Opening Night

Here it is, another opening night. I’ve been on stage in over fifty productions in the past twelve years. It’s probably over seventy-five now, but I can’t keep track. It had been one of the driving forces of my life.

This show has welcomed me back to theatre, and I appreciate it. Yet it still feels very different from before. Less joyful. Less exciting. That, sadly, has more to do with me than the show.

There are wonderful moments: the camaraderie between the fellow cast, being up on stage in front of people, singing and (pretending to be) dancing.

For a time, performing was a very social thing for me. As I got better at it, realized that I had talent and natural instincts as a performer, I started to take it more seriously. I worked professionally around Central Florida for some time. Things started going south, I guess, when I got sick.

The illness was eventually diagnosed as RA, and I continue to struggle with joint paint, fatigue, and stiffness.

I started this post to just mention that I was happy to be doing a show again. But what I’ve realized is that I have baggage tied up in performing. Baggage I’m going to have to sort it, if I plan to continue doing this.

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Art is calling

There’s a piece I’m familiar with, a song called Art Is Calling for Me, lyrics by Harry B. Smith, music by Victor Herbert. It’s a fun sort of song, for a soprano (maybe a mezzo). Every once in a while that music will pop into my head. I first heard it in a concert, sung by a young woman who would enter and, after several years, leave my life. I think of it tonight.

I’ve grown fond of the yoga studio where I practice, as well as the people there. Once a month they do an open house, with live entertainment, food & drink, and, yes, artwork. It reminds me of setting up exhibitions for Orange County, back in a previous occupation.

In my seclusion, or self-imposed monastic existence (as I’ve taken to calling it), I’ve forgotten how much was a part of my life, and just how much I enjoy it.

Picasso was probably my favorite, and I did have a chance to see original sketches when curating the exhibitions. While in Amsterdam, I visited the Van Gogh museum. This is one of his that I really enjoyed.

Mostly now I read and write. I go to the movies maybe once a week, or every other week. But, slowly, I’m reentering the world of the arts. Visiting museums. Seeing shows. Listening to music that for a long time was painful to hear. Singing music that I hadn’t practiced in a long time. I guess art is calling…

My other things: theatre

Last week, I wrote about why I write. But there are a number of things that interest me, which is likely why I read so much. As I work on building my WordPress site into something that fully represents me, I wanted to lay out a few things that represent me.

For instance, I’ve been involved in theatre for over ten years now. I have two very clear memories from when I was a child, though I don’t remember exactly when these were. One was a show I was in.

I guess I was always in choirs, because I still sing today. Usually one or two days of practice every week, as well as singing on Sunday.

Anyway, in grade school (maybe first or second grade), I was in a production. I don’t know what it was, or what it was about. I just remember I had to be on stage shirtless. My little butterball self. I was some sort of aboriginal, or Pacific Islander. I wore a lei. (I’m very white, by the way. Perhaps at the time I had a tan.)

There were three of us, shirtless children on stage. The fact that I remember it even now should be some kind of indicator. As if that wouldn’t be scarring enough to a young psyche.

Then there’s the first show I remember seeing. It was when my dad was courting my stepmother, and we all went to see Grease, live on stage at a community theatre. Well, I walked out of that building saying, “What a waste of time. I would never sit through something live on stage again.”

It’s been over a hundred productions later of my own, as well as countless shows I’ve seen or sat in on for their rehearsals. I guess I can safely say: “Boy, was I wrong.”

IMG_2832It’s a joy for me. I love theatre, performing, seeing it, working on it. For over ten years now I’ve been goofing around, on stage. It’s really a wonderful thing.