De-roling

My daughter Arabella said something interesting the other day. Yesterday I told you that I found a new friend from the theater who is also a runner. Arabella said she didn’t know if she liked my new friend or if it was just her character that liked her. Interesting! My daughter was the maid of my new friend in the show. They had a really close stage relationship.

It really got me to think about acting. The last two shows I’ve had stage husbands. I am absolutely in love with both guys, although I would probably never date them if I was single.

This past show, I was in a romantic scene with my stage husband. We were supposed to kiss. But since I am married, the kiss on the lips turned into a kiss on the cheek. How was I supposed to muster up feelings for a complete stranger that I wasn’t remotely interested in and make it look convincing? I had to pretend to be in love with someone I wasn’t in love with.

My husband also had roles where his character was married to another woman. He was married to one woman on stage twice. It really didn’t bother me all that much. But there was another woman he was married to where we ended up stepping down from our roles. This woman was completely gaga about my husband and rubbed it in my face while I played the part of their maid. It didn’t work out well at all. Later she ended up leaving her husband for someone she was in a show with at the theater.

Surprisingly, these things happen in a community theater. Rumor has it that in a previous show a stage husband and wife slept together although they were both married to other people. I could probably write a play about all of the things that happen backstage and call it fiction because no one would ever believe half the stuff was true.

It is strange that while working with someone very closely on stage, you get to know them very quickly. I built relationships within a few weeks that otherwise would take me years to build. I had to feel comfortable working with my stage husbands if I was going to pull it off.

I’ve also had parts in the last two shows where I had to hit people on stage. This past show I had to hit my stage husband. The show previous to that, I had to hit my stage child. I really don’t feel comfortable hitting people, even more so people I don’t know. We really had to work together as a team to make it seem natural because in real life it wasn’t.

But some of the best shows I’ve been in I have had parts where I was married to my husband on stage. We’ve had people ask of if we were married to each other after the shows because if we weren’t we would no longer be married. Being married on stage and off is so much easier to pull off.

Then just like that, the show is over. Do I really like that person I was supposed to be in love with? Or was it just the role I was playing? Reality blurs a bit. I find myself forming friendships with people that I probably wouldn’t otherwise associate with. People of all ages and backgrounds come together for the common goal of putting on a good show.

I have been in enough shows now to know what to expect. As I’ve dealt with the anxiety and excitement of being on stage, I’ve also dealt with the sadness when it is over. For a short period of time, we become family. Then the family falls apart.

The cast members are making plans to get together again. But it won’t be the same. I am just glad for the experience and the friends I’ve made along the way. It’s time to say good-bye to my character, one of my all time favorites. It’s time to de-role until the next show.

I find it interesting with all of the time spent building a character, no one mentions once how to tear it back down and let go. Sometimes that can be more difficult. It makes me wonder how professional actors are able to do it. From all of the tabloids, I see that it doesn’t always work out well for them either.

 

The community theater extrovert

I don’t know what it is about community theater. I become a whole different person. I’m not just talking about the role I’m playing as a character, I’m talking about me as a person. I become an extrovert.

In real life I am not much of a social person. I blog, does that count? You get the idea. I like to keep my opinions to myself. I shy away from the spotlight and become a wallflower. I am moody, melancholy, and not at all agreeable. But at the theater, I am an extrovert on stage and off. All or nothing, baby! My most redeeming social quality is that I have a quick wit. I love to make people laugh. After the evening shows, Paul and I rarely made it to bed before 1 AM.

One night after celebrating at the theater, we had a couple of people crash at our house. One of the actresses confessed that she has cancer and is going through her third round of radiation next week. How could I say ‘no’ to that? Come on over! That night I went to bed at 2 AM then got up the next morning and did the show all over again. That is life as a community theater extrovert I guess.

You tend to meet a whole bunch of eccentric characters at the theater. For a brief time, they get to be someone else too. I wish I could say that all other life stops for awhile during the run of a show, but it goes on. I lost my job during the run of the show. I wasn’t the only one either. A cast member had a funeral to attend out of state. One young girl got her first period and had to reach out to people that were basically strangers to help.

For that short period of time, we became like family and you know how it is with family…some people drive you nuts. Oh, and there is always drama.

There was this new lady that was very beautiful, nice, encouraging, optimistic, and cheerful. She also totally annoyed the crap out of me. Every time she was on stage she would over act and upstage me. It drove me nuts. Back stage she dumped my whole water bottle on my dry clothes. It was an accident so I couldn’t do anything but suppress my irritation. She apologized profusely. When we had only two shows left, she decided that she didn’t like the dance routine choreography and wanted everyone to change it without actually telling everyone who would be on stage at the time. I told her there was no way I would be changing anything.

My husband Paul had the lead part. He had somewhere around 200 lines to memorize. Most of them were a paragraph long. He did a great job. Everyone thought that he had a natural gift for memorizing. Does anyone?? I really want to know. He spent at least an hour a day going through his lines.

