Saturday, January 8, 2011

Black Swan and the New Year

I've had a pretty big first week of 2011 between an application and an audition and freaking out about them both. I intend to write about them soon, but I want to kick off 2011 with a discussion about Black Swan. Not so much as a rant about how great it was (although I can do that too, if you'd like), but to reflect on it as a performer and what it means to me in the new year.

Aside from my brief stint in high school of wanting to be a badass (which was against my character to the point of being amusing), I have always been a Nina, that is, the White Swan side of her. Fearful, fragile, easily disappointed in myself. And, like her, I am an absolute perfectionist to the point of detriment to my work. By which I mean that the intense focus Nina and I both put on technique leads to tightly controlled, timid performance. Which works if you just play the White Swan over and over again, but I think this personality has this flaw because we want more than that. We want to be perfect. Which doesn't even come close to happening until we release our obsession with it. Kind of a Catch-22, isn't it? Makes you want to go crazy and start sprouting feathers or something.

I was a little unsettled by how much I related to Nina (but not as unsettled as I was by screaming paintings and ripped hangnails). There was the center of my difficulties as a performer, right in front of me, in unavoidably large and freaky format. After I released my boyfriend's (probably numb) arm from my death grip as the credits rolled and re-entered a very cold 2011, I came to understand that it's time to address what Thomas says: "The only thing standing in your way is you." I struggled with myself and my perfectionism throughout college, but didn't have the time or energy to take the journey it requires to get out of my own way. I've graduated now and while I have no intention of taking crazy drugs or hanging out with Mila Kunis, it's time to experience, to be a little less careful. I don't need to check my phone seven times to make sure it's off or decline an offer to hang out with someone because I don't know them very well and my social skills are lacking. This year, I intend to find more freedom and confidence in myself as a person and a performer. It's time for a little visit to the Black Swan.

...Will let you know if my eyes turn red or my toes grow together.

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