Friday, January 30, 2009
Finally the dam wall burst. After the makeshift meeting in the Tons’s dressing room (voluptuous ladies with even bigger voices.), my ears were burning with what I had just heard. I was furious.
I grabbed my cell phone and stormed out into the freezing car park that surrounds the tent and glared at the huge and useless Battersea power station (a symbol of redundancy if ever there was one) that loomed over us. My nostrils were blowing hot steam and I felt like I could catch on fire if it wasn’t so cold. I called my mom. I was going to bitch. I was going to rant and rave and give a huge speech about stupidity, incompetence and irresponsibility, but instead once I heard her voice mine broke and all I could do was cry like a child who’s had a bad fall.“The tent is closing down.” I said.
It has been an uphill slog since the day we landed in this recession rocked country. With no cheap labour available we literally shovelled gravel and worked our fingers to the bone to erect the 100 year old Belgian mirror and velvet palace, and have worked tirelessly to keep the tent afloat ever since. We’ve had more ups and downs than Wendy and Christine’s trapeze act and I think new levels of substance abuse were reached by certain members of our motley troupe in a rather futile attempt to cope with the impossible demands of compensating for a completely lacking advertising campaign. Going out flyering at the crack of dawn and then working until late at night catering to a tent full of people who were mostly comped. To be honest I stopped joining them after a week because it was exhausting, embarrassing and simply a little too late. Funders pulled out before we even left Cape Town and our leader has been like our salaries, erratic and often falling short. Yet I still admire his determination to fulfil his dream. I’m extremely optimistic about most things in life but on this particular day only half an hour before the show is about to begin I am feeling very upset, and for a few reasons. This is not the first show I’ve been in that has ended prematurely (Fangs, Rent, Rocky Horror.) And this is not the first time I am left feeling shafted financially after being made an endless list of promises. But enough of the “woe is me.” If I really want to bitch there is only one person to blame and that is me. I chose every one of these jobs and I have allowed other people to take the reins and dictate what happens in my life and for that I have sacrificed my right to complain. I’ve been letting other dodgy people drive the bus and what I should really have done is take the wheel. If I really think I could’ve done things better then I should’ve done them in the first place. I should have been marketing and fighting for my own dream and not desperately trying to save someone else’s. I want to be a singer and a valued performer and actor and not a pretty yet goat-like two bit stilt walker. When I traded those dreams in for a ticket to London I also handed in my backbone. At least I’ve got it back now even though I’ve had to see my ass first. It was and still is an amazing show but I didn’t ever feel amazing in it and I guess I just wanted a regular salary and a chance to see the world. Someone once said that if you trade freedom in for stability you will eventually lose both. I think I get that now.
A few weeks ago my gut told me it saw an express freight of high grade shite heading for the proverbial fan and so I spruced up my CV and to my gut-wrestling terror began secretly auditioning for shows and different companies up against London’s finest singers, dancers and bonafide “triple threats” (Actors who can really sing and dance.) I won’t lie I saw my ass at more than one audition. Chose sheet music for a song that was WAY too high for me and squeaked myself into new realms of humiliation with an army of young Christina’s, Britney’s and Justin’s all standing within earshot watching my cock up and waiting for their turns to do a much better job at that audition. But I also aced another one and got a special mention for my voice and realised how badly I need to sing and be told that I can and should. Now I have a final call back for a singing gig on a cruise liner on Sunday in Yorkshire and other than that a long flight back to sunny Africa to look forward to. Once again, a future imperfect but I’m enthusiastic at least with a new found interest in Buddhism and meditation. I have also crumbled under craving and have started eating meat again because I was getting so sick of cheese and soya! But this decision will be up for review again as soon as I can afford to live on a more varied vegetarian diet. Or maybe I’ll just give myself a bit of a break for a while. Its bad enough I don’t drink, drug, and smoke and haven’t even so much as smooched anyone in four months. Let me at least have my chicken wings! What I am unbelievably grateful for from this experience is the amazing time I have had in London. Art! I have been to the Tate modern and I have also seen dodgy Asian drag queens singing arias in The Two Brewers (Love you long time Lloyd!) I’ve run along the Thames, felt snow on my face and I’ve seen bearded old ladies on the bus. I’ve gone through a kg of glitter playing Pan and spent a fortune on tea at Starbucks. I have had a jol and I have reconnected with old friends (Carla, Helen, Heinrich, Jennifer and Nathalie) and made so many new ones (Chris, Craig, Kara, Belinda to name a few). I value the friendships I have made and continue to make as I go about my journey. I learn something from every single person like how to fly on a bar but stand on the ground from Wendy and how “Ubuntu” is alive and well far beyond the borders of Africa from Benny and Marta. I cannot deny that I am not exactly where I want to be but I am so grateful to know that where I am now, I am Loved. Aluta Continua (The struggle continues.) Thanks London. Love you long time.