There’s no business like show business…

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Oy!  I’m a terrible blogger.

Something Wicked this way comes…

That’s right the supremely wonderful musical Wicked was in town these last few weeks.   I was lucky enough to see it twice.  It was a terrific-singing, dancing, acting, extravaganza, and I loved it.  But there was more to it than that for me.  I love live  theatre, I think it’s magical on so many levels.  I would love to live in a world where breaking out into song to express my emotions was socially acceptable (I’m not saying I don’t do it, I just wish  people harmonized with me instead of giving me funny looks.)  When I watch theatre, my heart sings and I’m able to step outside of myself for a couple of hours.
I cry at just about every show I watch.  Theatre for me is bittersweet.  Because I don’t just love watching it, I love being a part of it, and I would love to do it all the time.  But I also know that it’s not really what I’m supposed to do.  So, I content my self with being a part-time part of creating the magic, and an always willing participant in the enjoying of it.

It’s a process…

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Wow, definitely time to blog again. I could make excuses, but really who wants to hear that? Plus I’m just too lazy to make excuses.

When I sit down to write I pretty much settle in for the long haul.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper, or a short story, or a book review, or a grocery list.  I know from the start it’s going to take time.

I begin by opening an empty word document and staring at it for a little while, willing words to jump onto the page.  When that proves fruitless I momentarily give up, this is where the internet comes in.  The internet is the absolute bane of my paper writing existence.  I will waste time doing the stupidest things as a subconscious way to stall, and stall, and stall.  After I’ve wasted spent time not writing, I go back to the document and usually type in my name, and all the pertinent information at the top of the page, and then something incredibly witty like “Snappy title goes here” across the top, and back to the internet.   Then I change the song I’m listening to, or go get something to eat, or stare blankly out the window for awhile.  Once I’ve accomplished this I tell myself that I’ve really got to get started now, and  I do.  Starting is always the hardest part and once I can get my thoughts down on paper I usually experience a burst of productivity.  Then I check my email or maybe *cough cough* write a blog post,  (Busted, this is in fact the sort of avoidance I’m using right now.) also since the blog post is writing I do it in the same A.D.D manner.  So I’m procrastinating within my procrastinating.  Then I glance at the clock and realize with much guilt that I have probably quadrupled the amount of time it should have taken me to do whatever it was I was doing, and so I rapidly and rather ashamedly finish up.  So there you have it, based on my distracted mode of writing, I suspect I will either turn out to be a genius or completely and totally nuts.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Theatre Kids Make Scenes part 2

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As promised, here is the conclusion to my riveting essay.  I’m sure you were all waiting with bated breath.

 

6.  Theatre kids are theatre critics: Theatre kids, once they have been in a few shows, feel qualified to critique any show they happen to see, be it another local production or a professional troupe.  They’ll sit around chatting about how good this person was, and how poorly this part was cast.  They are often of the firm belief that they could have done a better job playing Mrs. Potts (despite the fact that “they” may be a guy who’s not even remotely English.) or singing this solo, or dancing this number; or if they’re not they know someone who is.

7.  Theatre kids have a flair for the dramatic:  This may seem like stating the obvious, but I’m not talking about drama in relation to the stage; I mean all the time.  Everything is a production with theatre kids.  A new hair cut is grounds not only for lots of oohing and ahhing, but also promises of an entire photo shoot just to highlight the way it frames your face.  If anything goes wrong  everyone knows about it, and it becomes everyone’s job to find a solution.  Level-headed is probably not the best descriptive word for theatre kids.

8.  Theatre kids come with theatre moms: One of the best parts of being a theatre kid and hanging out with other theatre kids is the theatre moms.   They’re the ones standing backstage cheering  everyone in the cast on, not just their own kids, the ones who host the best cast parties, the ones with the best sense of humor.   Theatre moms also have a tendency to think that their child is the most talented being in the world.  They’re just certain that little Susie will make the perfect Annie, or that Jimmy was born to play Oliver.  When their child is in a play, every acquaintance living within a fifty mile radius knows the exact dates, times, ticket prices, and the closest places to park.  Some people have whole theatre families, where the collective life of the family revolves around this child’s career,  with mom and dad doing whatever it takes to get them the agent, the audition, the part.  Many theatre moms are grown up theatre kids, not so far away from that age that they don’t remember the hopes and dreams, making them want to do their very best to help their children achieve these goals.

9.  Theatre kids don’t exist apart from theatre: Life for theatre kids very quickly becomes one revolving stage.  If you’re not in this show you’re in another, and while you’re in one show you’re already talking about the next.  There’s always another show to audition for, always another “best part ever”.  Towards the end of one play everyone starts asking everyone else; “Are you auditioning for…?” in the hopes that they’ll get to work with their friends again.  When not in a play or auditioning for a play, theatre kids look back on past plays with an air of nostalgic wistfulness beyond their years.  Then they’ll call up a friend and say “Do you remember when we were in Aladdin and so-and-so did…”

10.  Theatre kids will take whatever part they can get: Theatre kids are not snobbish in the parts they play, they just need to be in a production of some sort.  They will audition for anything that comes their way and take whatever part they’re offered.  Let’s say you’re at a production of “Beauty and the Beast.”  See that dancing spoon in the back of the chorus?  The kid performing that role is more than happy to have gotten the part.  In fact he probably beat out a couple other people for it.  He’s proud just to be in the show and although it’s true he may have rather been the Beast, he’ll still walk away from the production feeling fortunate and enriched to have been a part of it.

