There are many ways I could answer this, but have only recently realized it's not just a profession, but a way of life.
Acting is about magic. It's a spiritual art form that allows us to connect with each other in a unique way. We suspend our disbelief and together, identify and experience the human condition. We seek to temporarily live on the fibers of the imagination and not be deemed insane. It's a way of communicating on a higher level. It's a form of worship. It challenges us to reach within ourselves, find the very heart of living, and connect in a way standard communication cannot.
Reaching this magical place is the adventure I seek and the reason I give myself to acting.
It's a communion on the human experience.
Cincinnati: An Acting Oasis
This past summer, I had reached a low in my artistic journey. I was dehydrated and looking for a reason to carry on, but afraid I wouldn’t find one and would just wither away in this desert.
In mid August I traveled to Cincinnati, uninspired, but thankful to be acting again at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. They are an incredibly talented company and Lynn (the Artistic Director) is like a mother to me.
Off of the initial read of ‘Other Desert Cities,’ I wasn’t too excited about the piece, but thankful to be back home. However, after the first week of table work, I was in love!!! Before the process, I made the decision to make bold choices instead of playing it safe. It paid off!!! The show was a huge hit and I was enjoying every moment of working with such a great cast and crew. To my surprise, this performance led to two other jobs in Cincinnati.
At the opening night party, I had the opportunity to speak with Michael Haney from Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park who told me he enjoyed my performance. That’s when I took a chance. I told him that as a child, my parents took me to the Playhouse to watch ‘A Christmas Carol.’ It was at this moment that I fell in love with acting. These performers were illusionists that transcended me to another time, another place. It was magic. After the performance, my parents were kind enough to buy season tickets. I was hooked and my passion for acting sparked. That’s when I addressed my desire to audition ‘Chistmas Carol’ at some point in the future. To my surprise, Michael invited me to audition for Bob Cratchit. Weeks later, after the audition, I was floored when I got the call that I booked the role and would be working at such an amazing place with fantastic actors. My dream of working on this show had come true.
During this same time, Lynn connected me to an indie film being shot locally, ‘The Tribunal’ directed by Marc Leif. After two callbacks I landed the lead role. It was an amazing three weeks of shooting with a great crew in which new friendships were forged.
And all of this came unexpectedly, when I was at a low; thirsty for new inspiration. Cincinnati has become an oasis. Thanks Lynn :)
A Year of Learning
This year, my career got jump-started with treatment from an AED. I went from a state of shock working with Cuba Gooding, Jr in a pilot called ‘Guilty,’ to learning the ropes working for a month in Utah on ‘Gold Fever’ for the Discovery Channel. I feel blessed to have worked with such amazing people and on such wonderful sets. My thought last Spring was, “Are they sure they want me?” This Fall it became, “I’m here. The camera is there. How can I best tell this story?” ......if you know me, you know the questioning will never stop. But my confidence as an artist has risen, and I’m starting to feel like there is a spot in this world for me as a working actor. I’m meant to do this. And I’m thankful for that grounding.
Ryan Wesley Gilreath