Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's Best

My recent frustrations were part of this new train of thought, so bear with me while I try to explain all of this as briefly as I can.

From the few Circle in the Square visits I have had, I realized that there is so much more to be had in a theatre education than what I'm getting right now. The Circle in the Square partnership program is the highest acting level a student can reach where I go to school. I'm a sophomore, and I want more. I want to learn everything and take every opportunity I can get.

Keep that in mind, for a moment.

BAT BOY: There are a lot of people in this cast, a lot of (complicated) music, a lot of staging, and not a lot of time. I took it upon myself to fill a leadership role, to offer assistance and a guiding force, as it were, to a lot of people not used to the time constraints and the work required to pull off a musical of this caliber. By "guiding force" I mean only that I would call focus back when it was needed, be an alto section leader, and organize outside help sessions, i.e. having a professional attitude and a strong work ethic, something that has been instilled in me since I began performing several years ago.

After about a week of this, I was confronted by a few castmates who told me I needed to "back off" and/or "step down" because people were very unhappy with me. My attempt at being an "FDR" was more along the lines of "Hitler," they said. I was being "a diva bitch" and waltzing around taking charge like I was "the goddess of Bat Boy." My behavior was creating incredible animosity and dividing our cast and making a bad environment to create a show. People were threatening to quit.

I was floored, indignant, confused, irate, deeply hurt and deeply sad. My efforts to help this show be the best it could be and to motivate the rest of them to achieve something wonderful had been almost forcefully rejected and ridden with spite and jealousy. I had never spoken down to anyone, I had only ever supported and tried to get work done. It was utterly ridiculous.

Mostly I was angry, at first. I didn't deserve that kind of reaction. Such immature gossip behind my back was so uncalled for, at our age. If I were the diva bitch they labeled me as, would I have spent so much effort trying to help the people who were secretly hating me? Of course not. But clearly that's not how they saw it.

I've had leads in this department, I have succeeded, I have taken roles, so I knew jealousy would be a factor. If I weren't Meredith in this show, I know that what I tried to do (and continue to do) would not be a problem. But that's showbiz, kid.

Then I was just so sad I could hardly express it. Working my ass off to succeed and be the best I could possibly be, and to share that passion and work ethic with others, was not being supported. I felt so incredibly alone. I didn't care that jealous people were angry for whatever reason, I was hurt because I felt trapped. I had few options left, and none of them made me happy. Sink to their level, play nice and stop "showing off;" continue to make them angry by trying to help and motivating them; fend for myself and myself alone.

But I found that the "majority" was not as major as it was made out to be - the people who matter didn't have a problem, and I will never sacrifice excellence to be well-liked. This is what I want, and I'm going to have to suffer sometimes to get it - I just wish it weren't during my education.

Lately I've felt more alone than ever, for many reasons.

And so, with these recent events in mind, I've been considering transferring out of here and finding a higher level of theatrical education and student work ethic somewhere else. Part of me wants to go, because I know there is an incredible amount of opportunity out there and I could have the kind of education I'm desperate for and I need. Part of me doesn't, because there are professors here who can still teach me like that, and there is so much to be done in the New Haven area, and New York is just a train hop away. It's a lot of thinking and it's scary. I'm still not sure what I want to do, or where I would go if I did decide to leave. I'm running out of time, though, and I feel like my whole future is sitting on this decision.

I have to do what's best for me, but I don't know what that is yet. I really don't.

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