Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Powder Boo-Ray

I'm lying in a bed (sadly, not my own) in a small New England town. It is somewhere within the first few days of Fall. "Welcome, Autumn!" Someone is mowing the lawn of the cast house I'm staying in. It is loud. My nightstand morning beverage options are actually comprised of anything I may have left there the night before. I have a half full glass of Pinot Noir and a half empty bottle of Poland Springs. Somewhere, I'm sure, there is Sprite lying around.

We had our first performance of "Showboat" last night. I think it went well. I heard so many people in the audience singing along and just genuinely loving the show. A woman leaned out of her seat after we sang "Ol' Man River" and grabbed my arm as I was carrying a barrel of cotton up the aisle and out to my next entrance, and said "Excellent job". That's a weird situation, but hey... Some of it has prompted a bit of a discussion amongst a few of the folks/voices in my head.

Any of you who have taken the time to get to know me completely understand that I detest and abhor any and all usage of the phrase "In 'the' business....", however, I must, at present, use this phrase, or some variation thereof, to get through the plot exposition of my story. Do forgive.

In this business, often times (really, "most" of the time), we get a bit self-centered. We have to be a bit vain and self-"concentrated" to get through an audition, a rehearsal, a script, our agent, our day. Let me explain...In any show, there will be several "tracks" to follow. The jobs of the director, choreographer, and stage manager figuring out those tracks or patterns can be quite challenging and once the puzzle comes together, quite amazing to see. As "Person-In-One-Of-The-Many-Tracks", or a simple "cog" in the machine of the show, all any individual "cog"-on-stage does is focus on getting their track started and hope to make it successfully across the finish line.

That is a bit extensive for where we're headed with this, but.... My large blanket-question is, in part...."Why is our world ruined (if only for one night) by one simple mistake in our tiny 'cog'?" We can take something as simple as not being able to tie our shoe completely during a quick-change (and I hate to use those "technical terms" with those not "In the Business"....but hey), having a missing prop for you to hold in the background of a scene that does not include you, ball-changing, when you should be flapping....We can take those little things so far. Why do we carry them to the bar after the show? Why are we still talking about them after the half-way point of my second Ketel One Martini (straight up, with a twist)? Are we actually still talking about this as we walk down the hallway of our hotel on the way to our rooms?

I don't see holding on to these tiny, destined instances as a necessity. They are going to happen. And they're going to happen often. It's live. It's life. It's human. It's imperfect. And that's perfect. All we can do is get up again tomorrow and do it again. Isn't that amazing?

When I woke up this morning, I thought about Curtis, Frank, and myself. The Three Divas. In three different places in the country. In three different situations across the country. And each loving every possible minute. I am so proud of them. I woke up thinking of all of my friends. I thought of Michael, who is presently "on vacation" (which I love...and I think I taught him), and about to take part in the AIDS Ride for the first time, which is an amazing thing that I'm glad I get the chance to support. It is an amazing feat that I know I could never train for and complete, and I am so very envious and 7,000% proud of him for training and doing. He is truly an amazing individual. I woke up thinking of friends buying houses for the first time, friends planning weddings, friends raising children that I love to spend time with. I woke up knowing that I have a 2 o'clock matinee that is sold out, and I'm excited.

I woke up the day after our very first performance of this gigantic, once-daunting beast. And the sun was shining. And it was somewhere in the first few days of Fall in a small New England town. And someone was mowing the lawn outside. And it was perfect.
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