Sunday, November 20, 2011

No Longer "Ill"

This fall, we had a busy schedule with our little theatre group here in Dodge.  Sometime during the summer, we were contacted by a lady in Harmony to see if we would be willing & able to be the HIRED entertainment for her corporate Christmas party.  We were able to negotiate a lovely amount for compensation, & we jumped at the chance to make some extra funds for the club, as well as earn some possible new audience members.  

We were already entered in Festivus, & had decided to do an emotional, comedic drama about 4 women ~ a bride & her bridesmaids ~ getting ready in the hour before the wedding.  This was a play that I had read many years ago & always adored.  It had it all ~ comedy, drama, some really good, meaty scenes, complex characters that our actors could really sink their teeth into.  I was thrilled to bits to be doing it.   

The only wrinkle in the plan was they wanted at least 1.5 hours of entertainment {even closer to 2 hours if possible} & "Ladies in Waiting" was maybe an hour if we really stretched it.  A-HA!  Now was finally my chance to do a little play, a little one woman show, that I had seen in 2006; a gritty, hilarious, quirky little play that I had desperately wanted to perform for years. So, the schedule was set ~ I would perform "Ill", & direct everyone else in "Ladies in Waiting".  {I had always planned to be in LinW, but didn't think I could possibly handle learning lines for 2 different parts. Plus, I mean, come on, don't be greedy Wilma!}

& so, on we went, rehearsing LinW 3 nights/week, & me learning my lines for "ill" on the off nights.  Okay, well on some of the off nights.

Things were shaping up nicely.  We organized a pub night at home to fund-raise for expenses related to traveling to Festivus.  We rehearsed.  We solidified plans for the Harmony show.  We rehearsed some more.  I slowly learned some of my lines.  We rehearsed.

Then, a frantic message from TheatreCentral ~ one of the participating groups had to back out due to illness.  Was anyone working on something else that they could quickly get ready & bring to Festivus?  Why, yes!  I offered, & our entry was readily accepted.  Now we were bringing both plays to Festivus!  Crap!  I better learn my lines.  We better have a few more rehearsals.  I better learn.  My.  Lines. Oh sweet jeebus, I need to learn my lines!

My first-time director was infinitely patient with me.  I would have lost my nut if I were directing a lazy actor like me, but he was calm & cool, patient & kind, positive & reassuring.  

I want whatever drugs he is on.

We held our pub night in October & it was a roaring success.  We made enough profit to cover almost all festival expenses.  We headed off to Festivus {a 6 hour drive away} & had a great weekend of fun.  The Five Foot Fury won an acting award, & {despite all evidence to the contrary, as is normally a humble person} turned Diva on us immediately, demanding special treatment & amusing us all greatly with her proclamations of "Don't you know who I am?  I won an award!"

Our 6 hour trip turned into a 9 hour return due to snow, snow & more snow.  I can honestly say I have no interest in seeing the inside of a vehicle for months.  Months!

Last night, we performed at the Christmas party to a crowd of 150 very attentive, generous people who listened respectfully, laughed all over the place, & were one of the best audiences I have ever seen.  We performed in spite of a hockey game going on at the same time, noisy cooler motors cutting in & out, cell phones ringing in the audience, caterers clanging & banging every pot, pan, dish & warming tray they had, & several people arriving late to the party. 

& with that performance last night, we wrapped up another fall season of plays.  

I am tired.  I am sore.  I am hurt.  I am verra, verra thankful to be done.  

What did this experience teach me?  

  • My brain is no longer 18 {the last time I did a one woman show}.  
  • I should not split my focus between 2 plays or both will suffer.   
  • I'm not as good a director as I think I am.
  • BammBamm is a great director.
  • The Five Foot Fury is even funnier than I thought.
  • Sometimes, it is really gratifying to do something you've wanted for a long time.
  • There aren't enough words to describe how much I appreciate Mauve & her talents, some learned from her momma The Queen of Halloween, & some developed on her own.  I am thrilled to have such an amazing stage manager!
  • As scary as it is to be on stage alone, with no one to rely on but yourself, sometimes yourself is all you need. 
  • I will continue to challenge myself, continue to do look for things that are more difficult & not take the easy way out.  The chance of failure is higher, but the rewards when successful are much sweeter.

1 comment:

Belle said...

Wow, this was very interesting. Congrats on all of it! It must be wonderful to act in a good play. I have never done that.