This month ten years ago I split from my one and only love. I gave up the only thing I knew how to do. I left the only job I ever had. I turned my back on everything and everyone because bloody magic beat me up and stole my feelings away.
When I was 5 years old a lady used to take me to watch TYA. (Theatre for Young Audiences.) Sitting on sticky blue matts on the floor with other kids watching these people act, dance, and sing (sometimes out of tune). I never realised how much TYA would have an effect on me. And then as cheesy as this sounds at 8 years old I had a dream I was on stage performing and that is what started it all.
So how do I become an Actor? I started off doing shows for my neighbourhood. I put adverts in mail boxes and I would perform on the grass for all who came. I can’t imagine how bad this was at now 9 years old although I knew had to start somewhere. After the hours of horrors of school, I took at least 3 different acting classes a week. I also didn’t want to sing out of tune so I started participating in city choirs as part of my training. One of my siblings was taking ballet classes and I went to watch her show. Wait what? a SHOW?…totally out of pure jealousy, and over coming my tom-boyish ways I forced my mother to put me into ballet classes so I could be in a show, any show! I knew ballet would help me become a much better actor in the future. I knew Voice and Speech were important so I started taking exams in phonetics, speech and drama via Trinity College of London.
By the time I was 11 I realised that there were more roles for boys then girls in the theatre. So I chopped off all my hair. I got savvy to all the professional theatre companies that might use kids in productions and would audition for anything possible. Missing months and months of school for years and getting paid to do what I loved was the best childhood!
In between performing and training I would watch every type of theatrical production at least twice every week. I got good, real good at sneaking into theatres and finding free seats. I was so obsessed that I would even volunteer my time to mop stages before their shows. I loved everything about this Acting World.
By 14 I knew I wanted to train at only the top theatre schools when I got older so in between all of my after school lessons I hired a private acting teacher to help me with my audition monologues for the future.
The Future! The top 3 theatre schools to me were R.A.D.A in London, National Theatre School or the BFA Acting program at U of A in Canada. At 16 I thought I was old enough to audition for R.A.D.A and obviously when I entered the room they said I was too young. However they accepted me into the Shakespeare program until I was ready for the conservatory. Ahhh I couldn’t wait that long! So the following year I auditioned for the schools in Canada and to my surprise got into both of them. NTS and BFA only accept 12 students a year. I knew it was rare to be accepted even at barely 18 but shit yeah my life long plan was working! The next three years of theatre school was the best training I ever had until…
The End. 4 months after graduating, contracts for shows already signed, getting ready to be a proper adult actor and I happen to watch a street magician named Nick Nickolas. He destroyed me. I didn’t know what magic was, I didn’t know magician’s even existed. However in that moment I knew magic was the ONLY thing in my life that has ever distracted me away from the acting world. So I had to follow my feelings. How was it possible after all these years dedicated to acting that a thing called magic could creep in with a force and kidnap me away. How? My focus was split and it was not fair on my colleagues. So one day I left. I left knowing I would not ever act again. Didn’t tell anybody. Made myself simply “unavailable” for any future shows that might come my way. Decided to get tattoos to further prevent the possibility of me even going to an audition. Moved to a city where I made sure nobody knew my past. Promised myself to never watch theatre again.
The last 10 years magic has been my only focus. In fact magic saved me from a potentially type cast career as an actor. I know this now looking at the acting world from the outside. I realised that as a Canadian-British Citizen with Polish/Filipino origins I would have been doomed. When I first started magic it was the first time I performed as me and not a character. The first time I realised as an ethnic minority there would be hardly any acting parts in the real world. How could I have been so ignorant and not discover this huge problem before? So in a sense magic saved me. Magic saved me just in time. However I do miss the smell of a freshly mopped theatre, the glows of the ghost light when the curtain falls, the collaborative environment, the epiphany of a piece of text, the cast mates that become closer then family, the sounds of a sitzprobe, and even the stress of a cue to cue. I miss it. A part of me feels like I betrayed all of my acting professors who helped me develop my individuality and discover what I can do with imagination. It still hurts not doing it anymore. It hurts a lot. But 10 years on there is no going back.
So Thank You Magic and Happy Ten Year Anniversary.