I didn't - seriously - plan on a 4 week semi-hiatus to pursue a dream of community theater. When I started rehearsals, I figured I could blog on off days, or days where I just had rehearsal and not work. Neither of those quite happened, never mind the days of getting up 4:30 to work, with rehearsal starting at 7 that evening, home at 11 to do it all again.
What did happen was something of a creative reawakening, at least for me; it's partly the chance to go back and do things I never felt I did enough of in my - gloriously misspent - youth, and partly it's a chance to be around people who do the things I like to do for the same reason - a love of doing it, just for the joy of seeing it through.
Annie is a show which covers a wide swath of ages among performers - we have children age 5 and up, and adults into their fifties and sixties (never mind our director, who's been at this for 40 years with no real sign of slowing down) - and so the experience has been a cross section of the life in performing. You see everything from the nergetic dreams of the young to the seasoned, even world weariness of the elders, all enthralled with playing dress up, pretending to open invisible doors, and sing cheerful songs about the Depression.
If I have never been quite so tired, I have also been never quite so happily at peace.
And so today, in preparation for opening night I have brought a fresh tube of mascara (I still need to stop for some foundation), I need to move a button on my butler outfit, press my clothes, and make photocopies of script to use during the simulation of a radio broadcast. I am reminded of one of J in B's best creations ever - the drag name of Vera Similitude. It's fun trying to make everything so real.
All of this has gotten me thinking about performing, about the life we lead and how much of it is, indeed, a performance; these things I remember about the people who can be so dramatic - I really do find myself at home with theatrical people - remind me that the capacity for it carries over into life generally. Acting, oddly, is what makes me impatient with people who "fake it" in real life; for goodness sake, commit to your performance. Don't pretend. Good acting isn't defined by the audience not believing it.
I'm sure this experience has changed me, as experiences do - I have met a whole new group of people, deepened existing friendships, learned a few things about myself, and, at this late age, even learned a few things about acting and singing on stage (if only confirming that someone in my high school career clearly missed the fact that I am quite capable of a solo on stage. Take that, Mr. Vogelman). It isn't easy - what thing worth doing ever is? - and it requires conservation of energy... but for those moments, on stage, flying without a net (literally, as I tripped over someone in dress rehearsal), it is breathtaking and fun and joyous. Life upon the wicked stage for me.
And so, with performances getting under way, the end is in sight, one way or another. As yesterday demonstrated, I am getting back into the grrove of balancing writing back into the daily schedule of things. And though I've managed to keep my distance from a lot of daily news, I'm not completely out of the loop, and find myself, yet again, with a lot of things to say. And now, with the time to say them... and my creative juices flowing a bit more vividly than they were... this should get interesting. Well, I like to think it's been interesting all along. But a blog should make a fine stage, and spotlight - for some time to come.