Thursday, November 11, 2010

"You have to keep doing your show" by Darragh Kennan

So....I just performed Hamlet in front of 90 4th graders and did a talk back with them after. ....Not sure but I'm pretty convinced a lot of it went over their heads....but you never know....and yet, I'm pretty sure....

Oddly enough, I thought of my ETI students, thought, what would they think about this experience? What do you do in such a situation, oh, and by the way, the 90 4th graders came half an hour late! (not their fault, busing concerns)

Well, you just have to do your show. You can't do some alternate version, you can't not try, you have to give it your all even in those weird circumstances where you know the 9 year olds in the front row that are squirming in their school skirts haven't the vaguest notion of what you're talking about. You have to keep doing your show. And yes, it sucks, and yes, it's hard, but, it's your work and you can be proud of it and look into the eyes of your fellow actors and believe in the work you've created. That was today.

Tomorrow, who knows? A new student matinee and an evening show and a whole new lease on life. As my mentor once said, you could be digging ditches. Right?

On opening night for Hamlet I had to teach for ETI at 9 in the morning. I was feeling sorry for myself, but then I got there and was filled with inspiration and love and desire for the work and I realized it was the best thing I could have done that morning, was teach that class. These students are hungry. They are working hard, creating imaginary circumstances and playing in the black box of Freehold and forming lifelong relationships and artistic bonds. My hat is off to them.

Performing Hamlet has taken over my life. Both in good and bad ways. I feel like I am young again, like a student of the theatre, completely absorbed in the play I am doing and nothing else. That's refreshing and great. But then the balance of keeping things in check, things I tell my students, could be a little more healthy. It's great to be a teacher because you always are holding the mirror up to your own actions reflected in your words.

Darragh Kennan can be seen in Hamlet at Seattle Shakespeare Company through December 5th.

For more information on Freehold's ETI: Freehold's Ensemble Training Program

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