Writing Warm-up: Obligation

Some things just have to be done. Whether you want to do them or not, you just have to. Like brushing your teeth after a delicious meal. Your mouth’s going to taste like mint and the savoury pickled red peppers are going to be a distant memory. But if you don’t brush, your teeth fall out and you have to eat everything through a straw. Obligation.

Well, this play was an obligation.

I had to do it. I signed a contract.

The whole process had started months ago. Long before the plague closed us down, I went to an audition for The Three Sisters. Yes, I’m a trained Shakespearean actor, but I really didn’t expect to get anything. That’s the way it is when you move to a new place. You have to do your time. Like a prison sentence. You cant just walk in off the streets and get cast as Masha. (Not that I’d have been cast as Masha anyway, I know my type. If anything, I’m more of a Vasily. [but that’s neither here nor there])

The point is that I auditioned in January for a show that wasn’t set to go up til June. I wasn’t planning ahead or anything. I just needed to start to be seen at auditions. The more auditions you go to, the more likely it is that a director will take a chance on you and let you be their intern for a few seasons before giving you a part with a name. It’s a long con, but obligation. You have to work your way up.

Imagine my surprise when I got an email two weeks later with an offer. Olga. Strange. I never pictured myself as an Olga, but I had to accept, didn’t I? Not every day you get offered the chance to play one of the three sisters for a company you’ve never even auditioned for!

So I signed my contract without even reading it.

They should teach law in acting school.

Just a little bit. Just enough to know that we have to read the fucking contract before signing.

Because now, here I am. Contracted. Obligated to perform in this play.

Only, it’s not a play anymore.

It’s virtual theatre. On Zoom.

Remember earlier when I talked about a prison sentence?

This is worse. This is hell.

This is Chekhov on Zoom.

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