I just created a new show. I started about 2 months ago.
It was not enough time. Then again, there is never enough time, and you can never start too early, and maybe you can never start too late. No, you can definitely start too late. I started a little too late, but it could've been way worse, and for that I am thankful.
My character is pretty seasoned. Not Don-Rickles-seasoned, but almost a decade in. Still love it and feel like it's home. My friend Emily "High-Kicks" Newton said it best. "I used to think playing a character was hiding yourself. But it's actually revealing yourself."
I still feel like that about Butt. So I thought, what the hell. Throw up a goddamn Xmas show. I hate Xmas. Butt hates Xmas. We both love to hate Xmas. What a great way to get through the holidays.
Except it was utter, utter hell. It was unspeakably, ridiculously un-pleasurable. Nothing is a bigger gift than having the opportunity and luxury to create a show, and yet I could not take proper pleasure in it because I was so nervous. Just a few sips too many on the cappuccino and I would go NUUUUUUTS. I'm not capable of doing this. I'm lazy. I don't have what it takes. It can't be done. It won't be done. Those who love me now will see it and instantly love me less, and it will signify the start of my decline as an artist and human.
I have now performed this new show, publicly, three times so far, twice for paying audience members. I am feeling slightly better about it. Here are the things that got me through:
1) I HAD GREAT OUTSIDE EYES. I worked with Chloe Ziner (Mind of a Snail) in Vancouver and Ember Knight of Webo Bagdad in Los Angeles. They are very different. Chloe is a shadow puppeteer, jammer, clown, bespectacled, jazzy Western Canadian. Ember is a punk rock voice-of-a-generation comedy-scholar. Both are extremely snappy dressers. Both are extremely supportive, great story-see-ers—they both have specific, clear eyes and pure hearts. They are both coming at the work totally selflessly and in the service of the truth. I am very lucky to work with both of them.
3) I USED VIDEO. Don't get me wrong; I also fucked up using video. One of my first breakthrough rehearsals, I thought I was recording, I was not recording. Nonetheless, I prevailed, and video did happen several times in the process, and it helped me support Chloe and Ember in outside-eyeing me.
4) I BREATHED. I did breathing meditation. Breathing meditation is so far the only one I can really do, and it's life-changingly good. I do it lying on the floor of my dressing room covered in a coat, listening to a guided meditation on my phone. My first night in Bellingham, I would have lost my shit entirely if it weren't for the breathing meditation.
5) I'VE ALSO DISCOVERED THIS THING CALLED TRE. Tension and Trauma Release Exercise. Pretty simple. Just make yourself convulsively shake from your core. It's pretty much like giving yourself a massage from the inside. I might have to get certified in this shit; it's like that. That helped a lot too.
6) SELF-CARE BITCHES. This is a shout out to all my gurlz. This is to all the little gurlz out there with dreams, and enough pluck and spunk to make it happen. We work hard! You hear that voice in your head that keeps screamin, 'yer lazy'? Well, you're probably not. In a few cases, sure, maybe you are. But mostly you're just hard on yourself. Give yourself a goddamn bath. Put nice oil on. Juice, for godsake. Juice.
You're going to get it done. Lookit me. When all's said and finished, I put on a show, and nobody walked out. Granted, they're very nice in Bellingham. And for the LA show, I gave them all mulled wine and cheesesticks. But still, bitches. I got it done.
And I learned a lot. I begin to feel the momentum of the thing, and the spine of the show becomes a dragon that I am just learning how to ride, and it's fun, now that I'm up here, and feel less afraid. Okay, cool. Now comes the more fun part, the editing and sculpting and discovering part. Okay, cool. Not so bad anymore. Could be okay. Could be fun.
It's not always pretty, but you can get it done.