I love these actory moments -I realise what I'm seeing as an obstacle can be a real advantage. I just have to accept what is happening to me is also happening to my character. So my slight self-consciousness becomes her challenge to overcome, it gives fuel to her need to prove herself because it makes her feel vulnerable and she hates feeling vulnerable.
So it's been a great lesson in using what is really there not pretending it's something else.
Note to self: don't ignore what's there - be truthful - and use it. It might, just like my sexy dress, be a real gift.
Let’s just hope I remember this for the next time.