Theatre: The Gateway Art

I didn’t grow up as a Theatre Kid.  I mean, yes, I occasionally was in a church or school Christmas play. (6-to-11-year-old me was consistently typecast as a “Wise Man.” To this day, I’m suspicious about how much of that decision was determined entirely by irony.)  And I took a couple of drama classes here and there in high school.  But I was never one of those performing arts high school, theatre-contest-competing, acting-class-devouring champions of the children’s acting world.  Therefore, my parents concluded that I was safe.

Then I went to college.  For the first semester at Whitworth (in Spokane, WA), all seemed well.  I was on track for a degree in psychology and a music minor, with the intended career of child psychologist squarely in my sights.  But soon all fell to pieces.

I took an acting course during our Jan term. Then, sophomore year, I began considering an acting minor. Then came the “might-as-well” add-on of the acting major to complement psychology like a Carmen Miranda hat complements a funeral. The careful, responsible career choices were pushed aside to make way for mime, for playwriting, for performance art involving enigmatic poetry and unconventional(/illegal?) use of fire extinguishers. Finally, after the long, slow slide downhill, I decided to make acting my primary focus.

Now, surely here, surely at this point the last nail in the coffin was hammered into place. “Stop, stop, he’s already dead” one could shout at any further horrors.  Surely that was the end.

But no.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m developing a project under the temporary moniker “V”. The process of discovering who and what V is has been a deep joy, but something unsettling has resulted from my recent work. The more I’ve delved into V, the more I’ve realized that, in order realize fully the vision and scope of this piece, I will have to pursue physical training to an extent and in avenues that I never have before. I’ve been able to catch glimpses of the physical needs of this story, and they are simultaneously thrilling and terrifying.

So I’ve concluded that I need more training than my self-created workout regimen will provide. Strength, agility, and other crossfit-y words are all essential for my preparation, but I also need to attain and hone a very specific physical skillset for this character. Thus, after sifting through different options, I’ve signed up for and been accepted into a 5-day-a-week January intensive in acrobatics, tumbling, and other circus arts at the SANCA school in Seattle.

Theatre’s destructive work, begun long ago in those halcyon days in Spokane, is finally complete. The long descent is over. I have joined the circus.

Mom? Dad?

I’m so sorry.