I’ve just watched a video of Gaston beating a man in a push-up contest at Disneyland. Gotta love the internet. And Gaston’s sense of humour.
So I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks looking into acting classes. Originally, optimistic me thought, how expensive can drama schools be? It turns out very. I looked into the one nearest to me, which, for the record, isn’t even that big. Let’s just say they wanted £2000 per term, and there were three terms to pay for. Needless to say, I closed that tab pretty quickly.
Since then, I’ve been searching for taster classes, introduction classes – acting for absolute beginners. I’m not kidding myself. Standing in the background of a shot in a 20-minute short film once does not exactly make me an actress. Though I assured myself that I was drinking my Ribena ‘wine’ and rhubarbing very convincingly.
I narrowed it down to two. One is at a well-known university in London. It’s the one I looked into applying to for a degree before I chickened out. Anyway, the course sounds great, it lasts for 10 weeks, and will cost £425, which, as expensive as it sounds, is actually borderline reasonable compared with most others. The second is at another London university, the same kind of set up, lasts for 7 weeks and costs £200.
I’m drawn towards the second for the obvious money I would save. Not because I’m overly fussed about how much places charge for this kind of thing – I’m looking for the one I’d enjoy the most, and hopefully get the most out of. It’s more the fact that I don’t entirely trust myself yet with this new undertaking. I know me. I know how quickly I can change my mind about something under supposedly sensible pretences when really, I’m just scared.
I’m the kind of person who will want to sit in a room, or a restaurant, or pretty much any social situation, and for the most part be ignored. So naturally, the thought of going to an acting class where I’ll be in a room with strangers, undoubtedly in some form of circle, doing god only knows what kind of warm up confidence exercises is more than a little unsettling. I can’t help but think I’m a little mad for even entertaining the idea. It’s not the acting part so much that scares me – I used to love acting at school. It’s the me part of it all that’s the issue. Me and my puny self-confidence.
Most times, I think it would be a pretty big jump to go from wallflower to actress. Other times, I think about how ‘awkward’ actors can be in interviews, and think that maybe, it’s not to do with the person you are in real life, but the character you can create on-screen. I try to take comfort in the fact that actors don’t have to be loud, over-confident, naturally charming people to convey that kind of persona. So why should I have to be?
But, all comforts aside, I do worry. I worry that I’ll get there and stand awkwardly in the corner. I worry that I’ll want to run and hide from the strangers, watching me, judging me. I worry that I’ll miss my safe room, where no one can see me, or judge me, and few even know me.
But more than that, I worry just how much longer I’ll use fear as an excuse to sit in my safe room and avoid new people, let anyone else ever know me at all, and not let my hopes and dreams be known. I worry at just what stage I’ll look around and think – why didn’t I give that a go? Why didn’t I try?
What was I so afraid of?
I’ve heard it said many times that you only regret the things that you didn’t do. I don’t know if I can act. But so what? I don’t have to know anything for sure. All I know is I used to love acting before I moved schools. I remember English and Drama being my favourite subjects, and how excited I used to be for them. I remember how liberating it used to feel, to create a character, and to play them. I remember feeling like I was tapping into another part of me, a deeper part, and that acting was the only time I could reveal that side of me. I remember, for probably one of the only times in my life, not being afraid who was watching. I remember it making me feel alive.
I know that was a long time ago. Maybe the feeling’s changed, maybe it hasn’t. But I guess, as with so many things in life, there’s only one way to find out.