"Okay Babe, ready to go to the gym...??" My roommate asks her boyfriend. They are hanging out in the kitchen snacking and talking after their long days at work. I can't help but overhear. I'm staring at my computer and softly (and badly) playing guitar, but my door is open, and just a few mins ago the conversation had been a bit more communal. Still, I'm sorta pretending not to listen, while inside there is cheerleader bouncing around. "Say yes!! Go to the gym!! Go to the gym!! Say yes! It's so good for you!!!"
"Well, yep suppose it's about that time..." He answers back. Chairs scrape the floor, jackets and bags crinkle as they prepare to leave the apartment.
"Whooo!!! Hooo!!!," the cheerleader inside my head screams with delight and does a back flip. Now, I start to add up minutes in my head..."Hmmm....at least 30 minutes of cardio...and then weights and then travel time and maybe even stopping to pick up some dinner after??" My other roommate is at work until at least 11pm tonight.
Do you know why the cheerleader in my head is so excited?? Do you know what this means, Backstage Blogosphere?!? "Gym time" means I have almost two guaranteed hours to BELT MY FACE OFF!!!! Waaaaahhhhh!!!!!! And it's more than that: I can also circle the apartment screaming my lines to myself over and over if I want. I can act out both parts.....I can practice and write and sing my face off in complete privacy.
It's not that I don't adore my roommates. Just the other evening we had a lovely time sipping wine, painting our nails, and talking about our love lives...er, or lack there of. If they weren't there I wonder where my loner tendencies in the big city would lead me: Perhaps I would eat nothing but popcorn, coffee and gummy bears...? Perhaps I would go days rarely showering and leave my room only for auditions and rock shows...? (Is it weird that neither of those things seem all that strange or bad to me?)
However, if there is one thing I have learned in the last few years about myself as an actor, it's that at some point in my process, my artistic work, whether it be singing, acting, or writing, I need space for a little solitude. There is definitely a time for rehearsal and bouncing ideas off someone else. Having a roommate around to quiz me on lines once in awhile is such a great thing and makes me hear everything in a new way!! But still, I need my own quiet empty space first where I go with my own gut instinct on things and sing really bad, wrong notes. I need to sing a song, and sometimes the most annoying, loud, part of a song, over and over and over again and not be worried about bothering someone else. The walls of NYC apartments are thin...And just having my own room never quite seems like enough.
Surely I'm not alone! Have any of you other actors and artists in the Backstage Blogosphere ever found yourself saying something like, "I have the best roommate ever! They have a 9-5 job and boyfriend!"
For some reason or another all three of us have been at home a lot lately, which is really no problem 'cause I live with some super hot ,super cool girls in a nice big apartment,...But today, I have some music to work on that I received late in the day and a little poem in my head to write....And I'm thrilled as can be for the alone time.
Thank goodness my roommate and her boyfriend care about staying in shape and being healthy!! Thank goodness today for gym time.
-- Emily Kinney