I'ma take a risk and be honest here. But you all look like good people. I think I can trust you.
I just found out yesterday that I've been cast in our upcoming kids' show of Winnie the Pooh. Now, I figured I had a pretty good chance at being cast; when the number of people auditioning is only slightly larger than the number of available parts, you're starting off in good shape. I just didn't expect to be, you know, Pooh. The guy in the title. The really iconic character that everybody already knows and loves. If you're ever doing a Winnie the Pooh play, your audience will forgive you for a lot of things as long as 1) You don't screw up Tigger, and 2) You don't screw up Pooh. Well, this script doesn't have Tigger. (Fun fact: Tigger doesn't show up until Milne's 2nd Pooh book. Didn't know that!) So, whether it's actually there or not, I'm feeling a little added pressure to do a bang-up job in this show.
Now, don't misunderstand me on the following two counts: First, I'm not bummed at all that I've been cast in this role. I love the character and I like the script, and of course theatre for young audiences is my greatest artistic passion. Plus it's been over a year since I've performed in one of our kids shows. Also, the cast is solid, and I think it'll be a great show. I'm totally looking forward to everything about it. Second, my desire to "do a bang-up job" is no different from any other show I've done. If you know me very well at all, you know my desire is always to put forth excellence, especially in front of children's audiences. The difference here, however, is that I know it's not going to be an easy process. See, I'm not usually cast in roles that are going to require a lot of extra legwork. I'm generally cast in shows that I will do because they will come easily to me. As an actor, I haven't had to put in much outside-of-rehearsal work on just about any character I've ever played. Again, that's not because I'm so awesome, it's because directors usually don't put me in places where I'll have to stretch to pull it off.
Well kids, there'll be a lot of stretching going on this time around. (Or is it "stoutness exercises?")
And I'm excited about that. I don't doubt that I'll pull this off; I do recognize, however, that it isn't a given that it'll happen. I'm almost as excited about the work and the challenge as I am about the show itself. I really love the character Winnie the Pooh. Before I started preparing for the audition, all I really knew about him was as follows:
A) He likes honey.
B) He makes you play many obnoxious mini-games in the Kingdom Hearts series.
C) He shut down the Country Bear Jamboree.
What a jerk!
Seriously, though, after poring through the script a couple times and currently reading Milne's original books, I've really come to love the character. I always thought of him as dumb, but he's clearly not dumb. He just thinks very slowly. And out loud. And he reasons very much as a child might. In fact, in reading Milne's manuscript it's so easy to see the love he poured into each page for his son. It's really touching! Each of these characters is treated with such incredible tenderness. I'm a Daddy who makes up stories for his son every night, so I guess I feel some of what Milne is doing when he's writing.
Hopefully that gives me something to work with in the show, aye?
Anyway, I'll appreciate prayers and support over the next month-plus as I try to find a way to do justice to this iconic, beloved character. It's been awhile since I've wanted to "be an actor," but for once I'm really stoked for and humbled by the opportunity.