The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Jeany Van Meltebeke
March 7, 2012

Rosebud Theatre company member, Jeany Van Meltebeke, who plays the hilarious and headstrong Esther in Rosebud's upcoming production, $38,000 For a Friendly Face, shares her thoughts about the show:

I have one of the best jobs in the world. Inside the theatre, I get to be in glowing light and participate in a story called $38,000 For a Friendly Face - a story about women doing their best on a difficult day for a lovable funeral director whoʼs struggling to manage a meaningful service for a woman nobody liked. At the end of rehearsal, I trudge through white snow to my home, about 200 steps away, where I get to share my meals with my husband, and then greet my kids when they get off the bus from school.

Acting is fun. Yes, itʼs just like playing pretend, but more than that--itʼs about stumbling onto truth in various ways. Itʼs about seeing someone opposite you in a new light, and itʼs about allowing yourself to truthfully respond with words that are prescribed. I know that part may sound unnatural to the non-actor, but think of it as learning to drive. After a bit of practice, you no longer think about the mechanics, but simply pay attention and respond instinctively.

One of my favorite moments is watching Kelsey Krogman lead a rebellion against cutting the crusts off sandwiches. Her character Marge has had enough of cutting the ugly out of truth and she is ready to fight for the right to have it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly! Sheʼs so fierce and committed, itʼs a pleasure to behold.

I also get to stand opposite my good friend Nathan Schmidt. Now Nathan often has a twinkle in his eye which can then lead to a smirk, which can then lead to a snigger, and then downright laughter! So early in rehearsal my natural responsive instinct was in conflict with the governor in my head to stay in character while this mirthful man was indulging his delight. I did not last. I too was overcome with an incredible urge to laugh and try as I could, through various tactics of avoidance, scolding, and tossing off the lines... it was hopeless and I experienced a kind of wonderful agony in trying to keep focused on the scene and stay present.

As I glance down at my hands, I see the pink glitter nail polish I have on for my character Esther. In the play Esther has done everything possible to look like spring. Her dress, makeup and nails are all pink, and her hair is carefully and abundantly curled. I smile because I would have never thought take time for this particular indulgence nor ever choose this particular color. But this small layer I take on to my own self helps me have a bit of sympathy for my character. In this way acting can be a very charitable endeavour as it allows me to expand my understanding of what it means to be human and hopefully helps me be more gracious to people unlike me. Even those who may not be so free...

Theatre thrives on conflict. Good stories do not dwell solely on the good, but they respect the beauty of it by earning it through trial, through messy circumstances and failure. And that, as Kelseyʼs character Marge would say, is the whole truth: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Sacred and profane, pink and black, sandwiches with their crusts left on and sandwiches with their crusts cut off - they all have a place because piece by piece, they help me put together a greater picture of life which is broadening the older I get. What more could I wish for?

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Jeany Van Meltebeke