Next

“What’s next for you?”  Actors get this question frequently as a show draws to a close.  It can be pretty depressing if you don’t have work lined up.  What to say?

Fortunately for me, I have an answer, and it’s almost completely true:

“I’ll be doing Hamlet right here at Georgia Shakespeare.  I’m playing Gertrude.  Thank you, yes, I’m very excited.  No, I’ve never done the show before.  I’m thrilled.”

That ranks pretty high on the truth-o-meter.  I am doing Hamlet this fall, I am playing Gertrude, and I am thrilled to the bone.  But Hamlet is not literally next.

What’s next is a process of recalibration.  When this show closes, I will reset my life and discover (or rediscover) a routine that doesn’t involve driving to the theater every night.  I’ll start doing what I call “digging out”:  sorting paperwork, catching up on lost time with my husband, seeing friends, restocking the refrigerator.  Walking in the woods.  Working in the yard.  Getting enough sleep.  Actually cooking and eating dinner with my family. 

I love this process.  My personality teeters right on the line between extroversion and introversion.  I love my time in the spotlight and in the presence of energetic, creative people.  But I also need quiet, uncomplicated time to think. 

I have a workshop in August for a new play, and I’m working behind the scenes to raise money for two theater companies, so I won’t be completely out of the theatrical loop.  And Hamlet will be underway before I know it.  But for the first week after this show closes, I plan to hunker down at the homestead.  

That’s what’s really next.

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