Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hey, Jude

Last weekend, my naked show, Loaded, closed. I'll pause while those among you who weren't graced with the full-frontal can get a tissue and wipe your eyes, to rid them of the tears that are no doubt currently pixelating your screen. And not to worry, the play had an extremely successful run, and is getting extended in March, which means your chance to see the full monty has not passed you by. Hell, even if the play wasn't extended, all you would really need was a couple of margaritas and a twenty and your chance hasn't passed you by. And I really just put that bit in about needing a twenty as incentive to take off my pants in an attempt to sound classy. Upon re-reading...swing and a miss.

Anyway, as another play winds down and I return to the more low-key life of survival jobs and boyfriend-hunting, I find myself sinking into the somewhat expected post-show malaise. For those of you out there who may not have ever been bitten by the theatre bug, perhaps this seems odd. The schedule of running a show (particularly one that is not paying the bills independently of other jobs) is back-breaking, and I have never been involved in a theatrical production that did not come with some sort of soap opera-style shenanigans. One would think there must be some sort of release that comes along with the simple re-emergence of what passes for normalcy in one's life, and one would be right, there is. However, once the initial rush of a normal amount of sleep passes, I have never been able to escape a lingering sadness at the end of a run, and I find this hiatus (despite that fact that it is just a hiatus) to be the most palpable I have ever experienced.

I always grow very attached to characters that I play, something that I would imagine many actors experience. Maybe it's a result of my college acting professors beating into my head that the actor cannot judge the character (not judging, very difficult for me), and that the actor must love the character for who he is. The role in Loaded, Jude, was no different. Jude was a lost soul, a young man who had contracted HIV at a young age, who engaged in extremely dangerous sexual practices, and generally made extremely unintelligent decisions when it came to relationships. He was a puddle of need and want, a young man who wanted to love and be loved more than anything else, and yet had no idea how to go about actually finding it. As my director would say, "Jude goes to the hardware store looking to buy oranges." And despite his repeated defeats in going to that hardware store, Jude somehow continued to believe in love.

I'm not much for method acting. Whenever I hear about some Hollywood actor staying in character when not shooting scenes, I roll my eyes and wonder how the crew can stay focused and get the shots they need with someone walking around virtually masturbating and begging everyone to look. I do, however, spend a lot of time daydreaming about a character that I'm playing, and listening to music that reminds me of him. Now, as I put Jude to rest for a few weeks, I find myself missing him terribly.

Ultimately, I guess the purpose of this post is just to admit that for some reason I miss someone who never existed except in my head. Which is, of course, slightly insane, and sounds unfortunately close to something that would be given a 5-episode arc on Grey's Anatomy, complete with a stirring indie rock ballad upon culmination so the audience would know that this was the moment that the characters were learning something, and they're supposed to cry. I've tried to pinpoint exactly the reason that I continue listening to the "Judah" playlist on my Ipod, and, in fact, keep adding songs to it, and I think I've finally figured it out.

I miss Jude because Jude is the side of me that I don't allow most people to see. I play the jaded cynic in life, but just the other night I made a comment to my friend Adam about wanting to get married and he said to me "You see? You see? For all of your judgments and sarcasm, you still believe in love." With some of the things happening in this world right now involving gay rights, starting with (but in no way limited to) the passing of Prop 8 in California, it is very easy to be angry, and cutting, and bitter. It is very difficult to be optimistic. It is very difficult to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and not only fight for what you want and deserve, but actually believe that you'll win. Jude, despite all of his defeats in life, still believes in love, and believes that one day love will win out. And getting to say that onstage every night, getting to express that belief in front of an audience was not only liberating, it felt like I was flying.

This is not to say that I in any way plan on wearing rose colored glasses, preaching free love and hugging strangers. I'm just saying, I miss someone who doesn't exist. And I'm not going to judge that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Post Paul.