Sunday, June 16, 2013

Becoming the Background

Sometimes the universe speaks to us, whether we listen or not.  I recently heard a song lyric that continues to stay with me.  Or more accurately, I mis-heard a lyric that still stays with me, a threat, a warning sign, an invitation...  The line was something along the lines of "I am becoming the background."  Oddly enough, I cannot name the song, the artist, the date, time or place that I heard it, but boy, do I remember that line.  Strange how it keeps repeating in my head.  Things that make you stop and go 'hmmmmm...'

Also, interestingly enough, there is a current documentary film making headlines all about back-up singers ("20 Feet from Stardom") which comes highly recommended from a friend.  The thought even came up in a game recently - 'would you rather'?  The game question reads something like this --"Would you rather live a short life and become famous in your chosen field? OR live a long life knowing you were meant for greatness but never quite achieved it?"  Ouch.  Either way - ouch!

I find myself wondering more and more about legacy and what my efforts in the theatre are achieving and whether or not it is somehow self-serving to just keep doing shows.  I do believe in the power of live theatre to heal, to change people's lives, to increase awareness and tolerance, to touch people and expand their compassion.  So, even something as simple and seemingly self-serving as "just doing another show" is meaningful.  Truly.  I just wonder about the bigger picture.

And now it is father's day.  I find myself aching, quite literally, to make my father proud.  He was always very proud of me, no doubt. And he taught me that I could "do anything I set my mind to" and he was right.  Everything I have ever achieved, I earned through hard work, determination, humiliation, passion, enthusiasm and time... And to this day, I am not one to let fear hold me back. So, why is that I now feel 'I am becoming the background'? 

As actors, we are taught to "find your light" -never be in the darkness on stage.  If an audience can't see you, they can't hear you.  So where is the spotlight I am now supposed to find? What is the foreground of my life?  Am I committed to finding it?  Or better yet, to painting it?  Creating it?  Who is the hero I am waiting for to come and nudge me on to center stage?  I am becoming the background.  Can you hear me in the dark?  Am I brave enough to truly make my voice heard?  ???

I once wrote a poem called "Discovering Me".  Perhaps a perfect pastime for summer 2013...

there is a stillness
to my listening
Tiny seeds of my soul
are bursting forth
like jonquils
dancing their yellow youth
to buoy my cheek bones
into lifesaving smiles
much to my surprise.


My womb is swelling
I'm giving birth
to someone I've never known
the petals pushing through
untie the brilliance of red shoe strings
my sash askew
girl toes freed
begin to tap
and chase the butterflies
head thrown back
as Roots of a Voice
vaguely familiar
uniquely my own
gnarl and twist and effort their way,
with the help of spring,
to the bright blueness
of the expansion


©2013 DOS


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