A very short, erm, run (3 nights) of a play condenses into sharp intensity how weird acting is. Regardless of whether you have done the show ever before, the first night, the opening, is a case of controlling nerves, putting yourself out there, measuring how you are in front of an audience, steering yourself into being totally present, managing the energy and adrenaline and experiencing the intense flood of relief afterwards.
When your second night is also your second last night you get trapped in the weirdest time zone of the whole experience being newish, and not yet entirely comfortable, the different quality of energy compared to the night before, and the forward looking to it being near the end again.
Acting a one-person piece is consuming. It takes up all my headspace, heartspace and bodyspace. I am thinking about the last show tonight, and already almost experiencing the longing I will feel tomorrow, when it is over, even though I find the intensity of actually doing it almost unbearable. Go figure. It is surely a case of “why do we do this?” that runs parallel to “I have to do this”. I am in awe of other performers who sustain this kind of work for most of their lives; I only get to do it once in a blue moon, and my other stage experience with improv is very different.
Acting a piece that I have written too is very complicated. I sometimes don’t know who I am after a performance. Am I more the writer or am I more the actor?
But, when I am on stage nothing else counts but the moment, the relationship with the audience, that electric contract, that sharing of molecular information.