22 July 2011

The "Opening" Night

As has been made abundantly clear in just about every post I've written this summer: I'm not doing theater. I wish I was. I almost did. Nothing's worked out. It was part conscious decision not to put myself in that world, and part result of a myriad of shows in the area that I don't want to audition for anyway. Rotten, terrible, no good combination.

But I've come to terms with it. (Mostly.) Funnily enough it was Harry Potter 7.2 and a biography of J.K. Rowling that did it. I was reminded that what I have been doing all summer instead is something I am passionate about, that I believe in, and that takes full attention and energy. There will be shows again, but the time I've had to dedicate to this project may never come back in such a way again, and I've needed to devote myself entirely to it.

And that's ok. It's more than ok, actually. But even the best of things come with a price, and the price for me this summer involves putting off travel and stage until another time.

It's still left me a little morose, though, and yesterday could have been the most difficult of those days. It was opening night for a good portion of my friends in a show that I didn't audition for by choice but ached for anyway - if only because I missed the rush of theater for the sake of itself. I kept watching the clock.

5:00. (I should be going to the theater now to get my hair done and mic on and props set.) 5:30. (I should be finishing my hair and stretching right now. Eat a banana and a granola bar.)
6:00. (I should be running through scenes and dance steps. I should be standing on the stage, staring out at the empty seats, taking a breath, and being grateful for what's coming.)
6:30. (I should be getting makeup done.)
7:00. (Last minute check of everything. Brush teeth. Director notes.)
7:15. (Dressing room prayer, followed by listening to music and pacing the dressing room alone, personal prayer.)
7:30. (Curtain. Heart starts rushing a bit. Pacing continues and I think again about how lucky I am to be where I am again. How glad I am for the talents I've been given. The joy they bring.)
7:45. (iPod away. Grab book. Go backstage right. Wait for end of song. Take a breath - showtime.)

I had to do something. Something to honor the opening night I wasn't having. I got together with a friend, and watched scenes from a show we were in. I was a little nervous about this - I don't like watching myself on stage under the best of circumstances, but this particular show had been very important to me, and it was the only thing I could think of to do.

And you know what? I was good. I don't say this to brag - I say this out of genuine surprise. I watched this show and remembered the hard work and hundreds of hours I had spent preparing for this role, and was proud of the result. It was a relief. I actually enjoyed it. And it was healing. It reminded me that when all of this is over, my talents and gifts in the arts will still be there and can still be used for good in the world.

So today it was back to the bat-cave to continue work on this project for the last few weeks before school starts. Only today I came feeling again that rush of knowing that I am a capable, talented person. And my life, for all its frustrations right now, is still wonderful.


Bill said...

"I am a good person...
I'm an attractive person...
I am a talented person..."

I know it's rough. But you're right- you're a very talented person. It's a tough sacrifice, but it's worth it. And there will be other shows in which you will again shine and dazzle hundreds of onlookers. :) I am regularly impressed by you and the things you are able to accomplish, and I have no doubt that you'll continue to do so.

Joni said...

Thanks, Bill. I certainly hope those opportunities come sooner rather than later. We'll see!

Rebecca O'Bryan said...

Joni, you are very talented. I haven't actually seen you in much, but it's one of those things that just exudes from you. Sorry to sound so clueless, but what project are you working on?

Joni said...

Thanks, Rebecca. And welcome home!

You can find out about some of what I'm working on by visiting www.vigilancemedia.com. That tells you a bit about the school I teach at and the online classes I'm developing.