Tears of a Texas Actor

Back in May I went to see my favorite band from high school. I had waited over thirty years to see them. They were pretty big in the 80s and had a new album that was surprisingly great. The concert was delayed two hours because of a big rain storm that shut down the amphitheater that was mostly exposed to the elements. When it finally started up, enough people had left to give us the opportunity to move up from our lawn seats to the twentieth row. After suffering through the opening band aptly named Garbage, Tears For Fears started their concert.

The band is simply two guys named Curt and Roland. As a kid, all I knew was that their music made me happy. I wore out two cassette tapes and most definitely annoyed my sister singing their songs all the time. But I never thought of the singers aside from their 80s hair and 80s dance moves.

Before the concert, I checked online to see what they had been doing over the years. It was then I realized they were more than their music. Apparently, the band had split up for several years despite trying to get back together a few times to make music. But life decided otherwise. Roland lost his wife after she suffered from alcohol related dementia and cirrhosis, which came about after her menopause led to depression. Obviously, that was not what I was expecting. All those years of fun thoughts, feeling that the two band members were living lives of joy and frolicking through fields of tulips, was dashed like a ship against unseen rocks in a storm. 

Roland lost his wife in 2018. I assume he went through a pretty rough patch after that. His friend Curt was there for him and eventually they came up with new songs together once again. One song called Please Be Happy, written by Roland about his wife, was so intense that he had Curt sing it instead of him.

Last night I auditioned for the TV show Walker for the role of the Mayor of Austin, Texas. I thought it fitting since I am actually a descendant of the Stephen F. Austin family and it would be ironic. But then thinking about all the roles I’ve either played or read for, I came to realize that I, like all actors, are playing roles that most of the time have nothing to do with who we are in reality. We actors have real lives with real struggles. We face joy, loneliness, peace, strife, heartbreak and rebirth. Most of the time, our struggles are internal as we actors love to project an air of seemingly having it all together. But the world sees the actors on screen and believes that must be who they are in real life.  But nothing is further from the truth. While we’re going through hair and makeup, we are fighting our own inner demons trying to portray a role that is not our own.

I’ve more respect for the musicians, for the artists, for the entertainers. And even though it may seem like hubris to some, I have more respect for myself today. Now excuse me while I try to find my old tape collection.


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