Kellie Cooper and Ezra.

Kellie Cooper and Ezra.

The closing day of any show brings feelings of relief, sadness, accomplishment, and gratefulness. Relief that we pulled it together and had a production that we are proud of. Sadness because the family bond that was created will no longer be that day-to-day unit. Accomplishment for the fact that a role was realized and brought to life. Gratefulness because I was given the opportunity to step on that stage and do what I love to do. Performing in Venus in Fur brought all that.

As I stood backstage waiting for my final entrance, I felt a sense of calm flow through me. I would have loved to continue playing Vanda for weeks on end…however, this was it. My Vanda was about to take to the stage for the last time and I was going to do her all the justice that she so deserved. While the emotions between Chris and me got the better of us in some moments, the final performance was a success. Tears, laughs, and words of praise were shared by everyone that was a part of this production.

My dear friend who had years ago introduced me to Venus in Fur sat in the audience for my last performance. I was warmed by her laughter and touched by her support. We had come full circle: from watching the play together and discussing what an amazing part this would be to play to her cheering me on as I concluded the role of my dreams. From my dear friends, family, and audience members I didn’t know, the amount of support that was given to me in this production was awe inspiring. As I had suspected, this play brought the people out.

As an actor, I am always looking for roles that will expand my thinking, challenge my abilities, and help me become more versatile…playing Vanda checked off all those boxes. I realized that while comedy is my go-to choice, the serious moments in Venus in Fur were my favorite moments; they challenged my abilities and allowed me to become a more versatile actor.

Last week, I started to audition for the fall theater season. You cannot waste any time as an actor; when one show closes you have the hope that another production will be right around the corner. It crosses my mind how crazy the life of an actor can be: constantly looking for work, tirelessly working on your resume, trying to find the perfect audition piece, and hopefully trekking out to auditions.  I am hopeful that a new opportunity is just around the corner.

Being a part of the beginning of the revitalization of Centre Theatre was inspirational. The production companies have a vivid love for Norristown and want it—and are willing it—to thrive. Starting from the ground up is never easy, however these amazing people have a dream. I know it sounds cliché, but I also had a dream and I know that if you work hard enough you can make that dream come true. B-sharp and Starving Artist Prevention have the dream and the ideas, the teams, and the drive to make Centre Theatre a success. When Centre Theatre becomes a staple in Norristown I will know that I was there in its infancy and I will treasure that moment.

I have taken some of the play home with me. The dog collar, leather skirt, the fur...just kidding! I took the passion that Thomas has for his play when he says, “no one ever gets it right...” This desire for perfection surrounds me in my daily life. I learned from these characters that perfection is not reality and that there is beauty in the imperfections. These two characters stand strong in their convictions throughout the play; not always visibly, but internally their purpose never wavers. I want to have Vanda's depth of feeling, her great knowledge, her clarity of thought, these are all words that Vanda says about Kushemski in his play. They are true to herself as well. On a lighter note, one of my favorite lines in the show is when she is trying to guess about Stacy, “She has a dog...named something traditional, something manly, something Old Testament. Seth, Ezra!” I loved how ridiculous this moment was and I have recently adopted two new kittens one whom I named EZRA. Every time I call his name I have to laugh.

In closing, this process has been incredible. The support from not only the audience members, but also the readers of this blog, my family and friends, and the production staff themselves has been nothing short of amazing. I want to thank everyone for taking this journey with me. I am forever grateful to have been able to document my Becoming Venus.

"Ze proof, as they say, is in ze pudding. Auf Wiedersehen, mein Freund. I’ll be back."