Man, time flies when you are having fun. Somehow it’s been 20 days since my last blog post. I’m really sorry about that.
As many of you know, I had been struggling recently with finding my place and regaining my confidence. Thankfully, I had my latest theater production to help with that a little. I’m currently playing Sebastian in The Little Mermaid at MCT. We opened last Friday night and received some very positive reviews.
I’m thrilled with the response considering how nervous and insecure I felt about this particular role heading into this production. I have never had such a huge mental obstacle to overcome in a show before.
What was that mental hurdle?
Well, the role of Sebastian, although not explicitly stated in the script, is typically played by someone who “looks” Jamaican. I’ll leave it at that. In fact, you will have a hard time finding results for a White Sebastian if you Google it. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I didn’t want the audience to think that the production was sub-par due to the Caucasian Crustacean.
I have played comedic roles hundreds of times, and even though many of my cast-mates had never seen it, I knew that that part wouldn’t be the issue. What really scared me was the accent. I didn’t want it to come off as an appropriation or a negative stereotype. I think deep down I was afraid of being seen as a modern day Al Jolson singing and dancing in Bla…Red Face. I really didn’t think I’d be able to pull it off. So much so that I was just not myself and I was not enjoying the experience. I was given the opportunity to do something I love with people that I love and I was pouting and focusing on my own shortcomings. Shame on me.
In a previous post I mentioned how I felt like I was not doing my best in any area of my life at the moment. I felt stuck, mired in mediocrity. I was struggling to find inspiration in art and business.
I had to suck it up and put in the work. It wasn’t easy. And at first, it wasn’t fun. But it seems to have ultimately paid off.
By committing myself to doing the work necessary, although difficult, I get to reap the rewards. Because I love performing. And even though I have felt recently like I was under-performing, once I got in costume on Friday night, all of those insecurities melted away.
Not only that, but by overcoming that hurdle, it seems to have unlocked my creative energy in my business as well. Because doing something you love can help you get unstuck. I’ll share more about that in my next post.
People have really enjoyed the show thus far and have been very kind to me personally when commenting on my individual performance. I am humbled. Because unlike my previous roles, I know how dark of a place I had gone to during the process. It wasn’t coming naturally so I began to doubt my abilities. That’s when I leaned heavily on those around me for support. And they were there for me. Specifically some fellow cast members who have Jamaican heritage. They supported, lovingly critiqued, and encouraged me. I can’t wait to get back on stage with the people who together have dedicated hundreds of hours to make beautiful art. Now, I don’t know if my accent is a great Jamaican accent, but I know it’s at least consistent throughout the whole show and no one has complained about the “White Guy Trying to be Jamaican.”
We still have 4 shows left. That means 4 opportunities to improve before putting this role in the history books. I will be sad to see this experience end, as with all shows, but I will always remember how the community of people around me helped me to get unstuck from the funk I was in.
My friends, family, and cast-mates all reassured me that I could do it, and I want to say thank you to all of you who shared a kind or encouraging word over the last few weeks and months. I couldn’t have done it without you.
I encourage you to come see this show. Mainly because it’s a great family night, but also because I am extremely proud of it.
Tickets available at the door or at tickets.theatermct.com