I have historically and notoriously bitten off more than I can chew; made mountains out of molehills.
So why would this project be any different?
It started out as “My friends are doing things to mark milestones. I am turning 40. I might as well do something to mark this arbitrary number in my human existence.”
I had been endurance training and doing triathlons for 3 years now and so something in that vein seemed appropriate. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to get in a full Ironman before I turned 40, and the thought of doing all that running training made my joints ache.
Then in my typical Sarah-style I chastised myself for not doing what a “normal” actor would do to promote and endorse their career: a YouTube campaign of Shakespeare monologues posted once a week all over social media.
But apparently researching, finding, cutting, memorizing, recording, and editing 40 monologues from the Bard didn’t have nearly the draw as swimming 40 miles in jellyfish and shark infested waters (again, typical Sarah), so open water swimming won out. (You’ll just have to wait until next year for my 40 Shakespeare monologues in 40 minutes!)
SIDE NOTE: It has been difficult to see or experience the rewards of my labors when it comes to my acting career. I have two degrees and over 15 years of training and experience under my belt and I still can’t get hired to play 3rd spear carrier from the left let alone get cast in projects whose mission is what I have dedicated my entire professional career to. On the flip side, the rewards of triathlon training were felt immediately, and even a 1280th place finish was so satisfying. There was a direct correlation between effort inputted to benefit gained. That kind of tangible success was very appealing, seductive, and addictive after over half a lifetime of hard work, time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears being poured into the black hole abyss of the entertainment industry with “lose weight and dye your hair” the only thing to show for it. So no wonder I have slowly stopped going to auditions, and every year I add another endurance event to my roster.
SO anyway…back to open water swimming…
If you do not know me, my desire to swim in places where people really should not be swimming might seem a little odd, so I will preface all this with: I have been swimming my entire life. My parents claim I swam before I walked (I think they might now be using this year as proof of that claim). I competed on swim teams up until undergrad. I have been teaching swimming since I was 14. Swimming has just always seemed to come naturally to me. I joke that I am way more comfortable in the water than I am on land. So doing a crap ton of swimming to celebrate my 40th birthday just seemed like a really good idea.
But of course I couldn’t stop there!
Merely swimming 40 miles just didn’t seem like enough. I had to have a reason for swimming 40 miles.
Enter Bank of America pulling their funding for The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar.
I was livid, crushed, horrified, mortified, devastated, and feeling completely, utterly hopeless and helpless.
I don’t think people understand how important this is to me; Shakespeare as a tool to change the world.
So I’m Swimming for Shakespeare. And I’m doing it to tell the world about the amazing companies, like Shakespeare Behind Bars, that are changing their communities and making them better for the people living there.
If my art won’t change the world maybe my swimming will!
I have come to realize if I don’t have a huge over blown project that’s sucking every waking moment of my brain power on a quest to right all the righteously indignant wrongs I feel being perpetuated on this earth then I have no reason to wake up in the morning. I’m okay with that. It’s typical Sarah.
And I just happen to be turning 40.