The Portrait of a Hat Juggler
An interview with Kimberly Faye Greenberg, who shares the secrets of a multi-tasking life.
How do you solve a problem like… juggling too much stuff all at once? For some it's a draining chore; for others an enjoyable rush…many a times it's a lifestyle we sign ourselves up for. Personally? I love it! Monotone clogs my creativity, whereas multi-tasking keeps me stimulated. What can I say? This is the age of multi-dimension. At any given moment, we're running several apps simultaneously. That's' right. Just like that little gadget you're clutching in your hand.
Everyone involved in the theater industry leads a life of many hats. I'd show you a formula, or a spell to turn multi-tasking into a piece of cake once and for all, yet there is none, and I'm in no position to educate, so let's turn to someone with more credibility and experience. Some background: Kimberly Faye Greenberg is the first and only actress to star in two leading roles in two off Broadway musicals simultaneously (One Night with Fanny Brice; Danny & Sylvia). She's a wardrobe dresser, and the creator/producer of Broadwayblogspot.com, a theatrical resource website for people who want to work on/off-stage on Broadway and beyond.
She recently took the time to answer a few of my questions via e-mail, so let me give her the floor!
On a multi-faceted career and performing two leads
"On a typical day I could be going to an audition, doing a matinee, dressing a show at night, then spending my free time working on Broadwayblogspot and running errands. I've always been one who could never sit still. Multi-tasking is embedded into my DNA and I get more stuff done when I'm busy. Doing two lead roles at once presented a great challenge because I needed to keep my energy up and didn't have much time to switch between characters. Sufficient sleep, exercise, and proper food helped. I also created specific and unique physicalities for the two roles that would kick my brain into gear so I could switch fast and easily.
"It grew out of the fact that people were just as interested in my job as a wardrobe dresser as they were in my acting. I thought this would be a good way to show what goes on behind-the-scenes. Some great friends showed interest in it as well so we gathered and combined our talents/ideas for this educational site.
On self-monitoring and self-rewarding
"For each show, I keep a scrapbook with playbills, reviews, photos, cards received, etc. It's a tangible way to keep track of my goals and past experiences. When things get rough, I pull them out and look through them; they always pump me up. To keep track of my multitasking life, I write down all my commitments on a calendar or in a day planner. Also, I reward myself for auditions well done or other accomplishments: a small piece of chocolate, a slurpee from 7-11, a movie, etc.
On young pursuers of theater careers
"If you are passionate about it and can't think of anything else you'd rather do, go for it. Expose yourself to as many aspects of theater as possible; find your niche and strength either onstage or behind the scene. Look for a school that has graduated a lot of working actors or stage folks. Expose yourself to the market. If you want to be an actor, learn not only how to perform, but also how to audition. Know your "type" and get familiar with the business. It's as important as techniques. Make connections. Keep going when rejected. Never be afraid of risks, and always welcome criticism and feedback because they make you better. Multitasking is what this business is all about. The more pots you have your hands in, the more opportunities you have. However, a "doer of many and a master of none" is not good either. So, know your limits, set your goals, and work towards them. Do a little something everyday and soon you'll see the hard work pay off.
Kim's dream roles include Fantine in Les Miserables, Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly, Mama Rose in Gypsy and Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, a character she previously portrayed in One Night and Ghostlight (NYMF 2011). I'll expand the topic of reprising roles in another post and share with you Kim's insights then.