This One Is Personal…

Taken from a poster filled with different tickets of a NYC trip in the lobby of our rehearsal space. 

Dear Gentle Reader,

I think I shall always be amazed at how much time goes by while I have my head down working.

I needed to post this before we open A Chorus Line, which, incidentally, happens to be tomorrow night, because I need to get out of my head.  As long as I have this in there, I can’t really focus on just this moment.

I love this show because it is dedicated to those people that live their life auditioning to get into their next job.  The theatre is unlike anything else in the world.  It isn’t steady and most people don’t become mega stars. The people that do it may have different reasons for beginning but they stay because it is who they are deep in their bones and they can’t dream of doing anything else.  The last time I performed in ACL was about 2 1/2 years ago.  It was a wonderful show.  I played Greg, who was funny, sassy, and unapologetic for who he was. It was such a delight.  This time around, I am playing Paul. He isn’t funny or sassy. But he is honest and a little withdrawn.

The thing about his story, though, is that it hits so close to home. While I didn’t go to a Catholic High School, I did go to a high school on the East Side of San Jose that was filled with wannabe gang members or just straight out only-child assholes. I am not saying that every only child is one, but there were quite a few there. Then of course there were the jocks and the rocker kids, who either just insulted you or ignored you.  I am sure you can guess which group did what.

Paul talks about his school experience of being bullied and I have to recall all the times of people getting in my face or pushing me around saying “faggot.” Or the time this wannabe thug kept shoving me into my desk because he didn’t get the answer right but I did and the teacher did nothing about it. Believe me, when I left that school, I never thought about it again. And as for “reunions” HA! They know where they can shove that.

Paul talks about his parents and I have to recall my own experiences with being “asked” to leave the house I grew up in, the disappointment in my mom’s eyes when she finally point blank asked if I was gay.  I have to recall how awkward it feels to not know where you are supposed to fit in. I have to recall how something so simple as “take care of my son” can break a heart.

For those of us who have felt this sense of nowhereness, desperate for something solid to latch on to just to give you an idea of which end is up, this Paulologue is for you.

And in The King Cheetos’ Corporation of America, we again don’t fit in. So it is with the knowledge of where I have been, what I have been through, and where we won’t go back that helps me get through the whole time on stage talking to the audience. Sharing not only Paul’s story but also all of yours.  Reminding the audience that while this show is set in the 70’s and he is talking about his experience as a youth, we have to again deal with bullies because we are different.

Gentle Reader, we have our last rehearsal tonight and then it is on to Opening Night. I quake in my shoes.  This isn’t just another show for me.  This one is personal.

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