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  • alicekjohnson

My Bi-coastal Dreams Are Coming True!

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

Just over a year ago I had the most obvious "revelation". I'm from Seattle, have been living in New York for over a decade, and have always assumed I'd end up moving back home. I've spent years saying "I'm not ready to leave New York yet, but maybe in a few years". Years of my life feeling torn between two places I love very much. Years of feeling homesick and uncertain. Finally, in the spring of last year, I thought, "why have I never just tried to be bi-coastal? Why don't I just continue to be based in New York and aim to do one or two shows a year in Seattle?" I felt an immediate sense of relief at the thought. A month or two out of every year spent in Seattle, seeing family and friends, while working on a project. This plan would give me time with loved ones and time with the most beautiful city I know. It would allow me to try out living in Seattle on a small scale, see if I actually even like it anymore after so much time in NYC. It could show me that I was ready to move back home and continue a career there, or that I'd changed to fit New York and didn't need to leave. But no matter what, I'd at least be getting time in both places and it was sure to bring me clarity.

I posted on Facebook, asking friends to set me up with anyone they knew in the Seattle theater scene, and I took as many people out for coffee as I could. I learned that Seattle actors and playwrights, directors and casting directors are kind people, generous with their time. I heard the names of the same theater companies over and over, made mental note of who was doing cool work, who pays their actors, who's doing awesome all-female productions. I reached out to a director friend I hadn't seen in years, and found that since moving to Seattle, he'd decided to start his own theater company. I joined the board of that company and almost immediately found myself acting in their productions.

Then this Spring, a year after setting this crazy, obvious, wonderful goal, I flew home to participate in the city-wide Seattle General Auditions. I'd called in favors and had talented NY friends coach me on my monologues. I'd researched feedback from auditors of previous year's auditions, chosen work I was excited about and fine-tuned it down to the last detail. Then I walked out onto a stage and auditioned in front of 40 Seattle theater companies in 2 minutes. Within a few days, a director emailed me offering me a part in his upcoming production. And so a goal was accomplished. A milestone reached. But that is another post..

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