21 April 2011

Ode to Thespis

This blog post is not about anything profound. Occasionally I use this space to randomly send out my philosophies and ideas on life into the great void that is the interwebs, only rarely hearing anything at all about whether or not people care about what I say. It is the plague of the unambitious blogger, I suppose. If you want any real readership it requires more work.

But it hasn't stopped me from using this as an outlet to, at the very least, get my own thoughts in order and stated as clearly as I can. If people read it, well, that's part of why it's here. So, dear imaginary readers, if you are here, this one is a bit more indulgent.

I auditioned for a show yesterday.

Let me tell you a little bit about my life over the last year, and the magnitude of excitement I have over this audition will make more sense to you:

I have a rather consuming job. I teach, yes, but I'm also in the works right now of reviewing a business contract. I've got plans for a book that are going to be tackled this summer. I help manage and create an online school program for distance education students in the area. I don't know what spare time is any more. I've got my hand in so many pots that sometimes I feel quite disorganized and forgetful. In the great golden realms of memory, I seem to remember a time when I could keep track of all my students and what they needed to do and be days ahead in my planning. These days are, I think, gone for good.

Not that I am complaining. Quite the contrary: I love my job. I feel a great deal of satisfaction in the work that I do and hope that it actually makes a difference. But it has left me very little time to develop my own interests and abilities - at least during the months of September-May. To help counter this I set reading goals for myself and try to write as much as I can, but nothing - NOTHING - substitutes for those glorious months of rehearsal and performance.

This year, though, it didn't look like a show was going to work out. Nothing felt right. Every theater I looked at was doing a show I was either disinterested in or didn't feel good about auditioning for. So I turned my excitement towards a potential trip to Europe over the summer instead. Again - didn't work out. My summer was starting to look much like my school year - lots of work and planning. The only difference would be less time with students. Not different enough.

But then - the audition notice of audition notices. A show that I love, a good location, a good director, a good time. . . everything clicked into place. Five days after finding out about the audition, I went. I sang. My music cut out and I kept singing anyway. I got a very enthusiastic "wow!". I left the audition with winged feet and practically flew home.

Except, to a degree, I felt as though I'd left home. There are few places in the world I feel as comfortable as the theater. The thrill and joy of rehearsal. The energy of a performance. Even the anxiety I feel right now, waiting to hear about what happens next. (Do I get called back? Do I get the part? Do I get theater in my summer or was this all a strange detour on the road of where I'm going?) It's all part of that world that I love and adore so much.

So many of my greatest and most treasured memories are on the stage. The friends I've kept the longest. The experiences that have changed me as a person the most quickly.

I remember walking onto the stage where Music Man was going to be performed for the first time last year. I remember standing alone in the semi-lit auditorium and feeling my fingers tingle in anticipation and nervousness and glee. This, I thought, is my territory.

I used to think there would be a time in my life where theater would become just a distant, lovely sort of memory. But I have realized since that theater is something that I couldn't ever, ever give up without feeling a great deal of pain. Because theater - being on stage - it's part of who I am. It's not just a hobby or just a fling - it's in me.

Oh, theater. How I adore you.

(Now. . . please be kind to me again?. . .)

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