Life 2.0: The Leap From Sanity
Have you ever tried to get into the character of a retired athlete, married to the most beautiful lady in town, but who is filled with anger and self despise for being secretly gay, haunted by guilt and depression for his best friend’s (and lover’s) suicide, as well as hate against his wife who constantly tries to seduce him into giving her an inheritor of the family’s money – though she is the only one who knows he can no longer perform with a woman?
Oh, and by the way, he is injured from jumping hurdles while drunk – and to escape both the physical and mental pain, he keeps constantly drinking.
Well, that’s the neat character I was assigned to perform at our showcase at the Victory Theatre in LA last week. As my teacher described it as no less than «maybe the most complex character ever written in the history of plays», I felt like I was in a bit over my head.
I hinted repeatedly during the first few weeks that maybe I should go for something less record breaking – but for some reason he insisted that my scene partner and I should do this.
As the final day came up, not only was I supposed to perform one of the most difficult scenes in the history of theatre – I was supposed to do it shirtless, with only a towel around my waist. The scene happens as my character comes out of the shower, and it is supposed to be a highly sensual situation. As in the words of my teacher; «The more sexual the scene is, the better.»
As a gymnast, I have been half naked in front of judges and audiences my whole life – so for me, the concern was really more about the audience. But I have not come to LA to hold back, so with my teacher’s word in mind, I thought; «screw it, lets do it». And that’s the story of how Petter Egge became morally dubious as early in his career as on the first theatre performance.
The naked truth, anyway, is that the showcase was a big success for our whole class, and I have my wonderful scene partner to thank for it. She was the one planning rehearsals, booking rooms and times, when I still had no sense of time and place due to insomnia and work overload.
As nervous as I was, shaking so I almost couldn’t hold my whiskey glass, I still enjoyed every second of it. Honestly, it is not about being the center of attention. But by knowing that the audience is watching, we have the privilege of telling them something – and hopefully have a slight impact on their lives that very evening.
Maybe I’m getting too much into character – but through these last seven weeks, and even more after, I sometimes wonder if I’m literally going just a tad insane. Working seriously on becoming somebody else can, in fact, be scary.
I’ve heard famous actors say it before, but I guess I never understood how much of a transition it really is; it might be cliché – but it is a journey. And who says you will be the same on the other side? At least I know I crave whiskey a little too often these days, and I don’t like it.
It sure is a different type of work, but no less is this acting thing as much of a strain as my former regular 8-4 job. In that sense, I must say the semester break is coming up as a saving angel – just before I loose my mind in this game.
Two more weeks of final exams, and there will be ten days of freedom. Meanwhile, I’ll have to keep trusting work outs and nature as my medicine to keep sane.
Life 2.0 is one of Khrono’s blogs, and will be presented with new blogposts every week. Petter Egge is a former student from HiOA and journalist at Khrono.no. He has decided to do something quite different. This is his stories.
May 8th 2014:
Chronicle #15: The Escape
This week I thought I was up for an easy ride. Not many film projects in sight, and a long–awaited trip to my favorite city San Francisco – where I left my soul when leaving UC Berkeley two years ago.
April 29th 2014:
Chronicle #14: The Aftermath
No journalists called me this week, and my phone has slowly managed to find peace; now it is only buzzing about twice as much as before Ellen (yes, there will forever be a «before» and «after Ellen» now). The number of followers on Instagram has eventually stabilized, and though my twitter profile is more busy with visitors and followers than ever before, the threat of an explosion seems to cease.
April 23th 2014:
Chronicle #13: The Tribute
Out of his good heart Petter helped a person on the street, and suddenly life turned around for a couple of days. When this week started, I was at the bottom of a deep valley, weighed down under a number of concerns. The ones about my economy had already bothered me for months, as frequent readers would already know, but now my worries included another area of much bigger importance.
