October 29, 2011

Hello Darlin', Nice To See You

It's been a long time. I've been longing to take this up again, but so much time has passed and so much has happened that I haven't known how to sum it all up. So, I'm just going to post the last thing I started but didn't finish, and then I'm going to carry on.

I love to sing. With every fiber in my being I love to sing. And for as long as I can remember I have longed to sing. To sing well. As well in front of people as I do in my car or in my living room with my Xbox Karaoke game when no one else is home. All my growing-up years I sang in some capacity - in choir, in small groups, in school play ensembles - in very safe and blendy environments. But also in all my growing-up years, and now into my grown-up years, I have longed to figure out how to release the sing-song beast that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is caged up inside me. Without fail, when I try to sing alone with anyone listening, I fear and tremble relentlessly. I have quite literally had experiences where a large number of people were present (think *church congregation*) and I opened my mouth to sing alone for them, and nothing came out of me but air. Soundless air. Ugh. The horror. The unforgettable horror. And yet, I have never been able to accept the idea that such experiences are my unchangeable destiny.

A little over two years ago, I started taking voice lessons. My goals were these: 1) To get to a point where I could sing in front of people and make sound come out, and 2) To audition for a musical. I wanted to learn to sing right, and I wanted to learn to sing well - or whatever "right and well" is for me. I wanted to learn how to manage the awful consequences of nerves that take over every time I open my mouth to sing. I am very okay with never being the worlds greatest solo performer, but I did (and do) want to be able to sing with confidence, in any given moment, the kind of song I was created to sing.

About a year into lessons, in the summer of 2010, I went to two terrifying musical auditions in one week. One was at the same theater where this whole blog began. The other was for a new community theater starting up very near my home. Somehow, for some absolutely inexplicable reason, I ended up being offered the female lead in the very popular, very beloved musical they had chosen for their inaugural production. Naturally, I accepted. Who wouldn't? I did it...performing 5 solos...sometimes in front of nearly 700 people.  And we got standing ovations. And yet, I could never shake the belief that I was in over my head. WAY over my head. That because it was a "new" theater, there weren't a lot of ideal candidates to choose from for the role, and I was chosen as the "least objectionable option." It was an amazing opportunity, a tremendous challenge that I managed to meet, and a brilliant addition to my resume. And yet, it was strangely debilitating. When it was over, I felt like I had barely survived, and I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out. There's no explanation for this reaction apart from madness...so I like to think I went mad for many, many months. I didn't know if I would EVER want to be on stage again.

But alas. I am vain. And needy. And like a child being forced to live among adults and behave in grown-up ways. And the time came when I did so want to be on stage again.

In the last several months I've attended many auditions and been through all kinds of absurd emotional nonsense. I recently almost didn't make it into another show. But an actress dropped out...and I slid in. There was a night that I was driving to rehearsal, and I was overcome with the sense that I was driving home. When I got to the theater, I knew I belonged. Like I was among people, who, whether friend or foe, were like me. Weird. Insecure. Wonderful.  I love it. And I want to go to a hundred auditions and maybe nail one of them and I want to write about it...for my own sanity and for my weird, insecure and wonderful friends.

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