I'm still tired but need to blog to vent some angst before I rest up for tomorrow's battles.
Yesterday's premiere of Human Shrapnel, as you may have guessed, went damn well and I got a bit drunk and basked in the glory like a human shaped seal. Today was somewhat different and very distressing.
The matinee was fine, I was a little under par as I hadn't prepared well due to the theatre not being ready but it went well and the audience seemed to like it. The evening show however left me crying with rage and frustration. I'll explain...
For those of you that don't know, Human Shrapnel is a one man show that I've created with ex-servicemen from past conflicts and soldiers currently serving in Iraq. It exists to shed some light on what happens to men when they leave the army, especially those from a working class background (which is much of the British Army and the US military I believe). It doesn't make for pretty viewing as it doesn't pull any punches and it asks the audience to think about their own attitudes to conflict and veterans; as well as reflect upon the circle of violence many soldiers are trapped in.
I've put a lot of work into this play because it matters to me, I care about those that have laid down their lives for us, those that fight so we don't have too. I may not agree with the reasons for war but those that fight it I respect and Human Shrapnel is dedicated to them and their struggle.
Now, I break myself in two on that stage, I work my guts out and give my all to tell the story, to do it justice and tonight all I got from the audience was cold indifference as I slogged my fucking guts out. Now I may be wrong but I've been acting for a while now and you can't help but feel an audience and this was one way traffic, me to them and them just not buying into what I was doing. I felt humiliated, like I'd bared my soul and they'd objectively decided it was rubbish.
I sat in the dressing room and smashed it to fucking bits: I lay myself out there for you and all I ask is you take my hand and come with me.
Now, I know what you're thinking: 'Maybe Human Shrapnel is a pile of shit DHG? Get over yourself!' Maybe it is. All I know is a lot of people who saw it last night or the matinee today, people who work in the industry or the teachers at my school, people who know their theatre, have told me that it's an outstanding piece of work and that I perform it excellently. And I know it's good and that it contains a story that needs to be told.
I tell you, it's really knocked my confidence and my priority is to build that back up and move on to tomorrow's shows and hold my head high and plough on into that audience and put my heart out there again for it to be stamped on.