My first foray into the world of Community Theater has been quite… well, “dramatic”. I finally whipped up the courage to audition way back in November, which seems like a lifetime ago now. Terrified that I wasn’t “cool enough” to hang out with hip theater folk, I circled the building twice before finally parking and going in. I saw the dude with the shocking pink chunk of hair standing straight up in the middle of his head, but it wasn’t until I saw this couple… one really tall lady, and one short with a fancy, sequined eye patch that I almost turned around and went home. I mean, no way, am I cool enough to hang out with people dashing through the world wearing a bedazzled eye patch.
But I did it. I went in and sat very quietly among the confident and often loud group of oddballs who all seemed to know each other. The director was kind and we didn’t have to audition in front of each other so that helped.
I walked out of there that night feeling quite proud of myself. I had no way of knowing whether I might get a part or not, but I was proud of myself. I had done something that terrified me and had not embarrassed myself doing it… at least I don’t think so. At least I didn’t vomit or poop my pants or anything.
Then in the throes of my over-anxious, anal personality disorder and in the interest of full disclosure, I emailed the director to tell her I had two out-of-town trips planned in November, but that one could be easily rescheduled, “would that be a problem?” Note to self: do not tell decision-makers this until AFTER they offer you the part, job or whatever it may be.
Two days later, literally bursting out of my skin, I had to know something soon or I would die; I emailed the director to ask if she had decided yet… I will never know for sure whether she was just letting me down gently, but she said that my days out-of-town would be a problem and she decided to “ask me to try again soon”. Very sweet. Very supportive. But I was devastated.
I called my husband and he offered to cancel the one trip we were still planning – three days in Savannah to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary.
So I emailed the director and said, “good news, we are cancelling our trip. I am free!” to which she replied: “I’m so sorry but I’ve already offered the part to someone else.”
Well, I was grief-stricken, I tell you. I cried. More than once. I could take not getting a part because there were better choices. I would certainly want them to choose the best cast, but to not get a part that should have been mine because of this snafu? Well, I couldn’t bear it.
Then, MAJOR PLOT TWIST, I awoke the next morning with swollen eyes to an email from the director that said the other girl couldn’t take the part because her work schedule had changed and the ball was now back in my court! Saints be praised. Yay me! I should have sent her boss some flowers for screwing up her work life.
So now, lucky me, I gave up three wonderful days in glorious Savannah, celebrating a special occasion with my tight-ass husband footing the bill and unable to complain about every nickel we spent to toil six days a week, for up to 25 hours, in a cold basement, rehearsing lines until my ears bled.
But the drama didn’t end there. Upon arrival to the theater for the first time, I discovered that the director had cast a mere child as my love interest. I am a well-preserved lady of a certain age – 47-years-old to be exact – I don’t acknowledge that easily. This young man was in his early 20’s and could pass for 12-years-old if he had to. I can assure you he was still being carded to buy liquor and those days are a distant memory for me.
So now, I am a fish out of water, surrounded by really cool, interesting people who I’m certain don’t like me (for no other reason than I am certain that no one likes me in any social situation), and apparently am supposed to play a pedophile, as I say to this boy-child that I want to jump his bones.
Two weeks of that, and the young stallion dropped out of the play. No one knows the “real reason”, though I am pretty sure it was because he was freaked out having to make sexy talk with his mother.
So a new “Clive” was cast and I could breathe a sigh of relief. He was still younger than me, but the age difference wasn’t as obvious, and I no longer looked like a child molester.
THEN, two days before Opening Night and another cast member was hospitalized and out of the show for the entire run. So a NEW “Harvey” was cast with ONE REHEARSAL before we opened. Are you kidding me? As if I wasn’t nervous enough with people who I’d been rehearsing with for two months, now Uncle Harvey is a man I just met, who will obviously be with a script on stage part of the time and when unsure of his lines is quite fond and confident in ad libbing whatever pops into his head.
I am not a confident actor. Can you tell? And now I have to potentially just free-wheel it onstage with a new actor? OMG.
THEN two days after that, the Assistant Stage Manager crashed her car into a light pole and was unable to return. So again, lovely strangers (to me) stepped in to fill her role backstage.
We are halfway through the run. The show is awesome and everything has worked beautifully. Uncle Harvey is “off-book” and everything that needs to get done is being done. Now if we can all just make it through the last four shows with life and limb intact. Whew! I didn’t expect most of the drama to be OFF stage!