I think I’ve mentioned to you all about how I’ve happened to find myself performing in a show again (in fact, I just talked at length about it on Monday). Well, as of the time you read this, the performances have already happened, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about just how weird of an experience for me this one has been.
I’ve spent plenty of time on the stage, and, more importantly, back stage, over the years. And I’ve never exactly been the most professional of performer. Back in my days of being on the stage all the time, I would often show up last minute for mic checks and kick out as quickly as I could afterward, not often being there for things like load in or strike, or any of those things that any good cast member takes a part in. I acted a little rock star-esque, as I just didn’t feel like doing those things I didn’t care to do, and I felt like I was doing enough by fulfilling the bare minimum required to be a part of a show.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to be a bit more responsible. Even for the shows my kids are in, I’m there as much as I can be to be a part of all the things that keep the theatre moving along. I honestly believe I’ve done a solid job of turning things around and really trying to be a more productive member of the theatre community whenever I can be.
However, for this show, it almost feels as though I’ve turned my younger days irresponsibility up to 11. You see, although I would have loved to have been a part of the show for real, I didn’t audition because I simply don’t have the time right now to do a show. Between school and work and just trying to do all the carting of kids around necessary as a parent, I feel as though my days are constantly packed to the brim. But, when the director of the show contacted me about this role as a fake Santa performing for only one song and only needing to be there for six rehearsals (which turned out to be 12 plus the entirety of hell week), I decided it was a great low-cost way to be able to perform again. And considering the whole intention here was just for me to be a body to fill a stage, it was really something where the expectations for my involvement in the show were low.
As in, just make sure to be at the rehearsals during the brief period we work on this scene. In fact, the few times I’ve shown up early or on the days where they didn’t expect all the extra bodies, the director has pulled me aside to tell me that I could get out of there.
Which means that for the entirety of this show, I’ve showed up at rehearsals an hour late, done my song, and booked out of there less than a half hour later.
Where I liked to think of myself as a rock star back in the day, I truly feel like I’ve gotten the rock star treatment this time around.
And so, as we had our first rehearsal at the actual theatre last night (when I’m writing this), and I got there at the time the show started, knowing that I don’t need to be around until the start of the second act, feeling as though I was being all responsible and would stay until the end for notes to pretend I was a legitimate part of the show. And then, after sitting around for a couple of hours while they worked through all the technical issues, and I found myself constantly in the way of all the performers running from place to place while I tried to work on some homework, I suddenly realized that my being there more than I needed to be was probably actually more irresponsible than I had thought.
I was actually slowing things down just by being there. When looking for people to be involved in scene changes, they’d have to see me, remember that I’m not actually a part of the rest of the show, and then go on to find someone else. I was just another body in the pile of bodies in the changing room as the actual performers would rush in to do their quick costume changes. I was, ultimately, just in the way.
So, I’ve decided to take my perspective on this role in a different direction. I like to think of myself now as being like a person who has a cameo role in a movie, where they just show up for a brief moment and then leave immediately after, not being expected to do anything else because they really just need to get out of the way for all the people doing the actual work.
And I could really get used to that…
Which, I guess, means I’ve finally made it, right?
Regardless, I’m excited to be back on the stage, singing and dancing, and really having none of the other overhead that comes along with that. It’s almost relaxing. You know, if I didn’t have all the hundreds of other things I should be doing while waiting for my scene to come up…