The Vine: September 28, 2012
I've been heavily involved in community theater for the last several years. My passion is acting, but I've worked in various technical capacities just to help out friends. I've never especially enjoyed the tech stuff, though — I don't have any particular talent for it, and I'm not very creative with it. Mostly when I do tech, I just spend the show longing to be onstage.
I've come to a point where I don't want to deal with the heartbreaks of auditioning anymore. I'm not "traditionally attractive" (got a Gilda Radner/Andrea Martin/awkward-funny-bespectacled-bignosed thing going on) and I'm entering my thirties, and so facing a dearth of roles that I can even reasonably audition for. In the last year I have experienced a parade of rejections, and I just can't deal with it anymore.
So I'm looking for a replacement hobby. The obvious options don't really appeal to me — joining a musical group or an athletic team, something like that. I have actual negative amounts of musical talent — no natural rhythm and a little tone-deaf. I'm also not athletic — I don't mind physical play, but I'm tiny, wimpy, and have trouble keeping right and left straight. I've tried pole-dancing classes and poi-spinning, with only embarrassing results.
I'm hoping the Nation has some suggestions. I'm looking for something that won't involve a constant barrage of rejection or depend on a particular physical appearance, and will hopefully introduce me to an interesting, creative community. I live and work in the DC metro area, if that helps. What kind of stuff do people do if they don't do theater?
Because Spending Every Night on the Sofa with The Xbox Would Be Sad
Dear Is It Still Sad If You're Using It To Stream Netflix Oh It Is Oh Okay I'll Just Be Over Here,
Hmm. Obviously you've got a shit-ton of options, but unfortunately you're going to have to try a bunch of them before you find a good fit for you, activity-wise and people-wise. I hope we can narrow it down somewhat, so I'll make a few suggestions and then the readers can have at it.
First, go onto Meetup.com or another site and do some searches. You don't have to commit to anything, but most metro areas offer almost every imaginable activity in a social setting — going to baseball games, seeing the latest documentaries, putting together box lunches for protests, you name it. Huck a bunch of search terms in there and see what comes up, if only to get some ideas.
Second, figure out for yourself what parts of the theater experience you want to take into this next hobby. Is it the performance aspect? You can still find gigs; just broaden your parameters a bit — you could give tours of anything from haunted sites to historic places to a wing of a museum. Any particular subject you like? Non-profits always need volunteers for data entry, research, coordinating mailings, or just setting up chairs for talks; again, museums are great for this, and you can also pitch in at cemeteries, after-school arts-magnet programs, and so on.
Do you like kids? Crafting? Any combination thereof? Friday afternoons, my fifth-grade teacher — not a terribly pleasant specimen overall, but possessed of an all-time gorgeous speaking voice — would read to us for an hour while we colored or made art projects. I've often thought of starting my own "sewing circle" in that vein, and maybe that's something you'd like to do.
Or take a class in something that has nothing to do with anything. Do you have anything like the Brooklyn Brainery where you are? It's kind of…well, Brooklyn-y ("The Art of Canning," hee — but then there's also a class on how to give a good beej), but I was looking on the site the other day all, "Maybe I could do a class about The Aenei– oh, they already had that one. T…wice?" Take a basic illustration workshop, learn to finger-knit…I've never really learned much from the classes themselves, but I always met some cool people.
Speaking of cool people: readers?
Tags: Ask The Readers workplace