Lesson 14

Australian friends!
I shall be visiting you all in November – prepare your excited faces!
Present your children for hugs upon arrival!
Empty your stomachs ready for sharing all of my favourite junky Aussie goodies!
Ready your laugh-muscles for the epic show that will be…

Yep, that’s right.
I’m doing a show.
A one-woman show.
A self-scripted, somewhat autobiographical piece.
And it’s only happening because…
My Mama is Making Me.
(I’m thinking of making this the sub-heading. Yes? No? What do you think?)

Ruthy’s original suggestion was to do a bit of stand-up.
I’d mentioned to her previously that I have been considering branching into this field.
So the prospect of my first ever set to be around 90 minutes long – her first idea – seemed not only unlikely but INSANE!
Eventually, we negotiated the terms of the agreement before coming to a mutually agreeable arrangement.
I’m not calling it stand up.
But it will, hopefully, be as vaguely amusing as I aim for this blog to be.
It’ll be a public performance of Shul of Tash…
And it’s going to happen IN an actual shul!
Look forward to that…

Meanwhile, this whole episode has given me great material for another lesson!
(Because, let’s face it, my whole life is now fodder for this blog!)

The fact that Ruthy has provided me with an opportunity to present a public performance shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows her or myself.
She is a great promoter.

I started acting professionally as a teenager.
Over half my life ago.
(This is a fact I’m equally as proud of as scared by…)
I am loathed to refer to myself as a “child actor” because I was surrounded by kids at my drama classes who WERE veterans of the profession at the grand old age of 12 or 13.
And I was NOT one of them.
Also, because my parents were NOT stage parents.
They let me do drama classes for practical reasons – it got me out of their hair and gave me an outlet for my boundless energy and show-off ways.
But when I started to plead with the folks for an agent, they were very much not fans of the idea.
Eventually, the condition was put to me that if I was so passionate about this, I would have to do the work to approach potential agencies and arrange the auditions and that if my school grades were to slide, it’d be a career that was over before it had begun.

I signed my first agent straight away.
He was a drama teacher of mine (one of the best I’ve ever had, still.) who also ran an agency, and I remember that when he offered me representation on the spot after my screen test, he had to assure Ruthy that this was not standard protocol.
She did not believe him.
Then I booked my first two auditions.
This luck has not continued unfortunately…
But neither did Ruthy’s anti-stage mother behaviour.
In fact, if anything, as I’ve grown past the age of needing a stage mother, Ruthy has morphed more and more into one!
I think the pinnacle of her promoter levels was at a family funeral when I caught her giving out promo details for an upcoming play of mine – an activity I quickly shut down and reprimanded her for.

The thing about her becoming so pro-“Actor Tash” is that she is aaaaalllllwwwwaaaaaayyyyysssss coming up with ideas or suggestions for me.
For my writing too.
“You could write a play about this!”
“You should talk to this producer about auditions for that!”
And that’s great.
Don’t get me wrong.
Mummykins, this lesson is not an attack.
In fact, if anything, I’ve learnt that her gung-ho support – as well as her critical thinking about things in general – have become so influencial that she is the voice in my head.

And that’s today’s lesson.

Lesson 14

If we want to get back to the religious roots of this blog, there’s this thing called The Ten Commandments.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of it or not…
But basically they’re these rules that were written out a couple of times and now lots of us know them and some of us had to recite them in Hebrew at our Bat Mitzvah and lots of us break the ones about idolatry and honouring our folks…

Honour thy father and mother.

We learnt it in ye olde English and everything, so you know it’s important.
But who remembers to obey this?
Who can say they do this at all times?

Well, Ruthy – and possibly your mothers and fathers too – have found a way to ensure that this happens.
Without you realising they’ve done it.

She has become the voice in my head.
Well, one of the voices.
There are quite a few in there.
In numerous accents.
But hers is a particularly vocal one.
In fact, I think she’s become my conscience.
Probably the good conscience.
Although I’d call her my “pragmatic conscience”.
And I think she’d be happy with that.
I hope she is.
She’ll soon make it clear if she’s not.

When I’m shopping for groceries, she’s there.
“Natasha – do you need that?”
When I’m speaking publicly, she’s there.
“Natasha – stop playing with your hair!”
When I’m getting dressed for an event, she’s there.
“Natasha – are you sure you’re not going to be cold in that?”
She’s always there.
“Can you walk in those shoes?”
“Should you be eating that?”
“Are you saving your money instead of spending it all on holidays?”
You know, good Jewish mama type stuff!

And, what I have realised, is that by having a person, probably any person, but particularly such a formidable one as my midget mother, as the embodiment of my conscience – and vice versa – means that I listen to that voice more than I did before this change occurred.

I don’t remember when she took over, to be honest.
When she took hold of my brain.
And, let’s be clear – it’s not all the time.
She’s not narrating my life.
This isn’t something we need to have me committed for.
But whenever it happened, I know that it was the day that I became more independent.

So I would teach you all to listen to the parent-voice in your head.
Well, I don’t know your parents.
But I’m guessing they’re not the kind to steer you too far wrong.
Or, if they are, listen to them and do the opposite!
Get a human conscience.
They might just scare you into doing a one-woman show you now have five months to create.





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