Saturday, October 2, 2010

Show People

Disorganized. Messy. Slapdash. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Arduous. Sensational. Funny. Memorable. Joyous. Nostalgic. Sad. All of these adjectives come to mind when I reflect on the past few weeks. They have passed by in a whirlwind. A disorganized, messy, slapdash, exhausting, exhilarating, arduous, sensational, funny, memorable, joyous, nostalgic, sad whirlwind. Now that the winds have died, the debris has landed and the dust has settled, I want to write about it. I won't write about everything, but I will write what I don't mind being read.

The most consuming activity of the past several weeks was Curtains, the musical comedy whodunit. Seriously. This play ate two months of my life. I'm mostly okay with that, but there will be no more plays for quite awhile. I had the privilege and delight of bringing the character of Nikki Harris to life. Nikki is about as airheaded as they come, but somehow manages to make dumb and kind of annoying come across as charm. I don't know how she does it. Maybe it's the red hair.When I auditioned for this show, I was sure I had the Lord's blessing. When I was cast as a principle, I was exultant. I loved the story. I loved the music. I loved the character. But the price I paid to perform this show was extremely high. If I had been handed a slip of paper that detailed all that would befall me throughout the rehearsal process and the performances, I would have thrown it back, and asked, "Are you kidding me?" I am quite sure that I wouldn't have done the show. I am also quite sure that I'm glad I was handed no such slip of paper.

Had I been, it would have read something like this:

Blood. Yes, literally. (However, the spilling of my own blood probably had less to do with the show and more to do with my mishap magnetism, dismal depth perception and general lack of respect for very solid set pieces.)
Sweat. (Dude. The choreography was intense. If I never have to high kick again, it may be too soon.)
Tears.
Time away from husband and son. (Lots of time away from them.)
Pain.
Uncomfortable conversations.
Hurt feelings.
Betrayal. (Not mine and not my fault, but I was still a participant.)
An array of miscellany. (The boring, the mundane and the too private to talk about on a public blog.)

I don't really want to delve into this list because the point of this post isn't how bad things were while being involved with this show. It's really about why, in light of all of that happened, I'm still glad I did the show.

Easily, the number one reason I'm glad I did this show is because I caught a glimpse of my own frailty. Odd reason, I know. However, anytime a Christian has to face their frailty, it causes them to seek strength from the Lord. For weeks, I was absolutely at the end of myself, and I am quite sure that if I hadn't had supernatural help, I wouldn't have made it. I immersed myself in God's word and prayer. I listened to sermons and worship music during the car rides to and from rehearsal. I got a taste of what it is to walk in the Spirit, and that is a very, very good thing. Regrettably, I did not keep it up as I should have. There was a moment when I subconsciously decided that things had improved enough that I could handle them on my own. Why am I so stupid? Why can't I learn? But for a few weeks there, I experienced the Lord in a way that I had not before. And you know what? I'll never be satisfied with a mediocre walk with the Lord again because I know what it can be.

The second reason I'm glad I did this show is because I was able to spend so much time with some dear and dearly missed friends from my college days. I was also able to make new ones! Elizabeth, it was so good to work with you again. You keep impressing me with your growing talents. Madonna, we are sisters from different misters. I love you so much . . . even though something ridiculous happens almost every time we are together. I am so happy that we got one more show together.The third reason I'm so happy I did this show is because I had the opportunity to work with a truly great choreographer. Greg Baccarini is one of the best teachers I've ever had because he taught me to do things I've always wanted to be able to do and never thought I would learn. The choreography was hard for everyone, but I managed to do it--believably. He taught this tense, clumsy, control-freak of a woman to relax, surrender, trust and be led by a man without the influence of alcohol. Hard to believe, I know! Greg, if you read this, know that I'm so very grateful.

The fourth reason I'm happy I did this show is because of this show, this story, this music, this character. If you aren't familiar with the plot, music and characters of Curtains, you are missing out. I love the way it was written, the music is really special and the characters and relationships are funny, interesting and have surprising depth. It's extraordinary, really.

The fifth and final reason I'm glad I was in this show is because I'm a show person. There are few thrills equal to performing on stage for me. When I'm up there, I have so. much. fun! I hunger for this kind of thing, and feel a little starved when I'm not doing it. I can't really explain it any better than that, so I'm going to get a little help from one of the showstopper numbers from the score:

"We're a special kind of people
known as show people.
We live in a world of our own.
Our days are tied to curtains,
they rise and they fall.
We're born every night
at half hour call.
We can't picture being anything
but show people.
Civilians find the whole thing quite bizarre.
But that hop in our hearts
when the overture starts
lets us know how lucky we are.
It's an honor and a joy to be in show business.
I feel that spotlight hit me and I'm gone.
At the last curtain call,
I'm the envy of all
so I know that the show must . . .
go on . . .
show thrilling, we're show people;
and on . . .
so willing, we're show people;
and on . . .
so thrilling, the show must go on!"


I'm not sure any words on earth could describe the feeling better than those.

As much as I love the stage, I feel the need to take a good, long break from it. I'm exchanging the extreme highs and lows for something in the middle, something good for the soul. The experience of playing Nikki in this show was wonderful, but I will never play a role more important or exhilarating as those of wife and mother. It is in these roles that I find myself complete and centered. I may never get applause for playing these parts well, but that's okay. Every smile I win from my Little Red and every look in Brandon's eyes that tells me that he is happy I'm his is confirmation enough. If I can play these parts well, I will have done the best work of my life.

Babies don't wait to turn into little boys, and you stop being friends with your spouse if you stop spending time together. After some rest and focus, for however long I need it, I know that the stage will still be there . . . waiting. In the meantime, I get to enjoy lots of this . . .

And that is a very, very good thing.



Stay tuned for non-theater related recent happenings and general goings-on.




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2 comments:

Dorothy-ish said...

I'm so glad for you. I identify with the hunger, and also the rest! Enjoy your lovely family and take care of your beautiful self!

Amber said...

:)