Monday, 16 May 2011

Trump card

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but even if I haven’t, I most definitely will be saying it many times in the future. This is the frustrating fact that everything in life happens at the same time. Hey Life, I have an idea. Instead of handing me twenty things to do at once, why not spread it out a little bit? Give me a few, important, manageable tasks and opportunities now, and then a few more later. You could have given me some back in January when I was pulling my hair out because nothing was happening and I felt like I was going nowhere. What’s that, you say? It’s not how you work? Fine then, I shall be tearing my hair out for different reasons. I shake my fist at you, Life.  

Let me attempt to summarise my last two months, not in chronological order but in ... Jonological order, I suppose.

Firstly, I enjoy my current day job as a bartender. I work in an excellent atmosphere, and it’s nice to have a permanent full-time job and be slowly climbing out of debt. I’ve had to learn a whole slew of cocktails, which is cool, and they are also very flexible when it comes to asking for time off or rearranging shifts for auditions and the like.

Secondly, about two weeks ago I started working on the side for an ex-colleague’s husband, who runs his own business from a home office but needs help with the organisation of files and other basic administration. I agreed to help, since it’s something I have plenty of experience in. Also, it’s very nice because he says, basically, “Come in whenever you can.”

And thirdly, my last play, The Count of Monte Cristo, ran at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre and then went on tour, to very positive feedback. The company asked me back for their next adaptation, The Brothers Karamazov, and offered me a role without needing to audition. I of course said yes, since I have worked with this company multiple times before and I regard the scripts very highly and I always have a wonderful time with them.

So I was on the verge of balancing these three things, keeping myself very busy and believing that I was getting myself back on track financially while still acting when possible. But THEN, oh then, I get a phone call. THAT phone call, the one every actor strives for. Okay, it’s not Steven Spielberg, but it’s from my agent, telling me that an audition (one that I thought went poorly, by the way) has been successful, and they want me for their production. This is a highly professional and experienced company and looks very promising, and could potentially mean international attention. I’ve already signed a lengthy confidentiality agreement with them, so I can’t go into detail, but here’s the crux: it’s happening outside of London, and I would be required to be gone for about a month.

The bar managers, flexible as they usually are, are not willing to allow me to leave for that long a time, especially in the summer. I was told today that my only option, if I chose to be away for a month, would be to resign and then reapply for the same job upon my return. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the admin job, and I would have to pull out of Brothers simply because the dates conflict.

You might think there would be a fair amount of internal debate, but really there wasn’t. There is no way I can pass up this other opportunity. It serves as a trump card to all prior responsibilities. The thing I do feel bad about, however, is disappointing the people who had counted on me, and the only internal debate that happened was how to go about informing the bar managers, the self-employed husband, and the theatre company about my decision.

It was in this way that after the phone call, I initially resisted just blurting out “Yes!” and accepting everything straight away. In retrospect this sounds mad, but at the time I thought to myself, “But I have everything in order! I’m balancing my life efficiently, and it’s going well! I have all these other commitments!” but I guess when you get that opportunity, you have to jump on it.

Moral of the story: sometimes when you get what you’ve been asking for, you won’t always recognise it. Sometimes you get it but it’s not exactly as you had envisioned; the difference might be in the details which you hadn’t exactly been specific about anyway when you asked for it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not right for you anyway.

So I can say that at the moment, life is good. As much as I get frustrated at its inconveniences, I have to focus on the fact that my life is currently going in a positive direction. I just need to stay focused and work on my attention span. Because I still get easily distracted, especially when