I’m a huge proponent of doing as much as you can to help further your acting career. Hell, nobody ever got anything done without a little multi-tasking, right? But what happens when your plate starts to fill up? What once seemed like a manageable balancing act can quickly turn into an avalanche of stress, and the quality of your work can suffer as a result.

I came to the realization yesterday that, with several wonderful new theatrical opportunities on the horizon, I was going to have to re-evaluate my priorities. I love being busy, but my planner was starting to look like it had gotten into a fistfight with a bunch of pens (yes, my planner has fists. Jealous much?). I thought back to my senior year of college, when my involvement in a few too many projects caused a lack of dedication to roles that required much more focus than I could budget. To this day, I wish I had made fewer commitments that year and given myself room to really focus on roles that could easily be deemed “Once-In-A-Lifetime.” So yesterday I took my own advice and spent some time re-evaluating my current engagements.

The first things I looked at were my improv commitments. I am an avid participant in Chicago’s thriving comedy community, but am not looking to be a career improviser. I did not come to Chicago to do improv, though it has been an extremely enjoyable addition to my performance arsenal. I came here to be an actor, in the more traditional sense of the word (if you’ve spent time around improvisers, you’ll know they proudly distinguish themselves from “actors”). I feel like I’m at a point in my career where I’ve got a lot of momentum built up, so it’s time to make a push forward.

In the end, I made the incredibly difficult choice to step away from my Playground Theater Incubator team, Vagabonds. I’ve been absent from most of the team’s recent rehearsals and shows with one conflict or another, and, with my 5B performances at iO coming up, it didn’t look like that was going to change anytime soon. We have had an amazing 8-month run together, and I treasure the friendships I have forged with each of the team’s talented members. They will no doubt continue to put on amazing performances, but my continued absence from rehearsals and shows would be unfair to the team and the coaches. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Playground Theater family, both as an audience member and a performer, and I thank them for letting me be a part of their Incubator program.

I’m starting to sound like a pro athlete’s “official statement” to the press, so I digress.

For better or worse, now my planner looks like it got into a kickboxing match with a bottle of whiteout.

~JVB

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