Anthony R. Miller checks in with his adventures at the TBA awards.
I have no business leaving the house tonight.
The situation was this: Terror-Rama had been closed for about a week. I was still pretty exhausted and drained. I’m the kind of person who needs a significant amount of alone time, especially after having to be Mr. Social for days on end. The 4 day weekend had granted me the ability to finally put my house back together. And then I remembered “Oh no, I have the TBA awards ”. A wave of anxiety swept over me. I had committed over a month ago, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But here I was, fully nested and liking it. I hadn’t left the house in 2 days and was pretty happy about it. At that moment leaving terrified me. But dammit, I said I was going! There was a ticket waiting for me. If I didn’t go, my friend was out the price. So if I didn’t go, I’m a dick. Broke and feeling very introverted, the next thing I know I’m ironing my suit jacket. Fun Fact about me, the better I dress, the less confident I’m actually feeling. Take that supermarket magazine isle advice column clichés! I combed my hair but it didn’t help. I was longing to be back in my PJs ordering cheap pizza and binge watching Rescue Me before I left the apartment.
All alone while in a room full of friends.
I take my seat amongst my fellow TheatrePub bloggers up in the Himalayas, because apparently Tier 3 isn’t just a voting designation, it’s a seating section. I look around and realize I know everybody here. I have worked with, done a show with, seen a show of, or served wine to everyone in the building. And hey, I’m a theatre guy, these are my peers, this is my community. In spite of that, I felt like I had no business being there. I mean who was I? Why the fuck do I feel like I’m crashing the prom right now? I was feeling like a square peg in a round peg world. I know it’s not rational, especially when I’m basically at a convention for square pegs. But for whatever reason, I just felt irrelevant. I found myself feeling like not only did I have no business going out tonight, I had no business being there.
Fuck this, I’m bored.
About 30 minutes into the proceedings, I started to feel claustrophobic. This is probably because I was sitting in the dead center of the 2nd to last row, trapped amongst people. And while I was amusing myself pretty well by making snarky comments about, well, EVERYTHING. My bad mood was starting to take effect. Things I would regularly like, I loathed. People I regularly care about felt tedious to communicate with. Someone is singing “Marry Me A Little”?, shoot me! Why did I hate all of it? I love that song; I love the woman singing it! Why does everything suck right now? And I was freaking out a little. But I couldn’t just leave, after all, I felt obligated to be there, this is the community I want to be part of, why aren’t I enjoying their party? Like I mentioned earlier, I was broke. So I couldn’t just drink until it was fun. Besides, if throwing back a few drinks was the only thing making the night tolerable (including me), that might be a problem in itself. So I tucked my jacket under my seat and headed out to the lobby, I figured at least I could watch on the TV screen and feel alone with more leg room.
The places you have come to fear the most.
In the lobby was my savior of the night, my dear old friend Chloe. She had no interest in going back either, so I decided to hang out with her and just smile at the people who were happy to see her. Fuck she is popular, I’m pretty sure she knows everyone here too. But the difference is that she was able to appear happy to see all of them. Maybe she actually was, I dunno. A big part of theatre is putting on a show, socially. I’m perfectly capable of schmoozing, but not tonight. I didn’t have it in me. For me, the energy it takes to be a social person has to be built up over time, and my batteries were not recharged. Like my phone, I left the house at 50%, now I’m somewhere around 20%. So I guess this is one time, (Sing it with me):
“THAT YOU CAN’T FAKE IT HARD ENOUGH TO PLEASE EVERYONE, OR ANYONE AT ALL”.
I had nothing to offer anyone there, which made me start to think maybe I didn’t have anything offer ever. Why am I so shitty at the game? One of the hardest things to balance is the fact that writing and producing isn’t enough, there’s a million social obligations. I suck at social obligations; all I really want to do is hide in my office and write. How do all these people do it? Everyone seems like they’re happy to be there and they all seem to be part of something. Meanwhile, I’m just standing here waiting for someone to validate me. Imagine feeling something like that at an award show. Okay, Okay, I get it, I’m probably not the only one!
I’m a loner Dottie, a rebel
So what does this all mean? Essentially I’ve just written “Anthony was having a bad day”. But it was bigger than that. It made me take a long look at myself and ask “why the fuck Am I here?” I want to feel like a part of this, but this doesn’t seem like the way to do it. I’d rather just do my thing. Put on good shows, be kind to people, create great experiences for people. That appeals more to me than going to every party, seeing every show. And while I think it’s important to make social appearances and show that you care, maybe being a schmoozer isn’t my style. The only times I have succeeded, I mean truly kicked ass, was when I tossed away the rulebook and did it my way. I embrace my square peggedness. And you know what? I don’t like award shows. When the Sex Pistols got inducted to the Rock & Roll hall of fame, they didn’t go, they just wrote a letter saying awards were stupid and if the Sex Pistols showed up, then they wouldn’t be the Sex Pistols. , I don’t do this for a trophy, though I would absolutely put one on my tchotchke shelf alongside my Judy Garland mug, the picture of my daughter, and the Ninja Turtle figurine. I’d probably do just fine at the acceptance speech to, I’m not shy- but I’d have to hide in a room after, as it would use up every ounce of extroversion I possessed that week. And I like recognition as much as the next person. I think recognizing these incredibly talented people is important. BUT, I also recognize when I’m not good at something. So I didn’t have a great time, and that’s not your fault TBA awards. But it seems like I gotta do this my way, not that I have any idea what that is yet. Can we consider live streaming it next year? I’ll host, but I’m not promising I won’t cut out periodically to watch funny parody videos on YouTube
Anthony R. Miller is a writer, director, producer and shameless theatre tickets salesman. His show, Zombie! The Musical! Live in Concert! Performs for one night only at Terra Gallery on Dec 14th.