I´ve been used to the presence of audiences all my life. Whenever there´s an audience, my innate entertainer mode is ON for whatever is required:
Singing Ella Fitzgeral? Done.
Interpreting Shakespeare? Count me in.
Dancing? Of course.
Lecturing? Love it!
Turning the imitation of a chicken into a post-modernist work of art? I´ll give it a go.
Entertaining an audience, doing whatever it takes, while the theatre is on fire? You bet.
I´m the girl who made striptease shows, during nap time, in kindergarten because – and I quote – “the kids didn´t respond to normal dance”.
I was only 5 years old when I started studying Classical Dance and performing in theatres. That was also the age I made my first “professional” television appearance on a show called “Brinca, brincando”. Needless to say I presented a well intentioned, passionate ballet monkey business piece. But, let´s get real, what can you expect of a 5 year old kid? The thing is I had an audience and lights pointed at me – there was a reason to move and a direct feed-back of my artistic expression.
Same thing happened from that moment on. I went through different dance styles and entered the prestigious “Cinema & Theatre Conservatoire”, in Portugal and Spain. I´ve worked, as an actress, on theatre and television. I´ve filled theatres with my first – clumsy and overconfident – Oriental Dance attempts.
I made the BIG JUMP and got brand new bags – aka audiences. Lebanon, Qatar, Oman, Egypt for 8 years. Performing, several times a day, almost every day for 8 years. The best musicians in the country on my back and the most demanding, heart warming audiences in front of me. More recently, I´ve been performing, teaching and lecturing around the world; also teaching privately, on line; exposing myself in every medium, receiving all sorts of direct feed-back from mixed audiences.
Then BAM! Nothing. Zero. Emptiness. The nightmare of the empty theatre.
I´ve worked my derrière off so I could afford slices of time that enabled me to work on my new book. This is a luxury I offer myself, the book and its future readers. This year, I´m travelling less and limiting my On Line Private Courses so I can focus – as much as possible – on the book.
Instead of playing the Go and Get Them game and accept every work invitation in my field – Egyptian Dance -, I swallow my pride, and need for immediate recognition, and say no. Then I close myself in a room, all by myself, doing a job nobody, except me, is enjoying. At least for now. A job I´m not sure I´m good at.
If this wasn´t a labor of love – and, no doubt, obsession -, I´d say I´ve gone bananas. Clinically insane.
Although I have an editor working with me, she barely gives me feed-back and it´s usually the negative/constructive kind: this scene needs more work; the voice of this narrator is unclear; I think this dialogue can be improved; you can do better.
The only audience I am counting on, these days, is me and my cats. My cats can speak but they cannot read. So I´m all I can count with. And “I” am tired. We, me and my ghosts, are currently on the 3rd volume of the book and I can hardly distinguish if I´m dead or alive.
I feel lonely – writing a several volumes´book IS a lonely journey. Wondering why nobody told me that before I got myself into this monumental task?
You can imagine how challenging this is for someone who is used to having audiences falling from every corner, applauses, noise coming from the crowd – asking for more -, empowering comments, requests, glitter thrown at me. It feels like I´m stuck in a valley built with my own hands. No one to talk to; no mirrors, feed-back, idea of what´s going on. A pat on the back, for Christ´s sake!
And I may be writing the worst book in the History of Literature.
Can I trust my judgement, taste, logic? Am I doing a good, average, great or terrible job? Who applauses me, and what I´m writing, when nobody´s applausing?
This is where my survival instinct kicks off and assists me. I am thrown into a particular kind of madness where nothing matters, not even results, except the creative process. I live under the spell of the characters and the enthusiasm they, alone, throw upon me.
Haters and envy patrols will hate me even further for saying this but, in the absence of external applause, I´ve learnt to applaud myself. No, I´m not sure if what I´m doing is fabulous but I´m sure I´m giving it my best. And this, ladies & gentlemen, is worth of (my) applause.