Week 2 of the incredible play I’m in, Skeleton Stories, involved more than the usual blood, sweat and tears required of this show. Typically, any blood I experience, extract, or drink is, of course, fake! Ah, the magic of theater. But, half way into the second act of the play, during the emotional peak of my character Maya’s journey, I step on a shard of glass. Ow.
The sharp pain was followed by that out-of-body experience all actors dread, where suddenly, you are you outside looking in. No longer in the character. All I could think about was how the next big scene was a crazy dance number… on a bloody foot. But what am I going to do? Go “Hold the show! There’s something in my foot!” Don’t think so. You make a little sacrifice. You work that much harder to concentrate, stay in it, deliver the best performance you’ve ever given. Why? Because this is what you LOVE to do. This is why you are here, glass shards and all.
Since then, I’ve added to my sacrifices: black and blue knees, sore arms and scabbed back (though I’ve done this show a million times, I somehow underestimated how long the altar was and got up too soon, only to bang my back on the wood frame). Just last weekend, the slightest blocking change caused a shiny black dress shoe to bang full force right into my shin. Once again, definitely had that outer-body experience but quickly reeled myself in to stay in the moment. And, as cheesy as it sounds, “used it”.
As Maya’s ancestor says, “Sacrifice is Pain… Sacrifice is a gift… Sacrifice is love.”