Monday, July 23, 2007

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight


Now that I've had a few days to reflect, I've come to a few conclusions. I've been dealing with the possibility of not getting to Moscow ever since October, when they first started to take this opportunity away from me. I remember thinking how horrible it would be, to have planned and prepared for so long, only to have it turn out--well, exactly as it did. I worked hard and sacrificed much just for the possibility. Often people asked me if I was certain it was a sure thing, and I suppose I never really was. But I had faith, and that faith was what kept me going no matter how many bullshit hurdles they threw in my path.

And I can say with pride that I gave Moscow my best shot--I didn't ever give up, as often as it crossed my mind. Even though I didn't make it, I gave all my effort and took the chance they offered to prove my ability. I'm proud of myself for seeing this thing through to the end. I never decided not to go. They told me I couldn't in spite of how hard I tried (and in spite of how well I performed, so I'm told), and that distinction gives me a good measure of self-respect.

Sure I feel screwed over--the response I got from the school spelled out the fact that this really was just a pipe dream from the beginning--but I wasn't blindsided by the outcome. For months, I was forced to consider what would happen if I didn't go for some reason. Finally hearing the news last week was like hearing that a sick friend finally died. Now I can move on with my life.

I spent the last few months toying with ideas of what I would do if I didn't get to go: sell my stuff, which I was going to do anyway; move to Chicago with Heather and try to make a living as an actor in a real theatre town; sell my truck and get a motorcycle; live in a Blue Man town; audition for an American grad school again, and ask which language they want to hear my monologue in; see how much credit card debt I could clear out; get a new, cool cell phone this December when I get eligible for my rebate; keep rock climbing; see how high the TKD belt ladder I could climb. As the time to leave approached, all I could think about was how many of these things I wouldn't be able to do for three years while in another country. It made me more than a little sad, to be honest, but now I get to do them.

So now Heather and I just need to find an apartment in Chi-Town big enough for the two of us and our cats, and close enough to the train for convenience; then I find a job that allows for a flexible schedule. My last day at MTM is Monday, August 13th (I think), and we head to points North a week later.

Suitable farewell parties shall be held in the interim.

Stay posted.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

News About Moscow

Okay, Chicago it is.

I guess I can kinda speak Russian now.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Anatoly S
To: Mark Lancaster
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 4:02:54 PM
Subject: Re: Audition

Dear Mark,

I just got Igor (he is on vocation). Despite the good audition he is not
ready to take you aboard of the School. The reason - his team is shaped he
is afraid of taking you now. He is talking about ART program that would be
probably better for you under given circumstances. The tuition now is 6000
euro a year (this is more then $8000) and on the top of it Dorm...

So I am sorry to bring that kind of news to you but I have to do it.

If you have any questions call me!

All my best,


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Say, Friend, Can You Spare a Dime?

Dollars, actually, lots of 'em. Or euros. I'll take rubles, pesetas, pesos, yen, lire, rupees or francs. I'm taking whatever you're givin', 'cause I got no other choice.

The trip to Bahston was wonderful. My audition was the second day in town, which meant I got it out of the way fairly early. I re-connected with a friend from college, saw Blue Man Group yet again, and spent time in the place that began to change my life two years ago.

The audition went as well as I'd hoped; I performed, if not to the best of my ability, at least as well as I wanted too. I got a "positive reaction", so now the dean calls up my teacher and asks for final permission for me to go, which looks pretty likely—in the meantime, I try to scrape up the cash.

I hate it. All my life, money didn't really matter. Of course it was important, but failing to have money never kept me from anything really I really needed, or wanted as badly as I want this. Now that it looks like it's within reach I don't have the funds necessary to go, nor do I know how to find them.

Student loans are not currently possible, because no financial institution I've looked into will give a student loan for my school. There's a paperwork process they (the school) have been working on from their end for a while now, but the red-tape business is a booming one. I certainly don't have the money saved—in fact, I have quite a substantial debt. All I can think to do is get a loan that will not only consolidate my current credit card debt, but will pay for the first year of school AND not have to pay that loan back for the three years I'll be spending getting my degree.

Frankly, I just don't think that's likely.

So what does this mean? Am I going to Russia? I don't see how. And it kills me. I've wanted this so badly for so long, and it kills me to know that all that's keeping me from it is money. So if anyone out there has any suggestions—or knows a sugar momma—or sees some spare change lying on the ground—tell me. I'll take it. Every little bit helps.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Coming Together

First—my tattoo isn't finished yet, but I got some black shading done. It's really coming together, and I love it. Pictures to be posted soon.

Second, I love the rain. Even the excessive amount of rain we've been getting for the last month or so is wonderful. The drought is over, the reservoirs are bursting, and no one is literally dying from the heat. I'd honestly rather be wet than hot—it's easier to dry off than to cool off. And I'm going to hate when the rain finally DOES stop, because Texas heat plus a month's worth of saturated ground equals a humidity that will probably make me want to crawl into a hole and die.

I had my last Russian lesson before I leave for Boston today. I leave Monday morning, audition either Tuesday or Wednesday, and come home Thursday. Again, I feel just fine with the monologues I picked; my biggest concern is how to get the money together, which I don't have long to figure out.

One way or another, a week from today, I'll know whether or not I'm accepted. A week after that, and I expect to know whether or not I'll be able to pay for it, and therefore able to go.

My hands are starting to shake.