The California sun blared down brightly on Westwood Village creating a white glare around me. As I walked towards the famous Fox Theater, I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed to stand out dramatically in the midst of the white light as in an image of a dream. This same street corner is lit on many a movie premiere with the red carpet laid out to welcome artists more successful than myself. In the daylight, the tall white steeple towered before me as if to remind me how small I was, standing before a symbol which stood for that which I so badly want.
It was only noon and the theater seemed void of any activity. After debating on weather or not I should be frivolous and treat myself in the middle of the week, I reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet. I bought a matinee ticket to “Fame” at the old fashioned ticketing booth. The whiff of buttery pop corn greeted me as I presented my ticket and entered the historic theater. I walked down the dimly lit aisle toward the big screen stretching out in front of me. I could not help but notice that I was the only one there in that auditorium, vast and empty like my creativity seemed to be these days.
I sat down, glad to escape the outside world for a couple of hours. I realized that I needed this date with myself desperately. The truth is that I have been tired and discouraged. I spent so many days searching for work, marketing my craft, and waiting for auditions. At the end of each day I struggle to answer the question, “Is this really worth it?” I mean how long do I have to pay my dues before deciding to cut my losses, wise up and surrender to a 9 to 5 job that would actually give me some security?
My thoughts and questions were interrupted when the lights faded off and the movie filled the screen. I could not have picked a better movie to see on my own. The plot unfolded and I got lost in story and my memories. The scenes of a performing arts school in the heart of New York City were all too familiar. My mind went back to my first day in Manhattan at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy more than seven years ago. I had so many hopes and dreams then. I recalled the months of intense training and discovery of my artistic soul, trying to accept the personal baggage I carried as who I was and a means to turn my experiences into life on the stage. The feeling of being on a magical stage with lights, music, and energy was invigorating. There has never been anything like it.
I thought of my friends and fellow performers who arrived in New York on the exact day I did, all with similar dreams and passions. Most of them have long since given up the dream. Some have made it happen in Hollywood or Broadway. At the end of a long journey of countless auditions, rejections, commercials, contracts, and highlights, I found myself back where I started- Longing for more…
It took the characters in the movie to speak words of life back into my artist’s soul. The answer to my initial question was “YES! IT IS TOTALLY WORTH EVERY BIT OF IT!” In one of the final scenes, Jenny pointedly says that “success isn’t what you have done. It is when you wake up every morning and can’t wait to begin what you are doing.” I sat in the dark theater for awhile as the final credits rolled by. A load had been lifted from my soul. I am an artist because there is nothing else I would rather do. To create art and experience the magic of the stage is a powerful source I am not ready to walk away from. Every now and then, I merely need to nurse my body and soul with a little shot of inspiration.
I got up and walked up the aisle out of the empty theater. My pace quickened to a joyful bounce. I walked out into the white glare of the summer day feeling energized and reawakened. One day, my hopes and my work just might pay off… and even if it doesn’t, I will rest knowing that I was always faithful to the artist I was created to be.