If my muse doesn’t show up, I’m dead

Six weeks ago, I auditioned for a role in a theatre production. Three actors got the job and I was one of them. Woohoo. What a happy occasion because I hardly get theatre roles.

And then Jack jumped out of the box and punched me in the face.

I had to write my own script.

For a solo performance.

(The production is made up of three solo performances.)


An insane fear gripped me. Elation at getting the job evolved into a monster that gnawed at my intestines.

I may be a good writer, in general, and even have a passing knowledge of scriptwriting techniques, but I hardly think I’m qualified to write a script good enough for a paying crowd. (If I were, I would be churning them out and making money.)

And I hate monologues. I must have mentioned that somewhere in my blog before. Probably more than once. Monologues just kill me.

Of course, I tried not to show the fear. One must always appear confident and in control in front of one’s employers. But whether or not the fear is well-hidden is another matter altogether. Some directors are so perceptive they can see right through makeup, skin and bone, right into the marrow of your soul.

I was tempted to opt out of the production. But of course I didn’t.

I’ve done amazing things before. Like cough out a 3,000-word essay discussing the sanity of Jean-Paul Sartre in one night. And after performing amazing feats like that, I can never remember how they happened. They just did.

Humans are apparently capable of more than is apparent. So I’m always accepting projects beyond my apparent capability, hoping that my proverbial muse will possess me in the nick of time and do all the work and save my sorry skin.

So it was with this mindset that I accepted this scary project. It’s not every day I get a chance to perform in a theatre production. If I pass up this opportunity, I might as well make a quick phone call now and have myself measured for a nice Brazilian rosewood coffin.

After that, I stressed over it every chance I got. I mentally brainstormed ideas while jogging, I scribbled thoughts while commuting on the MRT, I emo-ed to the Goonfather on a daily basis about how stressed I was.

One month later, I finally completed my first draft.

Relief. Mixed with a bit of shame over how long it took me.

But you can’t imagine the relief.

I went for my first rehearsal today. It was part script discussion and reading, part acting training to work on areas I’m weak at.

My mentor-director gave me a lot of food for thought, a lot of ideas. I wish he could rewrite the script for me because he has all the tools and experience and know-how. But it’s my challenge and my responsibility so it seems he can’t do that.

Before today, I was really pleased with my script. But it’s like that. When you’re elated over completing a gargantuan task, it will always look like a pot of gold to you at the moment.

Now I think my script is junk because there were so many things I didn’t consider and so many ways in which it can be improved. Ok, it’s not totally junk. It has some good points but it’s not good enough to work, on the whole.

So, back to the stressing board. I mean drawing board. Writing board. Whatever.

I’m going batty nuts psycho because the performance is two weeks from now.

Hahahahahaa! (psychotic laughter)

Now would be a really good time to get hysterical for my muse to show up and perform a miracle. But the way things work, I think she will let me stew in my own sweat for a week first, and then jump in when I’m teetering over the edge of insanity from desperation and panic. Muses are like that. They like to screw with your mind. But I guess it’s better than if they don’t appear at all.

What the hell. I’m an actress but here I am stressing over being a playwright. Where is the justice?

Besides this project, I also concurrently have other projects and tasks to stress over. So I’m even stressing over which project to stress over first.

Can’t blame a girl for getting a bit psychotic.

16 thoughts on “If my muse doesn’t show up, I’m dead

  1. Avatar

    I’m sure you can do it too. So sure in fact, I’m willing to be a paying member of the audience. And I’ll probably drag my wife along too. I love theatre. Especially small productions.

    Just tell me what play it is ya?

  2. Avatar

    I have no doubt you can do this and do it well. Stress is a good motivator, but it can also be a foe. Let it motivate you (it sounds like you are doing just that).

    And if you get stuck, remember that toolbox I told you about. Use it. It’s there for that reason.

  3. Avatar

    I’m sure it will be cool… You deliver monologues every day for your blog… If you want someone to proof-read it then shoot it over…

  4. Avatar

    Wang Wang: Thanks for your faith in me, WW dear! ^_^

    Alvin: Wow, that’s awfully nice of you! Will post details when they’re up! :)

    MikeM: Some people work well under stress. Some don’t. I’m one of those who don’t. Haha. I tend to get annoyed by stress and sometimes I go on strike if I get too annoyed, lol.

    Jesta: Er… blogging is vastly vastly different from stage performances. For example, if I put on a show on stage about me camwhoring, I’d get booed off stage faster than you can run a marathon. Oh, wait, marathons take forever to complete. Haha.

    The Goonfather: Nobody. =)

    Monster: Thanks, monster!

    modchip: I’m sure it is. =P

  5. Avatar

    If you would get booed off stage faster than I could complete a marathon then it could be any time from 1 second to an eternity. Marathons are REALLY not for me…

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