Criticism given is also a form of taking away. And a way to the truth.
Recently, I participated in a One Act Festival with the theatre group I belong to. I performed, and I also wrote and directed a piece. At the end of the festival, a few adjudicators summed up their thoughts about each play; gave their advice and opinion. The play that I wrote and directed received high praise, won a few awards and will move on to the State Festival with a few tweaks as suggested by the adjudicators. The play that I performed in, and specifically my role was highly criticized. Apparently I couldn’t be heard, and my diction was unintelligible. I may have an accent but I resent the notion that I speak as if my mouth were filled with marbles. They belabored this point with me and my castmates for a while. Ok, I thought, ok, but was there absolutely nothing else good to say about my character? Nothing? The play received mild feedback as a whole but since I played the main character, I received much of the criticism.
Since then, I’ve felt edgy. I was raised up with one hand and struck down with the other and I cannot shake the deflation, the frustration.
The truth is (and this became clearer to me on that last day) that I have come to dread being onstage. This feeling might have grown from a seed planted last Spring when I completely clammed up at the State festival. Or perhaps, I’ve simply come to prefer the almost anonymous, beaver-like workings of writing, of seeing the story in my head, instead of being the story for everyone to watch.
It appears that my spiritual discoveries are enabling me to outgrow certain things. Like a snake releasing its skin, the talent for acting may very well be leaving me. What remains is a bright, exciting new talent that has been nurtured and is about ready to blossom.
For now, I am still smarting from the whipping (which if my theatre friends knew I was feeling, would say that it wasn’t that bad). I also pay heed to the intuitive voice that urges me to disconnect from social media, and this is quite freeing. I thrust myself into living, feeling, observing, and walk away from scrolling, posting, and updating. There is nothing I need to share with anyone and nobody has anything to say that is more interesting that my life, right this very moment.