This past summer I performed in a few staged readings, but since my son was born I haven't had the time to commit to a full production. After discussing it with my wife, I went for it.
Once the acting bug bites, the attraction to the stage and screen never truly disappears, even if you're absent from it for any length of time. Four years is just a drop in the bucket, but it felt like forever for me. Going to the open call was like attending my first audition -- I felt nervous, fidgeting like a newbie. I almost forgot to bring my head shot and resume. It was not my finest effort, but at the same time it felt wonderful reading in front of a director again, hoping to be cast. A lot of my old instincts were still there, even if they were a bit rusty (okay, a lot rusty).
I didn't need to prepare a monologue and there wasn't much time to practice with the sides from the script, but I was always comfortable with cold readings and this was a play I was extremely familiar with since it was one of the last shows I did before my hiatus. Still, it had been a long time since I auditioned.
I was lucky that the director called me back the next night and I thought I did better, but I ran out of steam towards the end. I felt like a rundown marathon runner who had tripped and was struggling to return to his feet.
I was not cast, but the experience was still a positive one. Acting helped me come out of my shell as an introverted kid, and even though I now have a full-time day job, a part-time teaching job, a wife and two kids, a blog and other writing projects to keep me more than busy, I still consider myself an actor. The lessons I learned in all the productions I've worked on in the past have carried over into all the other tasks I do now and the interactions I have every day. Acting has given me confidence and made me a better person.
I don't know when my next audition will be, but I can promise you it won't be another four years.