April 16th 2014:
Chronicle #12: When words do not suffice
There are times, even for a writer
when written words become empty signs
Times when a writer don’t want to write
cause there’s too much between the lines
April 9th 2014:
Chronicle #11: «The School of Life»
Life is a funny little thing. It is for sure a trembling rollercoaster, but also a splash of water in your face and missing ground under your feet. It has its ways – mysterious, inscrutable – of surprising me, not just when I thought I had it all together, but even more often when I’m already out of balance.
April 2th 2014:
Chronicle #10: «The Decennium»
From waking up scared of an earthquake, to not take notice at all. So: I’m happy to announce that I might already be a real Californian.
Mars 25th 2014:
Chronicle #9: «The Wake Up Call»
They say you’re not a real Californian until you no longer notice the earthquakes. This week started with something of a wake up call. As mentioned in previous posts, sleep is quite limited for me over here due to lack of time. That one night when I finally managed to enter deeply into those psychedelic lands of dreams at the right time, with no alarm set for the next morning – THE EARTH decided to shake me out of bed at 6:25 AM with a 4.4 magnitude earthquake.
Mars 18th 2014:
Chronicle #8: «So You Think You Can Act»
Do you know how to walk? No, you don’t. Can you sit, crawl, or lie down? No, you can’t. You can’t even lift your arm up in front of you. I know you can’t believe it – neither could I. But every day here, I am proven wrong.
Mars 11th 2014:
Chronicle #7: «The walk of Shame»
Ever had the feeling that your duties seem to pass by like a super fast train and you just can’t catch up with it for the life of you?
Mars 4th 2014:
Chronicle #6: «Teaser»
I was a journalist, a gymnast and a musician. I had everything I needed – except what I wanted. Thats why I decided to quit my job, say goodbye to my friends and family, and leave for acting school in Hollywood. The Video presented in this blog is a small taste of what life has been like the first few weeks.
Feb. 25th 2014:
Chronicle #5: «In a cold sweat»
For a guy who has lived all his life by the rules and routines of a gymnastics regime, there is no doubt that life here is a tad more divergent. Having nothing to do at one moment is just as shockingly unfamiliar as it is to run from a film shoot to my roommates’ baptism in the next. At any point earlier in my life, the degree of variation stretched from sleeping, through eating and practice, to toilet visits, school and back to sleep. The circle of life has definitely taken a new shape.
Feb. 18th 2014:
Chronicle #4: «The Proposal and the Valentine’s»
Real life, as we will know it the next eight months (though dreamy it may still seem to me), is about to blossom. As the hassle of settling down slowly dies out, challenges of school is coming to life, growing over the heads of its students.
Feb. 11th 2014:
Chronicle #3: «Life’s a like a box of chocolate»
As we still can’t seem to get friendly with our apartment (at least our rent), it took my roommate and me no more than three days to decide to move out again. Already stretching our comfort zone with one bedroom, we are now downgrading to NO bedroom.
Feb. 8th 2014:
Chronicle #2: Move-in Day and monologues
When gas, water, power and insurance companies got back in to business on Monday morning, Murphy’s law did the same; what could go wrong – well, you know. For the landlord to let us move in, they needed confirmation letters faxed from all of the above – which should be no problem, since we asked them all to do so when opening our new accounts. After half a day of waiting by an empty fax machine, we dared to call them back with a friendly reminder – only to discover that they’d forgotten all about us. When they eventually faxed it, only one name was on the paper – and we’d really prefer that both of us could move in.
Feb. 5th 2014:
Chronicle #1: «I need a dollar, dollar is what I need»
Ok, just to make it clear right away: I am NOT a blogger. Since the dawn of the blogosphere, my prejudices have kept me far away from its kind. But as we all know, the first unwritten rule of a struggling actor in Hollywood is that «Everyone must accept some kind of prostitution in order to survive up until the big breakthrough.» So, I could have fulfilled the stereotype of waiting tables between my auditions, or I could do a «Sylvester Stallone» – but instead I am now spreading trivialities about my still-to-be famous self. Oh, the irony.