My Tell-Tale Heart
by Lucy Pearce
As I sit down to write this, I think back on the people I have channeled in plays and how if there wasn’t an instant correlation between me and them, there soon became one. So as I prepare for the dramatic reading of The Tell-Tale Heart and Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe for Masters of The Pen at WICA on October 30th I begin to think on this some more. Anyone who knows Tell-Tale Heart will be thinking, “I hope she doesn't have too much in common with that.” For those who don't know it, I wont spoil it for you.
I find myself drawn though to Edgar himself. My eyes pulled like lasers to him enlisting in the army under an assumed name and publishing a collection of poems anonymously. I myself have spent the past three years, in many ways, anonymous. After almost twenty years as an actress I was burnt out, depressed, insecure and then pulled down a seemingly different path. I was convinced that was it for me, I was done with acting. It was a very painful decision but it also felt right. The next three years I followed a new route, often as lost as a GPS on an English country road (as an English person I have compassion for the GPS). My days once filled with learning lines (which to me is really just discovering how they feel) now became full of music. If I wasn't sound-healing for people, I was busy writing music. It was a time of rediscovering a part of me that had been somewhat dormant. I remembered the poet in me, the musician in me and mostly kept it all to myself (my husband and dog had no choice but to hear it). After much self-healing work and moving to South Whidbey Island, a place as chock-full of creative folks as a jar of PNW pickles, I began to feel the pull to share my poetry and music with people. Anyone who knows this beautiful island knows that it is an incredibly supportive space, rooting for each individuals self-expression a daily pastime, with a shot of espresso for fuel of course.
Then this year my heart suddenly decided to partake in the WICA general auditions. I say my heart decided as my mind was busy saying, “erm, yo, you said you’d given up acting” (yes my mind is an Eminem wannabe). So I followed my heart….yep I’m rolling my eyes at that overused term myself, but hey, ho, thats how it was. Just like that I find myself in the role of the Steward in Into The Woods and now here I am readying for this evening with Edgar (eek, what would an evening with Edgar really be like?).
I guess my heart knew me much better than my mind did because I am over the moon to be back acting, I have come back into it with many of the same insecurities and impostor syndrome fears as before but these past few years have prepared me to be able to face these insecurities, to slowly peel away the layers of that burning onion. Whereas before I was consumed by them I now feel in a place to take a cold hard look at it all and work with them to replace them with a more empowered space. I am so happy that my journey back into channeling these people of the plays has begun at WICA, I have never felt more supported, respected and embraced than I have here. Working with Gwen Jones (director of Masters of the Pen) is quite honestly a dream. Her first words, “I have only expectations of greatness”. That wording so profoundly different to saying I expect greatness. As many actors do, I thrive in a more collaborative environment with directors and Gwen’s middle name is collaboration (no, not literally). The endlessly generous actor Ethan Berkley will be reading on the night also.
I have been asked what the difference is between a dramatic reading and a regular acting role? The Merriam-Webster description is this: a public reading or recitation of a work of literature (as a poem or play) with an interpretative or dramatic use of the voice and often of gestures. For me though, the only difference is I have the material in front of me in case I am not sure what comes next. Otherwise it’s the same, I am channeling a person that the writer channeled. Our interpretations may be different but our goals may well be the same, to be truthful, to share deeply, to connect profoundly and to forge through the flames of fear.
I hope that Poe is there on the night (if anyone is going to be a ghost, it’s gonna be him), I hope he enjoys it and mostly I hope he enjoys our dance. Our tango together out of anonymity into sharing our authentic divine lights with the world, offering up our Tell-Tale Hearts.
Lucy Pearce is an Actress, Singer/Songwriter and Poet who lives on Whidbey Island with her husband Sean and pup Billy. When not working creatively she enjoys growing food, walks in the woods and watching way too much TV and film.