For the rest of November, every day, the Brelby Buzz will be bringing you the second installment of the November Blogathon. Thirty days, thirty original posts from Brelby’s Company Members and collaborative artists of Season 8. Each post will revolve around a word that artist considers to be integral to what art and Brelby means to them.
By Melody Knudson
About a year ago we were asked to pick one word that represented what Brelby means to us. “Fearless” immediately came to my mind. It’s no secret. I’ve written this in previous blogs and if I’ve been around you for more than 30 minutes you will know that I have a pretty serious anxiety disorder. So serious in fact, that my doctor was surprised I graduated college. I’ve learned how to manage it well enough to function in normal life… but it’s still there… every day. But on a daily basis this anxiety translates to fear. A fear of everything.
Fear of failing.
Fear of not being enough.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of being disliked.
Fear of saying the wrong thing.
Fear of doing the wrong thing.
Fear of making the wrong choice.
Fear of hurting someone.
Fear of making someone upset.
Fear of being too much ___ or not enough.
It extends beyond concepts and to more specific things like, fear of driving, fear of talking to people I don’t know, fear of making decision about what to do with my free time, fear of having free time, fear that eating a particular thing will make me sick, fear of trying to complete a task without being given specific boundaries.
Basically everything stresses me out and I’m afraid of everything.
When I jumped back into theatre two and a half years ago I was afraid, but I knew that I had to find something I could take joy in. Even after two years, I’m afraid before every audition and callback; I have to give myself a pep talk to convince myself to do it. Needless to say, I was completely terrified during my first audition at Brelby (the summer Blockbuster, She Kills Monsters), and it wasn’t made any easier when Brian made us do all kinds of crazy stuff in front of everyone at callbacks. I had to make a choice. Either I did what he asked and risked making a complete fool of myself (something I am terrified of), or just leave.
It was one of those face-your-fear-head-on moments. I decided to, literally, close my eyes and just do it. That was the beginning of Brelby pushing me outside of my comfort zone, pushing me to do things I’m afraid of, and it’s been one of the most beneficial things in my acting pursuits and my personal life.
I have learned to be fearless in auditions and my performances. I learned at Brelby that while I might feel and sense my fear, I can push through it and create GOOD work, not just acceptable work. I’m still afraid before every audition…but I think of all the crazy things I’ve had to do at Brelby, all the times I thought, “if I do this, everyone will laugh at me.” But I’ve done it and everyone was proud of me. And I go into that audition or that rehearsal and just make a fearless choice. There are moments before an audition, right before I walk into the room or start my monologue, I’m shaking and can’t breathe. When that happens, I think of my audition for She Kills Monsters when Brian asked everyone to do a shoulder roll and I felt like a complete idiot. I couldn’t do it at all, but he smiled and said “good job.” I think of those moments and I’m reminded that I don’t need to be perfect in my art, I just need to be honest and try to do it wholeheartedly. I don’t need to be perfect, just fearless.
Fear is there, every day. Probably indefinitely. But at Brelby I’ve learned to be fearless in my art. And it’s the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in the last two years since I re-entered theatreland.