Written by Karen D. Swim
“First of all, I choose the great [roles], and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don’t come, I choose the ones that pay the rent.”–Michael Caine
When an actor auditions for a role they are often given a scene to play. The tiny slice of dialogue taken from the entire story may cause the actor to ask, “What’s my motivation?” As things change around us we may feel as though an unseen director has handed us a new part. Thrust into a role with which we are unfamiliar with nothing to guide us we long to know, why we are here and what’s driving our character.
I felt this way for much of March. What had worked before was no longer the solution. I tried out for different roles and very often did not get the part. At the end of the month I found myself longing for that invisible director to call “CUT!” already and put an end to my awful performance. Where were the stage directions? Where was the background? Who was I supposed to be and why was I here? If it were up to me, I would write new dialogue and cast someone else in the part. It was then I realized…it was up to me.
We do not always have creative control over the entire story of our life, and while that may sometimes be frustrating, it is a good thing. (Seriously, think about some of the boneheaded decisions you would have made if you had complete control over everything.) However, we can take the scene and create our own motivation. We can improvise dialogue, change the direction and make the part our own.
I not only decided to own the part but take full producing credit. My motivation is living the life I want to have without fear or apology. It means that I will take the stage each day and give the performance of my life even if no one else is in the audience. I will take risks and be ready to own the good and bad reviews. I will not use a stage name because I want people to know the real me.
What’s my motivation? I am. To live my life to the fullest and own my purpose and potential means refusing to be an extra in the scene of my life. I don’t have to audition, the part is mine and the time has come to deliver or go home.
So here I am finding my motivation and stepping to the stage. Rehearsals are open door and performances are free, so come on in, grab a seat and enjoy.
Have you ever struggled to find your own motivation? What actions did you take?
“Life’s like a play; it’s not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters.” — Seneca