What I Miss About Acting

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Stefanie Townsend

It’s been about four months since I’ve gone on my acting hiatus. I never thought I would ever be able to live a life without acting. I wasn’t able to remember life without it. 

Now, I don’t remember what life was like with it.

And I miss it.

It’s been nice to have a break, to have some time to reflect on what I would like for my next steps to be. To have some normalcy and have some time to care for myself before I dive back into an incredible yet exhausting profession.

Watching films or shows inspires me. Following the adventures of my friends makes me long for the days auditioning and nights rehearsing that I put on hold. 

My passion for the craft cannot be silenced. There is so much I miss about acting. Even some of the most anxiety-inducing aspects.

I miss pouring over plays, reading every line, trying to learn about the characters. Trying to find their quirks, learn their secrets, find what makes them tick and what makes them human.

I miss spending hours agonizing over monologues. Which words should I stress? What is the subtext behind all of this? Is this too long or too short? Is this the right monologue for this audition, for this show? For me? Does this showcase me well? Standing in the shower, thinking about the lines, and then gasping out loud as I make a discovery on more than one occasion is a memory I hold dear. The relief I would get from making an important, game-changing discovery was a feeling unlike any other. 

The thrill of new headshots. Picking the best colors to flatter your features. Making sure your makeup isn’t too overwhelming, but also makes you look stunning and full of life. Working with the photographer to create incredible art together. To make magic. To help your photo be the best ambassador for yourself. 

I miss fussing over audition outfits. The monologues have been chosen. They have been meticulously rehearsed. I have some other back pocket pieces in case they want something else. But what should I wear? What will help me be memorable and look professional, while also allow me to reach my true potential as a performer? 

Biting my nails as I wait for the callback results. It’s a game I have to play with myself. I have to remind myself to remain calm, to be patient, that I will learn soon enough. That not making callbacks this time isn’t the end of the world. That there are always other opportunities. But no matter what, I panic. No matter what, the adrenaline is there. As masochistic as it seems, I miss that rush. 

Being an actor is a unique experience. It’s one that can be terrifying, exhausting, discouraging and uplifting. It’s an experience I miss more than anything, and I can’t wait to come back.

Photo: Citrus College