2012 was a big year in my life and the lives of many people around me. My parent’s divorce was finally finalized, I got paid to do what I love for the first time, friendships were created and strengthened, I had my first boyfriend, and we all survived the apocalypse. Certainly, it has had its ups and downs, but I would say 2012 was a great year, overall, and I feel as though it was the most productive year of my life so far. Real world, here I come! As 2013 marks the first full year of my roaring twenties, I would like to say a few words on where I’m coming from so that we can all better understand where I’m going.
First off, I think that 2012 was my first year as a full-time theatre artist. I have truly not had any time off between projects this year, and I say that without complaint; it was a blessing. As an actor I performed, chronologically, Assassins, Life with Walter, The Visit, Richard: A New Musical, Zanna, Don’t!, Master of Dreams, Dream Ticket, and We Three Lizas. I costume designed both A Perfect Wedding and Legally Blonde, and I even produced a show, Graffiti Dancers presents Pedinamento. Needless to say, it was a very full year, and with each experience came a ton of learning. Lesson number one: never produce again, Will. You will kill yourself. I also learned how to go with the flow, because these performing credits ranged from Shanley Pavilion to equity houses to independent productions and each of those environments creates a very different rehearsal process. One was not better than the other, but it was very important for me to not approach my work in a certain way and expect others to morph to that goal. Conversely, it was important to be flexible and adapt to each different situation with poise and a good attitude.
I think I’ve also had my most rewarding theatrical experiences in 2012. Most rewarding play: The Visit. The dedication of the cast and director (Tristan Powell, also directing the upcoming production of My Fair Lady that I am currently rehearsing for) was unparalleled to anything I had experienced previously. Taking a simple, classic text and being able to fuck with it and create our own, unique style through which to tell the story allowed me to produce some of my proudest acting work to date. For those who were unable to attend the show, the easiest way to describe the production is that we viewpointed endlessly until we came up with an entirely new acting style, unique to our ensemble. Most rewarding musical: Zanna, Don’t!. It had been since high school since I had taken on the leading role in any production, and my very first experience playing the central character of a musical. It was also my very first time getting paid for my work, which was a kind of joy I had never felt before. Truly, I have never considered myself a leading actor because of the roles that fit within my “type.” Not only was playing Zanna good for my self-esteem in carrying the weight of a show on my shoulders, it was also incredibly important for me to use Zanna to tell a story that was very similar to my own. The cast of that show still calls me Zanna because who he is seems very minutely different from who Will is, and knowing that our narrative is important and not just a supplementary plot line was an amazing feeling. Also I learned how to build up the stamina to sing a four octave range in ten solo and featured numbers. So, yeah. Most rewarding costume design: Legally Blonde. Never have I had so much fun designing a show because I was able to demonstrate my abilities and eye for both men’s formal wear and cutting-edge, collegiate trends simultaneously. On that show, I knew that I was being supported by a stellar team of very talented people, which (along with a large budget) allowed me to dream big and take risks, knowing that those around me were not going to let me fail.
Surprisingly enough, I do indeed have aspects of my life that do not involve the theatre, though they take up much less of a computer screen. This year I had my first boyfriend, which was… well I have just spent a full 60 seconds thinking of the right adjective, but we’ll say it was a very important experience. Through all of our ups and downs, I learned a lot from my ex, and our relationship made me very happy. With him, I found a lot about what I am looking for in life and what I am looking for in other people. Though our relationship may not have been extremely lengthy, we brought a lot of new experiences to each other through our very different perspectives on life and the world around us. Having someone come into my daily life who was completely removed from the incestuous and sometimes closed-off environment that I inhabit showed me how refreshing it can be to have time away from the constant work I am surrounded by. I now know that there are a lot of aspects of my ex that I do want in an eventual partner and a handful of things that I would like to avoid exposing myself to again. Since the end of our relationship, I have been able to carry much of that information with me into casual dating.
Another huge part of my 2012 was the impact that new friendships had on my life. I think of everything that was significant about last year, this is the aspect that I wasn’t actively seeking, but ended up being extremely important. Through doing new shows, working with new companies, being friendly to strangers, and generally just putting myself out there and being available to the world around me, a lot of people have entered my life who will stay for quite a while. These people have already opened my eyes to new ways of looking at the world and have truly made me believe that I will always have a network of support if I remain honest and loyal to the people it contains. There were also quite a few artists and classmates who had been on my radar in the past, but really developed some strong bonds with me over the last twelve months. I have always been rather insecure about having friends. I’ve always thought I haven’t had enough friends or the friendships I had were never strong enough or whatever. This was the first year I haven’t felt anything of the sort.
2012 was a great year, and I had some amazing people that came along with me for the ride. I took several leadership positions I never would’ve thought I’d have, I laughed more with my a cappella group, Extreme Measures, than could possibly be healthy, some wonderful people starting making visits to Chicago, I experienced some highly sought after consistency, I pushed myself as an artist, I let myself party hard without acting a fool, and I came into myself and my sexuality. Even though I seem to never exit this crazy roller-coaster ride of a life, I would not have changed a drop of the last year, and I only hope that I have just as amazing of a 2013. With all of you there with me, of course.
Stay hot and keep it messy,