I have not performed on stage for over 9 years, I left stage when I got married, and then had a child, and then moved through a divorce. I have learned many lessons through that cycle, and lately the biggest lesson is how much I love creating. I am wired to create. I have missed it. So as I journal this, I sit on a barren stage, looking out into the house of seats, and my blood tingles with excitement for my return to stage.
I remember when I traveled the country in a production of Tom Sawyer and I told one of the actors, that the stage was my alter, my sacred space. There is no other place that as given me permission to express, feel, without judgment than the stage. When I started acting I was in 8th grade, and my life as a introvert, was finally given the opportunity to fully express without rules, right or wrong, but to flow. Over the next few years I would discover the gift I had in making people laugh, and so I did lots of comedy, frankly because it helped me attract girls, and I realized the power of laughter, I saw my folks working hard in their lives to provide for my sister and I, and then before the show you look out in the house and see all these people who are giving themselves a night out, a night to enjoy, a night to let go. What better way to let go, then laugh. I enjoyed and have enjoyed being the fool. The fool in Shakespeare is the smart one, but they are funny, smart, and alert. The fool is the butt of the jokes.
Edward Albee says in Zoo Story, “A person has to go a long distance out their way, to come back a short distance correctly.” That has been my path. I had to leave acting, and go into the parts of myself that felt unworthy, not good enough, lost, confused, to discover who I am. Learning is life. I had to discover that I am truly a fool. Not in the sense of a child, but in the sense that I really have no idea what is going on. Yes I tell stories of what I think is happening in my life, but most of the time those stories I tell about my life are based on myself as the hero. In some stories people tell of me, I am the Villian, The teacher, the Dad, the son, the brother, the writer, etc… that is the part they have written for me. Just parts, not who I actually am.
But as I sit on this barren stage, alone with myself, I realize that I am simply a fool in love. In love with creating, and I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to playing games, I may not be great in things that you are, but I know love. And love is here for all of us. It loves us through everything. So as I start this rehearsal, I start it with love, and realize that life is a rehearsal. It is a practice in loving. So I put down my pen, and stop writing, why you ask? Because life is unfolding in front of me, as love, and so my part is to go with it, accept it, handle it, take action, and not judge it, control it or others, not search for approval, proving, but simply love it. This is what the stage of life is teaching this foolish lover.
This morning at Starbucks, with my daughter, this song was playing, “Where did my baby go?” and when my daughter and I came back into the car, I sang this to my daughter, no radio on, just us. She laughed, and said, “Dad you have a good voice.”