One… Back, Back…

Thanks for this picture, Haley and Gaby...
Thanks for this picture, Haley and Gaby…

In almost every show I am in, I hit that point where I can’t consciously remember the steps that are being taught.  I just have to trust that my body will remember them as we go.  Then later, when I am somewhere quiet, I can recall them and write it down so I know that I actually do know them.  Aaaaannnnnddd… we have made it to that point!

So much to learn, so much learned, and so many different tweaks on the same routine have left my brain a big ball of jelly.  I actually woke up early because I am not able to sleep thanks to the dances and songs going through my head and I can tell I have been moving in the bed a lot.  My assumption is that I was trying to dance in bed, but I cannot confirm this.

I remember during the first shows that I had been cast in, I had so many questions about the right steps and as soon as we were done learning something I would begin chattering away.  Usually, it was about the steps and if I had done them correctly or if I found them challenging.   In any case, any time the choreographer or director wasn’t talking, I would be talking to someone.

Now, I look back and wonder, was I really asking the questions because I didn’t know?  Or was I asking them to feed my ego because I wanted confirmation that I was right?  OR was I asking because I wanted confirmation that others were wrong?  Over time, I have learned that watching and not saying too much was the best way for me to pick up things.  I will do what was asked and if they did it a different way than what they asked, I will just wait for the correction.  There is already a lot of stuff going on and other people have questions so why not practice patience? And if it is a style issue, the choreographer would clean that in their runs of the numbers. Personally, I don’t think it is all that important when first learning the steps.  The style is easier to get if the mechanics of the steps are in place.  Again, that is just my thoughts.  Since there isn’t much rehearsal time, I think everyone just wants to know everything right now.  It’s a tough place to be in.  But you can’t be get the right feel if you are tripping over your feet or your colleagues feet, so…

Having also been in the choreography position, I have found myself doing a step one way because that’s how I learned it but wanted a modified version of it in my work.  However, thanks to muscle memory, the old way would win out.  Then I would have to say, “Do as I say, not as I do, because as I do is not as I want.”  I would get blank looks at first, but slowly the message melted in.

There is so much to this show, I am grateful that most of the blocking is simply standing there and being in the moments.  Man, if I had to remember to do that stuff too, I think my head would ‘splode. There is a part of me that feels bad because I am trying to stay focused on the movements, that I have not made much contact with a lot of the other people.  There are some that I don’t even know their real names! Oy!

Still they are a fun group, I just can’t focus on that part of it right now. If my leg holds up, I think this is going to be a great experience.  But that’s a whole other story.

Only two weeks to go!

Is It Too Soon?…

I know it has been over a month since my last post, but things have just been either keeping me busy or not inspiring enough to write about.  And to be perfectly honest, I don’t know why I am even writing THIS post.

slide.001I can officially say that I have been in productions for over half of my life.  Tons of ensemble work, a great handful of incredible roles that I had only dreamed of playing and even some cool character roles. It is an understatement to say that I love theatre.

I am currently working on A Chorus Line.  I am loving this experience. The cast is super talented and really fun.

Tonight, we worked on the scene that follows Paul falling and getting injured.  Zach asks those left what they would do if they can’t dance. Most people say they will try their hand at other areas of the field.  But Sheila has these wonderful lines about her journey:

That’s what I used to say… ” I won’t give up.  I’ve got to be a ballerina by the time I’m eighteen” … Then I found out I should be in musical comedy and I said, “Okay, I’ll be a chorus girl – but I gotta be playing parts by the time I’m twenty-one.” 

She continues a few lines later:

… Then you’re twenty-five and you say just a couple of years more – well hell, I’m thirty.  I mean, how many years do I have left to be a chorus cutie?  Three? Four? If I have my eyes done … Well, I don’t want to deal on that level any longer. So, just lately, I’ve been thinking about opening a dance studio.  I don’t know … Am I copping out?  Am I growing up?  I don’t know…

The second time we ran through the scene, all I could think of was the beginning of that second section.  How many years?  Last week, we were working on the opening and I thought I was going to cry because my knees were screaming. How many years? I have realized that Greg is the perfect role for me because I am too terrified to plan a future.  His response in this scene is:

… Darlings.  It’s tough all over.  That’s why I have no plans, no alternatives – just get me through the day… one day at a time is enough for me to deal with. 

That’s how I have been surviving.  One day at a time.  I don’t like to think ahead.  To think ahead, you have to think about where you were.  I am too afraid to move forward and upward so I stick to what I know.  Too afraid of rejection because I don’t feel confident in what I can do.  Too full of self doubt because I was never lucky enough to study the arts as well as those with degrees. Too trapped by sense of duty to keep my stability.   All I have with me are my millions of ideas, my years of experience, my instincts, the many classes and my passion for what I do.

And I had this sorrow and anger building up as we worked our way through the night.  I began to peek into my past.  I saw a lot of  “woulda, coulda shoulda” A few tears did manage to sneak through the cracks but I was upstage of most of the cast.  Once I got to the car, though, I feel like I vomited my anger and tears out.  It was like taking a needle to a water balloon.  There was banging on steering wheel and sounds I have never heard myself make.  Then on top of that a coworker sent me a text about work which only fed into that anger.  After 20 minutes of not being able to control this feeling, I finally reined it in.  I was supposed to celebrate a friend’s birthday, but I got to that parking lot and I had another fit.  I was in no shape to be with people, so I went home.  I am a jerk.

Even as I type this, I can feel my eyes burning with tears and I just want to not think about this anymore.  That is not an option though.  I feel I owe it to my love of theatre to figure this out.  I will learn so much about not only myself, but human emotion and I can add this “information” to my skill set for the theatre.

Some people do theatre because it’s fun.  I do it because I have to. Yet, I am too afraid to aim higher and my reason is because I didn’t study the traditional route like the pros did. So there is a sense of not being worthy.  For this reason, I have been loitering in local theatre production companies thus causing me to look back and ask, what have I accomplished?  A lot of roles for sure, but have I made it a career?  Nope.  Have I tried?  Nah.  There is a regret here for the fact that I feel like I have become complacent in my life.  Like my desire isn’t as great as others so again, I come to the feeling of being undeserving.  Do I feel this way because I was never given the “blessing” to pursue this by not getting a sheet of paper that says “yep, you spent x number of hours and thousands of dollars to earn this so you can officially be an entertainer.”  Yes, that is it.  Like I was never given permission. I came so close to finishing my first degree, but life got in the way.  I know there is the whole go back to school route, but then you have to give up the roles you’ve got lined up.

Okay, so that’s my issue.  Now we come to the question, what holds more weight?  Degree or experience?  Is it worth it to go back? That answer is up in the air at this time.

So what’s the point of continuing on in local theatre in this pattern?  Sure, love is powerful, but is it enough?

I want to suffocate in the Arts.  I want to drown in creativity with people who have this same need. I want to be able to wake up and find I have somewhere exciting to go.  I need to change something because I don’t like how I am feeling right now.

So…

What will you do when you can’t dance anymore?

Luckily, I have never thought of myself as a dancer.  My Arts totem (totally stole this concept from my friend Valerie V.) is Acting on top, Singing in the middle, then Dancing.  Maybe 2 and 3 are interchangeable. But when I don’t have the chance to do any of that I will need something else to do.

Next week, I have a meeting for a directing gig. I know I said I never wanted to do it again, but directing would be better than not being in the theatre at all.

I have begun writing a musical with my friend, Judy.  This has led to a dabbling in finally getting around to writing my one man show.

Still this isn’t a career.

Yet.

God, I hope I get it.