There were love triangles on stage and off. Did you know that the theater is also a good place to fall in love? My uncle Rick met someone at the theater for a first date and they are already engaged!

Sometimes things didn’t go as planned. Lines got missed or messed up. Once the curtain opened at the wrong time while a woman was changing behind it. One little girl got hit hard on the head by someone moving a prop. Three other people fell, one while tied up. Many people had sore throats. We wandered around the rest of the week like exhausted zombie versions of ourselves while life continued on.

Then after the show is over, the main characters have to de-role. It is time to say good-bye to the new family. There is a period of sadness and loss after saying bye to a beloved character that almost becomes you for awhile.

For that brief time, everybody loved you. You were someone special, a star. The anxiety of performing is a major adrenaline rush. It is thrilling! Did I mention the costumes, makeup, wigs, and hair primping? Fun!

Then when it is all done, we go back to our normal lives until the next show.

 

Magic Kingdom

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My favorite Disney park for rides is Magic Kingdom. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of roller coasters. I am a wimp! I did go on Space Mountain a few times years ago. Space Mountain is my limit for scary. The problem is sometimes the only way to see if you will like a ride is to ride it. It sure makes me feel a little braver when I see preschoolers next to me in line.

My favorite ride is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We were able to get 2 fast passes for the ride which made me so happy. Then we were able to get on again right before the park closed for the night. I would say it is a moderate roller coaster, just the way I like it…it has small drops and doesn’t go upside down. The scariest time was when the ride momentarily stopped unexpectedly. I was afraid that the other ‘train’ might hit us, but it didn’t despite my fear.

When we stayed at Disney this time, we were given bracelets that allowed us to get into our room and into the parks. We could make purchases with our bracelets which allowed us to travel very light. We downloaded the Disney app to manage our meal reservations, get fast passes, and see the wait times for rides. Technology has really improved since we last visited a few years back. Of course, this also allows Disney to track you and send you surveys regarding the parks you visited. After we went on a ride, we even saw our names displayed which was a bit on the creepy side for me.

MK is also a great place for unusual attractions. We went on the Carousel of Progress which took us on a trip through several decades viewing how people lived in different time periods. We went on the small world ride which displayed hundreds of dolls. We went to a bird show in the Tiki room. We saw a live performance of the Pirates of the Caribbean and went on the ride which was scary enough to be fun.

When you are there, you can’t miss the Monsters Inc. Comedy Show. It is hilarious regardless of age. The only ride I didn’t like was the Lilo and Stitch ride.

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Also good to know, MK is a dry park. That evening we went to Narcoossee’s a fancy restaurant at the Grand Floridian resort. It takes two meals per person on the meal plan. Paul and I both enjoyed lobster. I got to drink a local Orlando beer out of a Mickey Mouse straw. Then we took the monorail back to MK for the fireworks show. It is cool to experience riding the monorail at least once.

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The fireworks and light show at the castle is a must see. I tried to take some pictures with my phone but only ended up capturing hundreds of other people taking pictures of the same event with theirs.

After the fireworks, the park remained open until 11 PM. We were able to go on a lot more rides since the park emptied out a little after the fireworks. Unfortunately, the wait time for the new Seven Dwarfs ride was too long and no fast passes were available…we will save that one for next time.

This is also the park that parents spend hundreds of dollars dressing their girls up as princesses for. You can see lots of little girls in fancy dresses with curled and glittered hair. You might even see the adult version walking around as well. There are many characters at this park.

It truly is a magical place and a must see with small children.

At the theater, left and lost

My husband lost his wedding ring this week.

You are probably wondering why he took it off in the first place. It almost seems sacreligious to take off your wedding ring the first ten years of marriage, even to clean it. We are way beyond that now. We are on the second ring that needs replacing for him.

Paul played the main character the last couple weekends at the community theater. The character he was portraying was a single guy. He slipped the ring off his finger and slid it into his wallet. Then it fell out who knows where.  

It wasn’t the first time a hobby of his claimed a wedding ring. The first time he went fishing and had to walk up a steep bank. He tripped and caught himself with his hand. The ring cracked and was unwearable. It was a cheap ring, all of the money went into my ring. I still have his broken ring though. 

After it broke, Paul decided to go without his wedding band for awhile. Then he got hit on by countless women. He was on a sales call one time and a single woman invited him out for cocktails later on that evening. It happened so many times that I thought it was time to crack the bank and announce to the world that he was not on the market anymore. 

We’ll see what happens this time.

It wasn’t the first thing lost at the theater either. Someone could make a lot of money on theater art, a display consisting of items or props left behind at the theater after a show. Theaters tend to have very interesting lost and found boxes if you ever checked.

My daughter Angel lost her retainer at the theater years ago. It has never been found. I have to say that at least she wore her retainer like she was supposed to.