I’ll always be a theatre kid at heart.   Years from now I’m sure I’ll be walking down a hallway on my way to class, I’ll glance both ways to make sure no one is coming and then I’ll start dancing down the hall, humming a tune.  If someone catches me I’ll blush and glance down pretending like I wasn’t just traipsing down the hallway.  But if they give me a smile and walk down the hall, jumping in the air and clicking their heels just before disappearing from sight, I’ll smile to myself  and know they understood, because the biggest truth about theatre kids: it takes one to know one.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” –William Shakespeare

 

Theatre Kids Make Scenes Part 1

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Last semester I took a Creative Writing class.  We had to write a Creative Non-fiction piece since I was pretty happy with the way it came out, and I don’t have anything else to blog about, here is the first half.

Theatre kids make scenes

Secrets from the inside

For me the pull of the stage was undeniable.  The sheer magnetism of being in front of an audience was something I could not resist.  Perhaps I also loved the sense of belonging, of being able to identify myself with a group of people.  I was a “theatre kid” ; we were crazy, and noisy, and full of personality.  After spending a good portion of middle school and all of my high-school years in a musical theatre group I think I know a few things about theatre kids.  Here are the ten most important things I learned:

1. Theatre kids bring out the introvert in me: I used to consider myself an extroverted person, but then I realized I just hung out with a bunch of introverts.  Theatre kids take “extrovert” to a whole new level.  They’re the people who bring the party with them when they come, and you hear them the second they walk in the door.  I learned quickly that I no longer had to be the loud kid, or the kid who was always talking because there were other people to fill that position for me.  Now I could be the quite kid, the kid that had to be coaxed out of her shell instead of the one doing the coaxing; which was a whole new thing for me.  Depending on my mood, spending time with these people was either very energizing or very draining.  There were times when I would bound out of play practice singing, and dancing and laughing; counting the hours until the next rehearsal.  Then there were the times were I would stumble out of the building and to my car, wanting to be alone long enough to hear myself think.

2. Theatre kids are an emotional group: Theatre kids often have the sunniest dispositions, and the blackest moods.  They can swing from giddy with joy to full of angst and anger faster than you can say honorificabilitudinitatibus.  They feel deeply and without reserve, rarely understanding why no one shares their enthusiasm over being able to hit Christine’s last note in Phantom of the Opera, or their dejection over Cats no longer being on Broadway.  When they love, they love with abandon and when someone hurts them it’s not easy to win them back.  They have too much energy and passion to get it all out on the stage and so it comes out in real life.

3.  Theatre Kids forget life isn’t actually a musical: Theatre kids tend to go through life dancing and singing.    With all the musicals that have been made there is an appropriate song for just about anything, and they’re not afraid to use them.  There are times when I look up and wonder “Where is that song coming from?” and then I realize it’s coming from me.  Music is the way to say things we’re afraid to just speak, it works in the musicals; why not in real life.  It’s a rather disheartening experience to be walking down the street singing “Put on a happy face” and instead of joining you, the people passing just stare at you and move a little quicker.  The biggest reality check for any theatre kid is the startling (and unfortunately regular) reminder that not everyone’s brain thinks in song.  So theatre kids spend a lot of time with each other, in situations where it’s not only appropriate but expected to burst out in song at any given moment.  For someone unaccustomed to this sort of thing, a word of warning: any sentence may trigger a musical outburst.  The theatre kid in question will get a glimmer in their eyes and a smile, followed by a sharp intake of breath.   You occasionally  have enough time to jump in with some other sentence and distract them, but some theatre kids (myself included) are too quick for that and you just have to sit through a rousing rendition of whatever song happens to come to mind.  Thomas Jefferson once said “Music is the favorite passion of my soul” and many theatre kids would agree with this wholeheartedly.

4.  Theatre Kids really do have that much personality: When I first started watching Glee I wondered when they had come to New Mexico and observed my theatre group.  You pick a character and I have probably met someone very much like them.  I think non-theatre people watch Glee and think “what caricatures these are,” but the truth is in every musical there’s the cast of characters on the stage and the cast of  characters in real life. Many theatre kids have enough personality for two or three normal people.   Two of them talk enough for five or six, ten of them talk enough for twenty and beyond that, you can forget being able to pick out any sort of orderly conversation.

5.  Theatre kids are extremely optimistic: Most theatre kids are sure that they’re headed straight to the top;  despite the many, more realistic directors and theatre teachers who have told them time and time again that very few people are actually able to make a respectable living in the theatre world.  Theatre kids still seem sure that they’re slated to star in the next great movie in Hollywood, or headline on Broadway as soon as they can get there.  You would think that they would miss out on a part a couple of times and start to give up, but theatre kids have a perseverance unlike any other.  They keep on trying despite rejection after rejection.   They are sure that they will make it (or die trying) and there are very few things that will dissuade them.  Theatre kids are some of the most unfailingly persistent people I know, and more often than not they are willing to do anything to achieve their goals.  Occasionally this leads to bitter hardened adults, but my list of things I learned from theatre grown-ups is the subject of a whole other paper.

Hopefully, this didn’t bore you and cause you to a) Fall asleep, or b) just stop reading.  If you care , it may please you to know, that I’ll post the rest in the next couple of days.