This afternoon, I attended the second half of auditions for Prenzie’s latest show, The Rover.
I think they went okay– it’s kind of a weird show–in a good way– one good (and bad) thing is that many of the characters are absolute blank slates, so getting to decide “who” each character is can be fun– and entirely challenging, because I am not so good at that– but being challenged is one of my favorite parts of being an actor.
Speaking of challenging, (SEGUE-WAY!) this afternoon I was also asked to do something I’ve really never had to do before on stage (or, really, in daily life)– “be sexy”. For my entire life, I have always been the neighbor, or the maid, or the comic relief. I’ve never been asked to be “sexy” before, and even with my role last year, rolling around in stage blood with my hands cut off didn’t facilitate the most sexy of ingenue roles.
Lavinia was an incredibly challenging role because of her vulnerability– something else I’d never had to do before, and here, on the other side of the coin, is a show full of characters with confidence and sexuality– two things I’m also not good at.
It was weird. There was this moment when the choreographer asked us to kind of make up a movement/dance piece. I was terrified. In “real life”, I’m a slightly awkward blue-haired nerd who enjoys crafts and Godzilla movies. Suddenly, I was being asked to be a famous courtesan that –literally– everyone wants to sleep with. I’ve always seen myself as more of a Kristen Wig than a Nicole Kidman, but thanks to the magic of theatre, everything about how I define myself as a person was getting flipped to the exact opposite end of the spectrum.
I will fully admit that I use sarcasm and jokes as a defense mechanism, and you can bet your ass I was joking my way all the way onto the floor, but as the music started, I thought to myself “alright, Catie, now’s your chance to try this out”…and you know what? I had a great fucking time. It felt…natural. Like, I wasn’t necessarily the best dancing in the world, but something about embracing the fact that maybe there is something sexy about me was kind of….empowering I guess? I always feel like a tool when I use that word, but it feels appropriate here.
Since there weren’t a lot of people (most people came last night), Aaron (the fight choreographer) and I started messing around with swords. I’d never been coached by Aaron before in this context, and it was….well, I had more fun this afternoon than I have in a long, long time.
Driving home afterwards, I couldn’t figure out what it was about the events of the afternoon that left me feeling both so elated and also, so entirely confused.
What I realized was that I felt sexy today. I genuinely, absolutely, for maybe the third time in my entire life, felt sexy and powerful. Yeah, I was doing some of the most basic fighting stuff there is to do, and yes, my “sexy dancing” involved a lot of hair-flipping and duck-face, but I was doing it—not perfectly, not with great panache, but I was happy. I was excited and powerful and sexy.
And my mind turned off. During both the dance portion and our hour of fighting, my brain shut off and I wasn’t thinking about what I have to do tonight or what to make for dinner or what email I forgot to send. I was focused on what I was doing and how I was connected with it, and nothing else.
I also stopped caring about how I look. And that– well, if sword fighting and sexy dancing can do that, I need to do both more often. I came to auditions dressed to dance, so I was just wearing like a black tank top and leggings, but they were both form fitting. I’m not the sveltest of women, I know this, but both times– during the dancing AND while I was fighting with Aaron, I realized that I didn’t really give a shit what I looked like, goddamn it, I was having fun and I was doing something I’d never done before. It didn’t matter that I was sweaty and smelly and my hips were showing– I learned a pretty decent grand lunge today, and I’m proud of that.
Sure, I might not have been perfect, and yes, I was frustrated with how long it took me to pick up basic things when I was fighting, but it was a frustration built on the desire to get better– not because I wanted to be the best or because I wanted to show off, but just like the dance portion, I was doing it for me.
There is a connect, I think, between fighting and dance– a very subtle one, but for me, that awareness of my body and what it was doing allowed me to stop thinking about how awkward I must look or how stank I was getting and it made me want to get better– both at dancing and at fighting.
Regardless of whether or not I get cast (or whether or not I get the part I’d like), this, for some reason, kind of feels like a bit of a game changer. I’m not pretending that this has shattered my world or anything, but today I realized that maybe I am capable of more than I think– maybe I shouldn’t be afraid of the physical side of myself.
Maybe, underneath my silly hair and awkward comic timing and general dorkyness, there is some sort of a sexy woman underneath.
And maybe I should get myself a sword.