BWW Blog: Monica Furman - New Year's Resolutions
Ah, New Year's Resolutions. I make these every year and I dread them every year, mostly because I know the lifespan of these promises might not outlive the month of January. However, this year, I am taking a different approach. Maybe it's because I'm smack dab in the middle of senior year and I'm really feeling that "transitional life change" crisis, but I've been getting really inspired lately. For 2017, I'm creating artistic New Year's Resolutions where, if I (hopefully) complete them, the principle of each can translate to "real life" (whatever that is).
So *drum roll please*, here they are:
I've done countless monologues, scenes, and songs over the four years of my BFA program. Do I have them catalogued with my notes and analysis on any of them? No! And that is a shame, because some of them would make really great audition pieces. I remember doing a really snarky monologue my freshman year that would be fantastic for sassy characters, but I can't even remember the name of the play it's from! One of my goals for the new year, or my last semester of college, is to organize my audition material, complete with a description of why I chose this piece, why I like performing it, and why I resonate with it. In addition, I'd like to find and add new audition material for more contemporary roles, since the last two years of school have been mostly filled with Shakespeare, Greek works, and playwrights from the Western canon.
Okay, obviously I warm-up before performance classes, shows, and auditions. But do I really, really warm-up? As in, do I self-assess myself, my body, my mind, how present I am in the current state before I warm up and then target specific warm-up exercises to address those concerns? Sometimes. As in, only during opportunities that I care about, the ones I prioritize over others. Otherwise, my warm-up lately has been a sad excuse where I simply go through the motions, which I am embarrassed about because it definitely affects my artistic work and my mood. For the new year, I want to appreciate and value my warm-up more, which means appreciating and valuing my body and my mind, which are my instruments.
This one is on everyone and their mother's New Year's Resolutions list. But I'm giving this one an artistic twist. I want to exercise my artistic body. Like voiceover? I've never done that. I'd also love to take another Gaga dance class; it's not Lady Gaga, but rather Meisner for dancers, as I like to describe it. Also actual traditional exercise is good for the artistic body too. I've been going to the gym a lot this semester, thanks to a friend who recently got certified to be a personal trainer. I'm excited to see the growth that will happen at the gym next semester, whether it's rep-wise, weight-wise, or otherwise. I've already hit a personal milestone--exercising while on vacation from school, something I never dreamed I would ever do. Like ever. I actually like going to the gym now. (What?!)
4. Feed Myself
Sounds weird, right. I mean, yes, feeding yourself good food is important. Put good in, get good out (I think that's from a commercial, so no copyright infringement intended). Nourishing myself can be beyond spinach and good protein. This new year, I want to read really good books and experience shows that push the boundaries of what I think is possible in theatre. I want to spend four hours in Samuel French in LA like I do at the Drama Bookshop in NYC. I want to spend a day in a museum just absorbing the art on my own time. Feeding myself is just as important to my artistic process as the output (auditioning, performing, anything where I have to produce work from my body).
A brilliant piece of advice (perhaps anecdote) that one of my good friends has told me goes something like: Imagine what you and every other person in the audition room could create if you put all of your talent and skills together rather than competing against each other? Actors spend so much time competing against each other for parts that we forget the power we have in creating our own work. I want to collaborate more next year. It doesn't have to be a production. It could be a group of artists coming together and just discussing theatre or coaching each other on monologues.
This one is perhaps a bit selfish, but maybe that's good? I'm all about the hustle, all the time, every day. Sometimes, I am tough on myself if I wake up tired and I don't want to go to the audition or I miss a deadline of one of fifteen applications or I don't go to the gym one day. I hope to try and learn how to forgive myself for instances such as these or maybe, realize that I don't need to forgive myself for listening to my own body and mind when they tell me that I'm tired out.
These are my New Year's (Artistic) Resolutions. Maybe they'll realize themselves or maybe they won't. The mere act of listing them has me excited for 2017.