Posted by: Suzan | January 13, 2010

Show up and Risk Having Your Dream

“80% of life is just showing up,” says Woody Allen. I believe if we live by this principle, all we risk is having our dreams come true.

As a little girl I performed every television show I watched afterward. In sixth grade I wrote to many production studios, enclosing my latest school photo with shiny braces and straight, stringy hair, asking them what I could do to become an actress.

Walt Disney Productions wrote back, and I rushed to hand the letter to my Mom. She smiled, gave it back to me, and walked away. We lived in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, and there weren’t any acting venues described in the letter nearby. I’m sure my Mom could have sacrificed so I could live my dream. All I know is my stay at home Mom preferred to stay at home.

Fast forward to age 50. For so many years my dream has tugged at me like a small child needing solace. I found many outlets like speaking, training and facilitating programs, which I do greatly enjoy, yet I never ventured into the ‘acting world.’

When I turned 50 I decided I’d say YES to life – to overcoming fears; to stepping into new adventures; to fully living the life I am in. So in that vein, I recently ‘showed up’ at an audition for one of San Diego’s community theaters, Looking Glass Theater for the musical, Honk. I also enrolled in an acting class at a local university, UCSD.

I didn’t expect to get a part in the play. I thought it would be a great experience to learn what an audition entailed. I’m not a singer so I decided to go with, “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” – albeit my own jazzy version which featured snazzy dance moves. Next they handed me a script and asked me to turn to a certain page and read the lines of an ‘obnoxious reporter.’ Although I’m at the stage ‘of not knowing what I don’t know’ as an actress, something boomed from my voice, and I’m not even sure where it came from. It sure did sound like an intolerable reporter.

The director had mentioned she’d call the ones who were ‘in’ on Monday. By 4:45 p.m. I hadn’t heard anything so I let the whole idea go. ‘At least I did it,’ I thought.

Fifteen minutes later I received a call from the director offering me the part of Jay Bird, the obnoxious reporter. At the first rehearsal, I felt such a deep sense of belonging, like I had found my tribe. My childhood dream came to life because I decided to ‘show up’- without any prior acting experience.

Which dream calls to you? If you are willing to ‘show up’ for it – you may just risk having it!


  1. Hi Suzan, I just discovered your blog. One of your older posts showed up at the end of my most recent recent post – automatically generated by wordpress! I love that. Your energy really comes through on your blog, and I just wanted to say congratulations on getting the part. I have a background in theatre, and when you talk about that first rehearsal – the sense of belonging and finding your tribe – it brought back such a rush of feeling to me. So glad I discovered your site.


    • Thank you Patty. I’m glad this piece touched you and brought you back to earlier theatre days. It is all new for me – and I guess I’m in the phase of not knowing what I don’t know…..I’m appreciating what goes into a theatre production so much more (esp with 50 more rehearsals ahead of me…). What a community to be a part of though – makes it all worthwhile. I’m thrilled you found my blog site – and I look forward to checking out yours.



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