Eirik Johnson - Borderlands
This week was the last of Creative Electric’s performances for the summer, and we hosted another one of our open studios. Everyone worked individually or in pairs to create a piece or an instillation spurred on by the Emerging Artists performance of Wonder, based on the book by R.J. Palacio.
It’s been a massive conflict of emotions working on this one. I was in the original development of Wonder, but was not cast in the Emerging Artists production for a variety of reasons. I was then hired as stage manager for the tour, and was then involved in creating a piece for the open studio. Wonder is a project I’ve loved so much, and it will continue to be a massive highlight of my life, yet it’s also been the biggest rejection I’ve faced thus far. It’s been such a strong character building experience for me, and I’m finally processing it all.
In my audition for the full production of Wonder, I revealed I’d been to a psychiatrist about my sleep eating. It was the biggest risk I’ve taken for an audition, discussing something I’d kept so under wraps for 6 months. When the open studio came along, I eventually decided to expand on my audition piece and turn it into a monologue, as below;
Human beings are programmed for routine, 3 square meals a day, a solid 9 to 5 job, a partner, a social life, a solid foundation with a roof to make you feel safe, and give you some feeling of accomplishment, that all your hard work does have a physical pay off. I don’t work like that. I need change, I need… A rocky routine that changes day to day, I need anything between 1 and 7 square meals a day, jobs that have me up at 5am and in bed for 3pm or visa versa, multiple partners because I still don’t know who I want, a social life that needs a solid Skype connection… And as long as my parents have a solid foundation, I have a home.
I admitted to my doctor that I… I eat in my sleep. So I was referred to a psychiatrist, because apparently it’s not normal.
I was given this questionnaire that had me answer questions on a scale from never to often. There was a range of questions, from suicide to social, from eating habits to bed times. According to this survey I display behaviours from both an anxiety and a depressive disorder, with no exclusive commitment to either. I could tell after my first session that I was wasting his time. I don’t have an emotional trauma that I can’t forget, I don’t have a dangerous home environment, I don’t have an abusive relationship, I don’t have self esteem issues caused by the media, nor do I take any form of recreational drug. You’ll be happy to hear that I am not a danger to myself or anyone around me.
I’ve been so obsessed with the fact that I’m seeing a psychiatrist, that I have lost sight of… what this is. What this is all about. It’s okay to not be a cookie cutter perfect human being. It’s okay to be expressionless at your part time job as a waitress. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to want to stay in your bed all day and watch Mad Men back to back for 10 hours. It’s okay to throw tantrums occasionally for not being an inch taller, because you’re too short to be a Disney princess. It’s also okay to be very, very jealous when your friend gets the job you really wanted. It’s okay to have a bitch face, and to be miserable from time to time. It’s okay to have the odd cigarette after you’ve quit. It’s okay to have a wank in your friends shower. It’s okay to tell people to fuck off, just because they wanted a hug. It’s okay burn bridges and piss people off, get a tattoo when you’re 16 and sleep with 3 people in one week. And it’s perfectly okay, to have a chocolate bar at 3 in the morning, every morning.
I still don’t know how I feel about the first performance. I don’t think I was honest enough. I had a moment where I nearly cried, which I held back, but I wish the tears hadn’t come at all. This monologue for me was supposed to be about strength, about admitting I’m okay with everything and that I’m going to go back to being the happy old me. Maybe I wasn’t quite emotionally ready, or maybe it was just the nerves. But it’s something I want to work on, maybe with just some technical tweaks of the script or maybe just some personal time to really sit and talk to myself about it. I’ve been doing that a lot, talking to myself, and oddly enough, it really helps. I’m not the greatest communicator, and I often shut down in times of difficulty, but I like to be honest with myself, and voicing that makes it easier, makes it more believable. Just like you’re supposed to tell yourself you are beautiful everyday… I tell myself I’m okay everyday.
It’s been a bumpy road this year, I’ve had the floor drop from under me multiple times. But I’m on the up, I’m cutting out the negative in my life, the gossip, the sly comments and looks, I’m cutting out the bitch. She’s the most defining part of me, but she’s also the most dangerous.
Film Meme: actors (1/6)
Whatever character you play, remember they are always doing something. They are not just talking. They are alive; going through a drama in which they will go through some sort of dramatic human experience. Keywords: Alive and Experience. It is your job to make them become so. Anything you do on stage or film has a direct relation to something you have experienced in one form or another in real life. Use your imagination to exaggerate or lessen that sensation. Then, disguise it in characterization and don’t forget to make lots and lots of mistakes, and look like a complete asshole. You’ll do fine. - Tom Hardy