Monday, March 22, 2010

First and last stop- Ohio state

My idea was to pretend I've been keeping this journal for the past year and a half and let you experience my struggles to get into Grad School in hopes of receiving my MFA in acting. But I'm going to write my experiences for the past 14 months in one sitting. The short of it is this: My decision, OSU, failed, URTAs, failed, fuck it, SETC, success? I could be sitting here on the eve of getting accepted into The University of Central Florida for the fall of 2010 and I think it would be an amazing story of how I, a 34 year old actor living in New York City, made the decision to go back to school and how so many forces have put me where I am today.
I think the journey begins about a year and a half ago when a relationship I was in ended. It was at that moment I realized I hadn't been living for myself for some time. I had put my goals and career track on hold and needed to take care of myself. I was just starting my 30's and was stuck in a restaurant, a kid's preschool, and catering. I had just started to try to receive my certification in personal training which would be part of my foundation of what I considered what I wanted to do in my life. After passing that test, I felt like I had a much more solid focus on my future. Then I went home at Christmas and innocently drove by Ohio State one night and suddenly realized I might be ready to go to grad school, something I had been planning on for a long time, but the time never seemed right because I couldn't find any happiness and support to propel me into that tough life. That night, I looked at the OSU program on line and realized they were auditioning for their class right now! It all made sense. I was supposed to move back to Ohio, be with my family, watch my niece grow up, attend a school I had always wanted to go to, and receive the degree I had always planned on. I called the recruiter, found out I could audition on campus the day of my birthday, Feb 15, and in my head, I'd be accepted soon after, move my stuff away from New York, and start my new life. Things looked good. A friend of mine was on the faculty, I had Columbus roots, and damnit, I was a New York actor with a shitload of experience, 2 national tours on my resume, tv shows, and a lot of uncovered talent.
I was told they wanted a basic audition. 2 contrasting monologues, one being my own work because OSU was big into that. Perfect. I'd do a contemporary monologue and a piece I had written about my experiences in Asia which people loved to hear.
My birthday went well. My best friend from undergrad was a musical director for OSU and my friend on the faculty saw me in the hallway. "Just let me go in, perform, interview, and if you need to offer me a position today, I will be willing to take it" I thought. The audition went smoothly. Did my pieces, got great laughs, good moments, and then sat down for the interview. Told them why i wanted to go back to school, why I wanted to go to OSU, and what I wanted to accomplish while I was there. I didn't care how many people they had auditioned, how could I not be a top choice? OSU is not Yale or NYU! But I thought this not in an egotistical way, but just matter of factly. I left the audition room with the state of mind that "I left everything I wanted to in that room", a great feeling for all actors. I look back now and realized there was one question they asked that i didn't think twice about. "Jason, how is your Shakespeare?". I didn't want to lie, I hadn't done much. I had toured the country and the world with two musicals for almost 5 years. I was doing a lot of regional work, a lot of improv. I think my Shakespeare is good but not great. Just like my tv/film work. Its good, I can get by, but I'd like a lot more practice to make it second nature.
Well flash forward a week. I was moving out of my apartment in astoria and was looking for a new place. "Well, if I'm moving back to Ohio, should I get a short sublet and what do I tell those people about how long I want to live there?". So I called my friend on the faculty to see if I could get a heads up on when offers would be made because of my move. She was very very nice and called me back and said since it sounded like I was going through a life change,s he would call. Now this is on my voice mail and I'm listening to it in the back kitchen of my restaurant in Times Square. "Jason, we thought you were great, it's obvious you have tremendous talent, but the faculty is concerned about the extent of your Shakespeare. This is because we have a close partnership to the Royal Shakespeare Company. I've seen the lists and you're not on the first round of offers and I don't see you on the 30 people on the wait list". What the fuck. Not even on the 30?? I'm really that bad? I'd be that awful to be part of your training program? With my experience, I could start a training program! Jesus Christ!
Now what do I do?

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