The Daily Backstage; A Road Not Taken

WWW.MRSHANEWEBB.WORDPRESS.COMOk so – in my last note I mentioned to you guys that I was taking some time out. That it was for the best, that it was needed and necessary. I do need a recharge, and a space to sit back and breathe. Take stock of my life and goals. That’s really hard to do when you’re in the middle of anywhere from one to three shows at a time. Plus all of the other stuff I end up doing. Standing on committees, starting new endeavours, writing, exploring, training etc… It all gets a little hectic.

I felt really good about it – that it was the right thing to do. Then .. it happened. A fairly major show has had the community rights released for the first time in YEARS.

*cough* Les Mis *cough*.

I felt pretty good when the auditions were announced. Javert is fairly high on my list of roles to play, but I figured “Shane – there are going to be other companies doing the show. Relax. Take the time. You’ll be fine.”

Which, lets face it – is true.

Then the cast announcements started to trickle out. And .. I still felt good. But it was less “totally fine – do you guys wanna go get a coffee” and more … “nah .. that’s good. It’s good that they did that. Yeah … good. *eye twitches*”

And it is – I am so super happy and stoked for every single person who auditioned, regardless of the roles they got or not. Throwing your hat in the ring and auditioning is an amazing feat. It is nothing short of an extraordinary feat of human will power. For the people who were cast I am even more pumped! It’s Les Mis!!! Yes! That! Go you good things!

The voice that I am now contending with is entirely my own, and has nothing to do with anyone doing auditions or landing roles. It is, in part, that feeling of eyeing off the clock and knowing that my years are swiftly spinning out (yes – perhaps a touch dramatic). There is also that feeling that if I fail to try for an opportunity then I will miss “the moment” that takes me to the next level of my career, or advances me as a performer, or gives me the chance at “the part” that I have always wanted. This is similar to what I was talking about in my post about chasing cars, about wanting to chase down all of the opportunities, and filling my time doing all of the things that I want to do, lest I miss my chances.

It can be onerous.

I wonder if we are all perhaps a little like that. Trying to jump headfirst into everything that comes our way. Feeling that guilt of a road not taken, like a lodestone for the soul, pulling you away. A tiny moment of “what if” thrown in for good measure.

Almost like clockwork – I leaped straight away to get the number for new singing teachers, looking at dance lessons, new eating plans, new workout methods, and curiously I went straight down to the pool that night to do laps. I quickly asked for skype singing lessons from a dear friend, and an incredible mentor, the divine Miss MM to make up the time. Chatting to her late at night about the panic, the sudden urge to pack a car and drive to … anywhere something was happening …  made me slow down and realise a few things though;

  • I had that moment of panic – perhaps not because I am missing the opportunity – but because I am aware that with a new chance to rehearse, comes a new chance for growth.
  • If I am worrying about that – am I worried that I am stagnating as a performer and a creative.
  • If I am worried about stagnation – why? What am I not doing in my day to day work to keep myself progressing? What should I be doing? Why am I not doing it?

Once I had that little revelation – it’s become quite an easy place to start drilling down. It is not at all about the road not taken, or the opportunity lost. Although the fact that I am not a superman who can run about and do 87, 000 things at once still galls me.

Taking the time out to stop and think about things, to process it through and to figure out WHY I felt the need to jump straight back in when I knew deep down that I wanted to work on other things for awhile was really telling. I have been letting myself down as a performer and there are things that I should be using my “show free” time to look at and start to address. I think in the long term, it will make me a far better creative, and hopefully a better person. Not taking something at face value is definitely something I needed to be reminded of and if there is one thing I have learned – it’s that the way I feel about something almost never has something to do with the “thing”. It’s almost always about me.

Happy Creating!



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