Monday, January 28, 2013

Equus and Paralyzing Fear

I went to see the play Equus last night, put on by Nearly Naked Theatre in Phoenix.

(For those of you who don't remember, Equus is the play that Daniel Radcliffe performed in a few years back and everyone flipped out because his role required full-frontal nudity. And holy hell, full-frontal nudity there is! Both male and female.)

The show was phenomenal. It was long, but fascinating and deliciously cerebral. The story is a strange one, about a boy who randomly blinds six horses with a metal spike and the psychiatrist who takes on his case. But it delves into so many topics with abandon; religion, sexuality, psychology, family, emotional development...I was rapt.

Even though I haven't been active in some time, I still keep a close eye on the goings-on in the local theater scene here in Phoenix. Awhile back, I saw an audition notice for Equus. They had already cast the main roles, but were looking for actors/dancers to play the six horses. I immediately got the shivers. I wanted to do it so badly. I had every reason to: I'm a dancer, so the movement wouldn't be difficult for me. My favorite step in ballet is the pas de cheval, which translates to "step of the horse." I've even played a horse before in a musical called Man of La Mancha a few years back (and fucking rocked if I do say so myself). And yet, something kept me from sending in my headshot and resume. I had some concrete personal reasons...I don't have loads of time/energy to spare so rehearsing and performing may have been difficult on top of school/work, I was shy about wearing the sexy costumes (click on the link at the end of the entry, then ENTER to see what the male horses wore), and even more shy about the scars that cover my legs which would undoubtedly be on display if I was cast.

I realized last night that all those reasons were stupid.

The horses entered and moved gracefully and beautifully across the stage, wearing their gorgeous headpieces which transformed them into the illusion of horses, and I was immediately filled with so much regret. I could have pulled off the female costumes, and the scars would've been camouflaged by fishnet thigh-high stockings. I was only half-surprised when I felt myself starting to cry. I had missed out on an absolutely INCREDIBLE opportunity for reasons I thought were valid, but were really just paralyzing fear. I was scared of being vulnerable onstage again, scared of balancing school/work and rehearsals/performances, scared of meeting new people and experiencing new things. I was just fucking scared. Of everything.

I've always been scared. I'm a scared person with a lot of fears; some rational, some irrational. There was a period in my life where I was able to push through that fear and do scary things. I made myself do scary things, and often. But now I'm right back where I started from. Looking at the audition notice for a role I'm perfect for, and turning away to hide under the covers; acting like it's no big deal that I'm chickening out. It IS a big deal. This paralyzing fear is taking over my whole life and I can't stand it anymore.

So I'm done. I want to do scary things again. I don't want to miss out on opportunities like Equus anymore. I want to believe that I can handle scary things when I need to; that in the end they'll be beneficial to me and my life. Six gorgeous humans-as-horses have inspired me to not be scared.

I started that night. I walked straight up to the director of the show and introduced myself. We've been Facebook friends for a couple years (long story as to how that happened) but I've always been too shy to meet him in person. But we finally met last night. It felt good to overcome a fear, even if it was just a small one.

I don't want to be scared anymore. So I won't.

P.S. I might go see Equus again this weekend. If you get a chance and live in the Phoenix area, SEE IT. Even if you only go for the naked people. :) It's a great show. Visit for more information about the show and this great little theater company.

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