In Explanation - Part One of Sunday Fill

Yesterday, I got this, in part, as a comment on my post:
warriorwoman: "Why become an artist? Is there a creative artist in there, just bursting to get out???"
And in reply I said:
"The quick answer is 'Yes.' I started art classes to help me become a better photographer. Who knew I would find I had a voice that wanted to be heard through drawing and painting? Not me. Not beforehand. But as I look back, I have always looked to some form of artistic expression as a release. I have written poetry. I have written songs. I have, almost all of my life, harbored a secret desire to be an actor. Well, not so secret, really. It was just something I gave up on early. Some form of art has been in there all along. Looking for away out."

And I thought to myself, "Explaining all of that might make an interesting post." And then I thought that perhaps it might be too long a post, so I think I will, from time to time, offer up bits and pieces as we go along - Sunday Fill fodder, so to speak. So here is the first of "Sunday Fill".

The Actor in me.

When I was a little boy in grade school, each class presented a play in the Spring - an interesting diversion after a long, hard Chicago Winter. From Kindergarten thru Eighth Grade, I had the lead in the class play.

When I got to High School, my English teacher, Brother Chevalo, told me that if I wanted to pass English, I had to go across the street to Holy Family Academy (girls school) and audition for the play they were about to put into production. I was cast as Epops, King of the Birds in a play based on Aristophenes' 'The Birds'.

Shortly afterward, I joined a theater group based in Downtown Chicago under the direction of Stan Sidlik, the drama teacher at HFA. It was there I began to realize my talent as a 'character' actor. At age 15. There still isn't anything I relish more than a meaty villain.

After I came home from the Marines and Viet Nam, I found myself back in the theater. I was a member of the standing company of a Semi-Professional group at Encore Theater, in Chicago's Old Town district. We did a different musical every two months - one 'up' and one in rehearsal. I learned a lot there.

In the spring of 1967, I took off for a tour with "Pinocchio", a life-size puppet show. That tour would be a whole series of posts all by itself. I was Wilbur, a talking tree in the Enchanted Forest. Among other parts. I learned a lot there, too.

Everybody I knew or who knew me, thought I was headed for Hollywood. And it was what I thought I wanted. But there's this thing about me. If I let something sit long enough - if the question is allowed to simmer long enough - I will usually come up with the right answer. And I began to realize that there were people around me with a WORLD of talent who were starving. People with far more talent than me who were just not getting anywhere - and I began to realize that what I wanted was something that, more than anything else, seemed to depend on being in the right place at the right time. Seemed to depend on who you know, rather than who you are or how talented you might be. And the one thing I was sure of, about myself, was that I had NEVER been one to be in the right place at the right time and I CERTAINLY wasn't going to prostitute myself to get to know the 'right' people in the way they wanted to be known. So I made a conscious decision to pursue 'home and family' rather than the glitz and glamor. Because underneath, there is a tarnish that I found distasteful. And so I became a 'workaday joe'. And I wound up here, where I am now. It ain't such a bad place - but at times, I look back and wonder if I might have .... no, never mind.

Part Two will follow on - some Sunday when I don't have anything else. And if you like.


Eve Grey said...

hmmmm,..I always wanted to be actress too. I wish i went for it.

Rebecca said...

Oh yes. More, please! This was really interesting. I learn more about my sweet Lou every day. :)

Allison said...

Yes, if only...you could have helped shape the world's entertainment stage. Now where would we be if that had happened???

I'm amazed at all the theatre people I've ended up knowing---one of my dearest friends and her husband are very much involved in community theatre in their town (Corning, NY), and my brother in law was into theatre when he was in college, but ran into panic attacks, and just now is getting back into theatre again.

Maybe I'm meant to write for these people? :-|-hmmmm

warriorwoman said...

I wanted to be an actress when I was a child, I also wanted to be a ballerina. I grew to be a size 22 so that was an odd dream in the end.
Anyway, funny how life goes.

I don't think an actors life is a good one. The rag mags constantly mess with you life, report on what color your toilet paper is and all that.
Seriously, who really cares if Angelina and Brad are headed for divorce court!!!

Hyphen Mama said...

A little bit about Lou! I love these kinds of posts, giving a tidbit of insight into the person behind the words.

There is always room for the what if's of life. Fantasies of what might have been are great past times.

More. More. More.

witchypoo said...

I'm heartbroken that you're not a whore. KIdding.
Great story.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

Aren't you glad Brother pushed you into letting your creative side out? Isn't that the same theater Bonnie Hunt came from?

And, it's easy to be wistful a bit, but I think you got a pretty good life out of it.

Rocas said...

I always wanted to be an actor, and while I wasn't looking for the glamor of it all, I also didn't have the confidence in myself to take the first steps. At least you gave it a try and made the decision that was right for you.

LceeL said...

Eve Grey: You know what? It's all up to you. If you want it - it can be yours. The question is - what do you have to give up for it? And do you want to?

warriorwoman: Everything you said is true. But there have been some plus size women out there who have done quite nicely for themselves.

hyphen mama: I feel so flattered. There will be more - and I'll try to keep it interesting. On those Sundays where I need some 'Fill'.

witchpoo: You're not the only one. But that another story. Maybe, someday ....

AFF: Yes, I am. Brother Chevalo was very perceptive. Bonnie Hunt was a cast member at Second City.

rocas: Thanks. It wasn't a simple decision. And I STILL wonder.

Lady Language said...

People with natural artistic talent want to perform, be it through acting, dancing, singing (I've always wanted to be a singer) - but there are hoops to jump through and sacrifices down that road. Seems you have respect for yourself and a lot of actors don't. I enjoyed reading about this past life and look forward to part two!

CableGirl said...

Fantastic story. It's amazing how life takes us in directions we never thought we'd go.

LceeL said...

Rebecca: You're going to make me blush.

Allison: Maybe you are. Maybe, if I suddenly find myself in Hollywood, you'll be my script writer.

Lady Language: Well, respect for myself and I'm not gay. Although I could play one on TV.

CableGirl: You are so, so correct.

Slutty McWhore said...

Hello, Thanks for popping by my blog earlier! I was wondering how you'd found me, but then I saw a comment from "Lady Language", so that must be the connection. Michelle does get around, doesn't she?!

I think that there are a lot of frustrated artists out there - myself included. I blogged quite a lot about "The Artist's Way" earlier this year. You should read it. It's very helpful for unblocking fears about being creative.

Sandy C. said...

My goodness Lou! I had no idea! Then again, you are an artist in every way. That is amazing that you were able to pursue those projects early in life. So many of us have a pile of "what if's?" accumulated. I can certainly see why you would look back on something like this.

Sogeshirtsguy said...

Lou you are definitely an interesting guy. I look forward to hearing more about your adventures.