judge of my progress or my abilities. But, even though I can’t rightly see myself, I’m beginning to notice that I am hearing
it from others.
bug zapper lamps people hang on their porch. The bugs merely get within range
of the lamp and they get zapped dead. Same with compliments for me: Anything positive that was said would get deflected before it even got close to
touching me. None of that here, pew! pew!
complementary place within you to receive it. If there’s nowhere it fits
within your own understanding of yourself, then there’s no way that it can be
accepted. There’s no ring of truth, because you don’t believe it yourself.
feedback about certain things, because I have begun to hone and cultivate the
place within me that is receptive, the place within me that believes you
because I believe it myself.
about my progress and abilities, and even though I can’t quite feel this, I’m beginning
to recognize that I believe them, I
believe others are seeing this, even if I’m not myself.
believe in the feedback I’m receiving – so there must be something to it.
way to walk about the world, but what it’s doing for me is giving me hope that
one day I can see it. There is an
existence of a cave wall. Others are telling me so. If that is truth, there is
hope that I will see it, too.
To Kill a Mockingbird, the director came
backstage. He was beaming. He was so glad and proud of the work I was doing
went much better; it felt better.
and Friday night, I was better.
lesson. And at the end of a phrase I’d sung, my teacher applauded and cheered –
he even gave me a high five.
loud and thick.
have to get used to hearing yourself.”
reported these incidents to her, as I begin to parse out these places where I’m
being told one thing, but I’m hearing and sensing another.
feel. And she gave me a metaphor (because we all know I love those!):
foundation. And you can’t always see that growth above ground, but it’s
who I am this lifetime and where I’m going. And she said, some people have
really gorgeous foliage, and weak roots.
come to in mid and later life. Creating a root system, carving out the rot,
cleaning the wounds.
until one morning you turn, and the whole field has sprouted green, fully
formed, like Athena.
hearing or seeing myself clearly. I’m not adequately armed with the ability to
track my own progress. And thank god for other people, then!
I am beginning to hear what they’re saying instead of zapping it, because I’m beginning to uncover the place within me that believes it myself.
for me to swallow:
the whole Torah throughout the year, we come again to rewrap it all the way back to
the beginning to read the very first word: B’reishit, “In the
for my own life.
full house, once again. We said our final jokes, we emphasized things a little
more. We cried at that one “Happy/Sad” song that reminds us that most things in
life are a little of both. And when the final bows were over and the final
patrons thanked, we came back to the dressing room for the last time, finally
and pleasingly and thank god-ingly taking off our sweat-soaked costumes. The
last time getting someone to help me un-pin the dress, the last time taking off
the long and elaborate and hot wig, the
last time returning my mic pack to the sound designer.
removed from our faces…
of weeks ago we’d built, and painted, and staged, and seen evolve right before
our eyes. The same stage that only a few weeks before that, we’d all stood on
for auditions in the remnants of the set from the previous show.
breaking down something that was like another character in the show, if it was
sad to have put it all up, just to take it all down? And each of them said, No.
It’s part of the gig. They’re used to it. To the turn-over, to the letting go.
tonight to come to the theater for Mockingbird rehearsal and see the bones of our Addams set on the stage, picked clean of the character we’d
built. And yet, if this isn’t a great lesson in the constant ebb and flow,
creation and destruction, then I don’t know what is.
getting used to one another’s personalities, contributions, moods.
of a few words and notes on a page, sitting in a small room with a piano,
laughing a little, tense a little.
the extra rehearsals. We didn’t know the petty arguments we’d have, or the
number of times we’d have to control rolling our eyes.
laughter we’d create on-stage or back-stage. We didn’t know the relationships
we’d form, and the singular role each member of the cast and crew would take.
We didn’t know that we’d come to love each other.
bring it all back to the beginning again, I am sure that we have learned
something, something critical to the nature of life and love and joy and
experience, that we didn’t know we would and that will carry us forward as we
start once more with new words and notes and castmates.
a month in performance now, and once, even twice, a weekend, they’ve shed their
wigs and sweat-soaked costumes and gone out to the bar.
because it gets so late, and partly because I’ve just been kinda shy about
it. And last night, when the venue was gonna be a gay bar to dance, I decided
it was time.
performed all evening, and I had to be up this morning to sit for a portrait
artist at 10am. … but you know what? Yesterday was a good day, and I felt
theater where I’m currently running. I got the large important work project
done, with a few hiccups at the end of the day. And I finally felt like I beat
the solo song that’s been beating me all run.
a white girl, but I have fun doing it. Though, granted, there were other white
girls there who definitely don’t fit into that “white girls can’t dance” model!
But just the vitality and joy and jumping and ear-wide smile and circle
of friends who are together only for a brief period. It was awesome.
other month. And now, I’m lucky to go once or twice a year. I would never
listen to the music in real life. I know maybe one of the dozen songs that gets played. But it doesn’t matter.
my feet, and I pump my fist in the air when it feels like time.
critic and do what I’ve written here I’ve always wanted to do: perform and
enough room at the backstage table and no air conditioning and that railing
that was never put in right and voice cracking and line flubbing and lighting failures?
support. Even when we’re elbowing for room at the table, or need to ask someone
for the hundredth time to hold your wig while you comb the bejeezus out of it –
you know you’re doing it in the service of something larger than you.
is so much more fueling than in rehearsal – like when they described Sex
and the City, they said “the City” was the 5th main
character. In a live performance, the audience is also a character, a member of
the staged community. “It’s a great audience tonight.” “They’re not really
laughing.” “They’re so into it.” You measure your performance not necessarily
by how much they laugh or applaud, but by what they give you and what you give
them back. And sometimes what you get is bolstering, and sometimes it’s not, but it’s always present. Creating something that never was and will never be again.
wig stuck on a screw during an entrance? Have your co-actor unhook you and get
on with it. Didn’t get a laugh on that line tonight? Do it again tomorrow
anyway, because you think it’s
funny. Try it differently. “Let’s get crazy,” to quote a line from the show.
People are talking about auditions and other musicals, and arguing about their
favorite. People are going over their next audition monologues and kibitzing
about where they’ll audition next and who the casting director is and if you
saw that one last play, and Boy Howdy what a success/disaster.
Someone so new to this world, it’s like drinking from an oasis. People are
actually talking about theater,
about acting, about what they’ll do next. And it’s inspiring me to continue
while, because of my upcoming job transition.
But, this play is part of the reason why
I’m changing career avenues. And much of the point of the changing avenue is to
change my schedule to accommodate being in productions.
auditions, I find I want to do more. And, like I wrote yesterday, it could be
easy for me to let this thread drop when it’s over – I know how to have a
flurry of activity followed by inaction. But being in the belly of the action,
hearing words fly back and forth and the encouragement and the excitement
shared by the other actors… I’m demanding from myself that I make these
outreach emails and audition calls now, before the play is through.
more experienced singers. I dread these two lyrics in the whole show and
challenge myself to not dread them, to be present and let it be what it’ll be
because it’s not the all of who I am or what I’m giving.
present and accommodating and kind.