So preparing to play Ronald McCowan has probably been one of the most difficult roles I’ve ever prepped. I was going to say prepped for, but I didn’t want to end that sentence with a preposition or say “for which I’ve prepared. Anyway…I soon realized Ronnie has been so damn challenging because one: we are so different and two: like a disease, I continue to compare myself to other artists.
The first is much easier to overcome. Tom Collins (RENT) was much easier to play. And I think that’s due to the combination of us being so much alike and me molding Collins onto a new form, me. I pretty much am Collins except my immune system is a rock star. But I think I reconciled all of my and Ronald’s differences with our capacity to love. I believe we share one incredibly valuable trait our heart.
The second is not as easy to sleigh. When I accepted this role back in October even then I realized that this show would separate the men from the boys so to speak…or type. For much of the show we are standing, relatively stationary and gathered around a truck. I knew because of the limited movement and the very nature of the show that we were creating that this show would identify the seasoned actor and the novice. Once we started rehearsal, I looked around and nearly immediately placed myself as a novice. I’m pretty damn confident as a singer, but I still have SO much to learn as an actor. And knowing this about my ability is really intimidating when there are so many talented, experienced actors on stage. I know it’s not healthy nor is it productive to compare myself to other performers. They are always going to be better at being themselves than I will ever be at being them. I KNOW THIS! I learned that from mama O (Ms. Winfrey of course). That is why I play to my strengths: my voice and presence.
Through so much of this process I have been witheringly intimidated. I really wasn’t able to shake it off until a couple of weeks ago. Because I realized no matter what I was going through or felt in my comparison to others, I still needed to do my work. So I tried my best to put away all the artistic insecurities and I think I may have finally found Ronald. I think this is going to be a role that grows from the beginning of the run to the end. I’m super interested to see Ronald at the end of this trucktacular journey.
New mantra: insecure? …perhaps, afraid? …never