Confessions of a Goofball – April 21, 2015

On or about the time I moved Massachusetts someone I love and care about called me a Goofball April 2015goofball. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed being called a name as much as I enjoyed being called a goofball. 

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines goofball, in part, as one who is “silly”  and defines goofy as “being crazy, ridiculous, or mildly ludicrous : silly <a goofy sense of humor>.”  Guilty on all fronts, particularly that last part about having a goofy sense of humor.

I am firm in the belief that a sense of humor – even a goofy one! – is a sibling of courage. I know no one who is functioning well in life after taking some of life’s more formidable beatings who does not have a sense of humor.

These past three years the goofball part of me has seen a lot of action. First, I was determined to give community life another go when I moved here. Ever since the shooting – I was held up and shot in the head in 1984 – and the attending brain damage and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that ensued, living in isolated fashion has been my preference.

Re-entering community life has at times been terrifying. The thing is, each time I’ve climbed over or broken through a “fear wall” I am always glad I did. Now, three years since my arrival in Berkshire County I am more involved in community life than I thought was possible, for me. So much so that I find myself in rehearsals for a play by Samuel D. Hunter called “A Bright New Boise” produced by Mill City Productions.

Returning to the stage for me has, in more ways than I ever imagined, brought a large part of me back to life. I danced with the Joffrey Ballet years ago and was a member of the Quena Acting Company, an offshoot of Joseph Chaikin’s, The Open Theatre. By returning to the stage I’ve reclaimed a cherished part of life. Last night as we arrived for rehearsal the house lights were down and the stage lights were lit, the set well on its way to completion. There’s magic in them there lights.

When I got home last night I danced around the house with Charley, my black-lab mix, doing a rather admirable job of following suit. He’s a goofball too. Once a goofball always a goofball.

I’d have it no other way. 

Confessions of a Goofball – April 21, 2015

On or about the time I moved Massachusetts someone I love and care about called me a Goofball April 2015goofball. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed being called a name as much as I enjoyed being called a goofball. 

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines goofball, in part, as one who is “silly”  and defines goofy as “being crazy, ridiculous, or mildly ludicrous : silly <a goofy sense of humor>.”  Guilty on all fronts, particularly that last part about having a goofy sense of humor.

I am firm in the belief that a sense of humor – even a goofy one! – is a sibling of courage. I know no one who is functioning well in life after taking some of life’s more formidable beatings who does not have a sense of humor.

These past three years the goofball part of me has seen a lot of action. First, I was determined to give community life another go when I moved here. Ever since the shooting – I was held up and shot in the head in 1984 – and the attending brain damage and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that ensued, living in isolated fashion has been my preference.

Re-entering community life has at times been terrifying. The thing is, each time I’ve climbed over or broken through a “fear wall” I am always glad I did. Now, three years since my arrival in Berkshire County I am more involved in community life than I thought was possible, for me. So much so that I find myself in rehearsals for a play by Samuel D. Hunter called “A Bright New Boise” produced by Mill City Productions.

Returning to the stage for me has, in more ways than I ever imagined, brought a large part of me back to life. I danced with the Joffrey Ballet years ago and was a member of the Quena Acting Company, an offshoot of Joseph Chaikin’s, The Open Theatre. By returning to the stage I’ve reclaimed a cherished part of life. Last night as we arrived for rehearsal the house lights were down and the stage lights were lit, the set well on its way to completion. There’s magic in them there lights.

When I got home last night I danced around the house with Charley, my black-lab mix, doing a rather admirable job of following suit. He’s a goofball too. Once a goofball always a goofball.

I’d have it no other way. 

Going back on stage

I recently auditioned for the part of Will in a play called, A Bright New Boise by Samuel D. Hunter.  The play is being produced in May by Mill City Productions  and directed by Kari Daly in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. 

I got the part.

The very thought of auditioning, at first experienced as terrifying, turned out to be joyful – once I was underway. I’ll explain in a moment.

Mr. Hunter’s play won the 2011 Obie Award for playwriting.  The play is about a man (Will) who takes a job in a Hobby Lobby in part to distance himself from a tragedy linked to an evangelical church he’d attended as well as reconnect with a teenaged son who’d been placed for adoption years earlier. I’d say he’s got himself a full plate.

Over the past few years I’ve been doing the best I can to break down, or, better explained, break through what I call fear walls. Fear walls being the anxiety and panic producers resulting from the brain injury and PTSD I live with. I was held up and shot in the head in 1984.

The very idea of auditioning for a part late in the day frightened. While I believe I would’ve broken through the fear and auditioned without help, there is no doubt the words of my friend of 40 years, Michael Sulsona, helped immeasurably. In an email addressing my fears he said: “I think it’s important that you do it.  Not only for you but for others to see you up there on the stage.” 

As usual, his words helped immensely. Not only that, he’s seen me on stage and, it is well worth noting, he is an extraordinary playwright and screenwriter with something in the neighborhood of 23 plays – many produced on off-Broadway – and 15 screenplays under his belt. There are more reasons than friendship to trust his judgment.

When I got in the car to drive to the audition I was astonished to find myself feeling overjoyed, celebratory, in fact. It occurred to me that returning to the theater was, in its way, returning home. I was on stage as a dancer at age seven and dancing a lead role with the Joffrey Ballet when I was 13. Later I was involved with the Quena Acting Company, an offshoot of Joe Chaikin’s, The Open Theater. Years earlier I’d performed a one-man play I wrote called, The Bum and, over the years, I’ve done quite a few poetry readings and God knows how many speeches and seminars. Once a performer, always a performer, I suppose. 

By the time I reached the site of the audition I was utterly relaxed and at peace. The audition was a wonderful experience. I went home wanting more of the experience. The next day I called Michael and jokingly told him I’d been cast in the role of Cleopatra.

Now, the reason for writing about this:

Over the years it has helped me when others, through act or word, have reminded me that what feels impossible may not be impossible at all. In other words, the feeling doesn’t define any fact other than accurately reflecting the emotional experience you’re in at the moment.

As for navigating your way through the fear, here is a phrase that helps me. It’s okay to be afraid, don’t let it scare you.