My son went in this week to have his retainer check at the ortho. After not wearing it for almost a year, he wore it the whole day before his appointment and suffered through the pain. Wouldn’t it just be easier to wear it every once in awhile?? But he is the type not to hand in assignments or apply himself in school then stay up all night studying for the final so he doesn’t fail the class. Doesn’t make any sense to me. I try to get tomorrow’s things done yesterday.

Who know? Maybe the ring will show up before having to buy a new one. I have given up on the retainer though.

The show must go on…

Yesterday I spoke a little about not fitting in with the partying crowd. I did fit in pretty well with the theater group. It wasn’t boring! That’s for sure.

Here are a couple of pictures from my favorite shows over the years. I played the part of Glinda. It wasn’t a very challenging part, but it was fun. The costume that they picked out for me was totally ugly. So I went into my crawl space and opened the box that contained my vacuum packed wedding dress. It still fit!

Then I played the part of Cinderella. It contained a few challenging songs. My husband played the part of the prince. We had a couple of mishaps during the show. The most memorable was when the smoke machine went off when it wasn’t supposed to. It made a farting hissing noise and leaked out a little smoke. I was on stage with a brand new actor playing the part of my father. It took everything I had to keep a straight face when he glanced over and smiled nervously at me.

The most challenging and my personal favorite part was Ms. Scarlet in Clue. My husband played the part of my romantic interest, Mr. Green. Being a married couple really allowed us to beef up some of the scenes. Afterwards, people asked us if we were married to each other, because if we weren’t we wouldn’t be married anymore! Every performance was different because the audience randomly selected the murderer and the weapon from game cards. After the show, we had some pretty crazy parties that involved dancing on the dice, with or without weapons. There goes my career in politics! LOL

I also played the part of the Sour Kangaroo in Seussical. It was another fun part, although I looked utterly ridiculous.

As an introvert, you may be surprised that I am into performing. It is absolutely exhilarating. I will never forget the time that a stranger came up to me and asked me what I was doing in this small town. “Honey, you should be on Broadway!” It is fun and rewarding.

When you spent 3 months working closely with other people, they become like family. It is very tight back stage in more ways than one. There is one small changing room. We have walked in on people in their bra and undies when there are only a few minutes for a costume change. Everyone is frantically hurrying around back stage partially dressed or sitting on the bench bored waiting for their part.

The next two weekends, Paul and Angel will be performing. I wasn’t able to this time, but I will again. Right now almost half of the people are sick. Hell week is very stressful. Sunday started hell week with 8 hours of practice. Then they practice until late every night until the show. Put that on top of other obligations such as work, family, and school. If one person gets sick, it spreads pretty quickly. Angel woke up this morning with a fever and sore throat. In two days, she has to perform. She has a very challenging high soprano part that she needs to have a voice for. Thankfully, I took her in and she does not have strep. But she has to sing so high that it strains her voice when she isn’t sick which makes me worry about her damaging her vocal cords for her future career.

Sometimes there is more drama back stage than on. Like the time that one of the actors committed suicide right before the show. Or the woman with a main part who got incarcerated two weeks before. Or the lead that had a bad break up with another performer and dropped out of the show during hell week. Or the woman who had a miscarriage the morning of a double show where she had to play the part of a mother. I am not kidding, these things really happened!

The show must go on…

Sometimes you fall in love with your character. It is fun to act like someone else for awhile. I love dressing up in costumes. I love learning challenging music. Then just like that, it is over. You shed a few tears, strike the set, and say good bye to your new family and fans until the next show.

Get a clue

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As a runner, I cringe every time I see this picture. In my former life, I was an actress. Ok, I had several lead parts in community theater to be more accurate. I wore these shoes when I played the part of Ms. Scarlett in Clue. It was my favorite part. I loved the character, I loved the music. It was one of the best times in my life. I walked in those shoes for 8 shows. I even dyed my hair dark brown. I got to make out on stage with Mr. Green, played by my husband. People asked us after the show if we were married to each other because if we weren’t we wouldn’t be married much longer. We had the chemistry. It was wonderful. 

But things weren’t always wonderful. Sometimes there was more drama back stage than on. Like that time that my husband was cast as “the husband” and I was the maid. I hated the part of having to be a servant of my husband and his new “wife”. The new wife was my age, beautiful, and outgoing. She demanded attention when I did not. The first time she met my husband she said to me, “your husband is so hot that I could do a little lap dance for him.” Needless to say an instant friendship wasn’t struck. That was the first time that my husband and I stepped down from a role. About a year later, his “wife” left her husband for another guy that she had a part with. 

I had a few other great roles; Cinderella, Glinda the Good, and the Sour Kangeroo (Seussical). We also had our whole family involved, it was great. My husband played the part of Scrooge and my son was Tiny Tim. Those were the days. 

Last night I watched my daughter perform as Alice in Alice in Wonderland. She is now filling out college applications for musical theater. She started at age 8 as a dwarf in the performance Snow White. Since then she has been in 30+ shows. There is nothing in the world like watching your daughter perform. It makes me miss the stage. I will be back. But I will not be wearing 3 inch heels. I wonder if I can perform in running shoes?