Janice D. Soderling

Acting Class

Actual reality is the material of our craft. – Lee Strasberg

I'm sorry I let everyone down
by dropping out in the middle of that play
where I was a fairy or something
with wings.
I liked having wings and a wand even if it was only pretend.
I liked my two lines:
Don't cry, little girl.
There will be other parties, other days.


Stay in the moment, Hal said,
the real moment. He was angry when I laughed,
but the real moment is what I was trying to get out of.

Do you remember that class when Hal told us
to concentrate on one thought.
Believe in it, he said, and it will be real.

Every afternoon when I got out of bed,
I repeated my mantra. It doesn't hurt.
One day, waiting for Chinese takeout,
wisecracking with the fat kid behind the counter,
I saw myself in the mirror, and I didn't have a face.
I looked around and no one in the restaurant had a face
and the walls were closing in.

Access your emotional life, Hal said. Connect.
I didn't go to the theatre that night,
as some of you may recall.
I let you down. I'm sorry.

One hick town is as good as another.
I packed my cardboard suitcase,
with my make-up and high-heeled shoes
and life script and falsies and fishnet stockings,
walked out of that rented room and climbed on the first Greyhound
heading somewhere, anywhere, no matter where,
to find those other parties and those other days,
where nothing was real and it didn't hurt and nobody cried.