I have no clue what I’m doing.
By Megan Ruble
I haven’t had much of a clue for a while now. Graduating with a degree in theatre, dancing into the streets of Los Angeles, and knocking on doors to become a ‘real’ actor sounds brave and romantic, but in reality it’s a strangely inactive, and at times, utterly depressing pursuit. I walked out of college stuffed full of answers and information. Answers on how to audition and how to creatively compose a character, fifteen different ways to roll on the floor properly and more pages of sheet music then I’ll ever be able to use (Why do I have half the score to Pirate Queen?). However, the unanswered question that I had no real information with which to answer was, “If this is so hard, why do it?”
HOW LOVE LASTS is not your traditional theatrical experience – and not just the form of the piece – but the effort that goes into it. The actors’ performances you are about to watch are the result of incredible amounts of hard work, emotional heavy-lifting, and a process-derived ability to wrap one’s mind around portraying real, living people who are simultaneously inhabiting the present and the past. Anyone with doubts about the intelligence of actors, meet the cast of HOW LOVE LASTS; they’ll blow your mind.
I was not brought on as assistant director to this production through a traditional route. I worked with Brooke and Daniel – as an actor – for a year. I know the intent and purpose with which they construct their projects. I would give my right arm to re-experience the incredible journey that was that year. When this project was announced I knew in a deep-soul, totally cheesy, sense that I needed to be a part of it. I struggled with committing to something that did not further my career in an obvious way. How helpful would I even be? Sure, I strongly believed in the necessity for this piece, but what could I possibly bring to the room?
HOW LOVE LASTS is comprised of an opinionated and passionate team of people who want to start a conversation. People who have set ego, time, and efforts aside to tell you a story in hopes that you will simply think about what we’ve put forward, in hopes that you’ll walk away changed for the better. In hopes that even we will walk away changed for the better. This is why I do what I do. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
I should take a moment to clarify that my intent is not to preach that pursuing the arts for the purposes of fame and fortune is shallow or futile. Certainly many find successful and fulfilling careers doing just that. My point is that our conventional notions of success are not all that theatre can be – or should be.
Indeed, we need escapism and comedy and frivolity. But we also need, in tandem, theatre that inspires us, questions us, challenges us, confuses us, and pushes us to see the world through different eyes. Productions such as HOW LOVE LASTS should not be an anomaly. Creative types trading positions in order to create effective work should not be an anomaly. If you agree, here’s my challenge to you:
Do the work. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. Theatre supporters: take a chance on theatre that makes you uncomfortable. Actors, directors, creators: delve into that unknown place where your mind gets a little fuzzy, and the road forward is messy, but your purpose is pure.
Trust me, once you get there, you’ll discover you actually kind of do know what you’re doing.
Megan Ruble is an LA-based actor and the Assistant Director for HOW LOVE LASTS