In a month, I will give birth. Not that kinda baby though. Haha. More like the creative baby I've been carrying around for the past two years. I've been writing a solo show called THE WORLD'S GREATEST since January 2014. The story is about a badass Chinatown chick and her relationship with friends and family, and her journey in making it out of a failing NYC public high school. It sounds so serious, but it's a comedy. Haha.. Or at least the way it's written and the performance leans towards comedy. When the world is somewhat falling apart around you, comedy is the best medicine, yeah?
So the show's idea started in 2011. I just graduated from Smith College and had zero plans lined up. I was at home, on the couch, staring at the LSATs Kaplan books, but not really wanting to open it up. Aka no desire to study for that test. I don't know what came over me, but I wrote a monologue about a girl being accused of cheating on a test. She believes she's been wronged, but other kids in the class got no power to back her up and the teacher is already dead set on getting her suspended. It's like a childhood flashback but the intensity increased ten folds. Hahaha.. I started writing more and more, developing this crazy character. And then real life hit. I have to look for a job that pays. I can't be sitting around anymore. I stopped writing.
Landed a job with the government and I just felt a stronger desire to be elsewhere, doing something creative like acting and writing. Man. I walked to work for 30 minutes everyday and reflected. Far East Movement came out with their first big record album and Jeremy Lin came outta nowhere. I was like what? But then I found out they worked for years to get to where they are now. I was like if these kids can do it, I can do it too. And besides, life is too short. Gotta take chances while you're young. Just fuckin do it. So I did. I quit the job and never looked back.
But damn. It was hard. I studied acting for 1.5 years, and then some more, so in total 3 years. In between, I worked at admin jobs, did translation jobs, and hustled jobs here and there.
I look through castings everyday on Backstage and Actors Access. Backstage has some of the weirdest and most stereotypical shit, and Actors Access has an algorithm where if you have a reel, you're on top of the list, but if you don't, you're at the bottom pile. I don't have a reel. I paid to meet agents and casting directors for a few months, which went nowhere. I'm like fuckkk.
Then I saw the solo show class being offered by my acting teacher, Seth Barrish. In that class, you can write your own materials and workshop it. It was my chance to write a story that makes sense to the world I came from. It's also a chance for me to showcase myself. I wrote and wrote. Then I hit a wall. Then I worked on a short film, and I stopped writing the solo show.
Then life happened and I had to work another 9 month gig to support myself. I worked on the solo show on the side and submitted it to the 2015 NY Fringe Festival and got rejected. I was so devastated. After that, I was like, I gotta get my shit together and work on it some more. I can't give up.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that: you have to motivate yourself. You cannot sit around and wait for someone to okay your work. You have to give yourself permission.
After wondering if I should just do this or not, I decided to self-produce two previews in May and I invited people whom I thought would appreciate it. Or to put it more simply, who would I want to come and see the show if I were to die right after the second preview. It was a crazy process where I hired a photographer, designer, and a director to put tangibles together. I took a leap of faith and asked (more like stalked) MC Jin if he's willing to direct it. And he said yes! I freaked the fuck out. He's a legend and I've been following his work since high school. After he said yes, I was thinking: am I dreaming right now? Can someone punch me in the face, so that I know I'm not dreaming? (ok, don't punch my face. I don't know how to fight)
The next phase came to actually inviting and asking people over and over to come (snail mail, email, texting, the whole shebang). I was so stressed out throughout this whole invite period and process, but I'm thrilled to announce both shows are sold out (only holding two tickets for the first night. Both tickets are on hold for two important people I really want to come and see the show).
I think all in all, this whole show brought out everything I've been wanting to do with an acting career. I finally get to play someone I'm proud and excited about. It also brought out a lot of insecurities I have about myself as a writer and performer.
I applied for the NY International Fringe Festival again with a new draft in January 2016--but what if I get rejected again? But now, at this moment, I have this I don't care about rejection anymore attitude. If I don't get in Fringe, I will still self-produce the crap out of this show. I just want to share this story with the world.
I'm ready. Are you?