Friends, I am in love with musical theatre. Truly, madly, deeply. There's no other way to describe my feelings. I haven't been in a show for over a year, and it's killing me. I keep a file on my computer called "Being in a show...." and it's filled with thoughts I've jotted down while in various shows over the past three years. Today I was reading over it and decided to share some of my thoughts here. I'm glad I have this mini-journal. Write things down while you are experiencing them, because memories fade faster than you'd ever think.
(I wish I'd put a date on these, but I didn't. The dates I give are estimates.)
Being in a show is a bit like being married. Or maybe in a committed relationship. You are ecstatic at first, and soon steady into a constant flow with spikes of unspeakable joy. You commit a period of your life to it, including all of the time, energy, blood, sweat, tears, dreams, and work that you can must up. It changes you, and you don't mind. You do your best to leave your own mark on it as well. While involved, you don't badmouth your show. You might rant to a close friend or relative about qualities you'd like to change or spots that are rough in development, but you would defend your show's honor to the death. You are glad to have your show and its unique set of opportunities. A proper show will make you fall in love with different moments every single time your perform it. You are proud when a tough problem is overcome and frustrated on occasions change takes long than you'd like. Even when days are bad, you remind yourself of this experience you could have missed. You hear others complain about their lack of time and sleep and wonder why they don't love it like you do.
A word of caution: each show you will be cast in comes with an expiration date. A date when the relationship is null and void whether you're ready or not. You know that this day will come, though you might not want to think about it. Although the freedom of choosing a new show has a whiff of intoxication in it, the vast plain of auditions can be frightening. And no one wants to say goodbye to something that they have dearly loved. But the wonderful times, people, and memories are something to hold onto when your heart is aching for its missing piece. Loving a show and its cast, like loving anything else, will cause you pain, but it is infinitely worth it.
There are so many things I love about the rehearsal process. Performing is the ultimate goal, of course, but everything has to be carefully taught. I love being involved with learning. When everyone is on the same basic steps I don't feel so slow. I like having the time to laugh with cast members because something is funny and you are tired. I like being part of a group. It takes time, but one day you look around and realize that you fit in. You know people and they know you. Everything is coming together much better than you thought it would. And suddenly you find that you don't ever want it to end.
I love being a part of something. Having somewhere to be doing something that I love with people that I love who know my name. What could be better? Thank heaven I decided to do this show (Hello, Dolly!). It was exactly, precisely, perfectly what I needed.
I can't even bear thinking about Scarlet Pimpernel closing this week. I have a place with these people. We have been playing to sold out audiences, an experience quite new to me. I thought I loved this show before I was cast in it, but I had no idea. This cast, show, all of it came at the perfect time. I have been excited about it since the first rehearsal, but I had no idea how amazing we would become. This is my home.
And just like that, Hell Week was over and done with. It's amazing how much more FUN performing is than rehearsing. I had forgotten-- this thrill is one of the many reasons I love theatre. Suddenly I can appreciate and enjoy this show (Big) anew.
"The path to heaven run through miles of clouded hell" -"It's Time" by Imagine Dragons. This lyric concisely sums up the difference between the last two weeks of rehearsal and the second it switches to performances. Friends. I am still not jaded to the fact that I have them. Gilbert and Sullivan still fill me with joy. And I still love pirates with all my heart.
I love Pirates of Penzance. It puts a smile on my face even on the gray days. I love my cast. Really truly adore them. For what, we ask, is life without a touch of poetry in it?
I need to be in another show. I don't think I can be completely happy doing anything else. I need to be around my theatre people. I need to sing and dance and laugh and be bone-tired exhausted, but love every minute of it. Auditions are terrifying but there is no other way.
Some days I feel like the girl in a song I knew growing up.... "Anxiously a singer sits/ Waiting for her number to be called/ Hoping if she hears them say 'You're not that good'/ She'll know, deep down, they're wrong/ One more bad audition and she's vowed to pack it in...."
But the name of the song was "Believe in Yourself", and I'm trying to do that.
So not to leave on an emo note, but that was the last time I updated my little note. Theatre and the stories we tell there have been on my mind a lot lately, and I hope to have some good news next time I write.