Friday, February 6, 2009
So the curtain fell on Stepping Out for the final time last weekend. Can't say I'm sad about that.
It was a tough show. Usually I feel somewhat bittersweet at the end of a run, but this show was so draining that I was ready to let it fade away. I could spend hours discussing all the problems behind the scenes (oh wait, I've done that!) but I'll just say here that the drama backstage was more interesting, compelling and entertaining that what happened on stage.
My biggest complaint had to be with the script itself. When you audition for a show you're not familiar with, you are certainly taking a chance that it won't be that great - either that you won't personally care for the story or that it won't be all that well-written. Both were true in this case. I never grew to care much about any of the characters, including my own. That is not good. I wish there was at least one character I loved or loathed. No such luck.
But there's always an up side. I learn something about myself and others with every show I do, and this one came through in that regard. So rather than share all the ugliness that we endured in the wings, I'll let you in on the life lessons I've snared this time around.
1. You can really, really like to do something, do it often, and still be really bad at it.
2. Tap dancing is harder than it looks.
3. People always know when you are talking about them behind their backs.
4. Audiences know when cast members are not getting along.
5. Some folks are just plain mean.
6. Most people do not appreciate it when you try to improve things - especially if your actions draw attention to the fact that they are not doing their job.
7. Everything to be printed should be proofread by several people.
8. I tend to judge people by their appearances, even though I will swear I don't.
9. I need praise, I thrive on applause, and I'm much more vain than most people who know me realize.
10. I simply want to be in charge of everything. If everyone else were as perfect as I am, all would well.
We had elections for our theater's Board of Directors. We have a new president who has lots of interesting ideas, and it seems a new era is underway. It's exciting, but more than a little intimidating. Will I perform again? Of course. (See #9 above.) But in the meantime I'm enjoying working behind the scenes to make this company successful, and to (hopefully) ensure that our upcoming productions go more smoothly than this one did.
So I'm lined up to costume our next show (the dark and edgy Cabaret) and I'm hoping to kick up a publicity committee. Keeps me off the streets, I suppose. I guess the theater's not a bad place for me. I can play and pretend, wear a mask. I can learn to tap dance and sing in harmony and maybe even keep my mouth shut when I should.
Those of us who love the theater can't always explain why. What I've learned so far, from the first time I stood in the dark wings, waiting for an entrance, to the last time I took a curtain call, is this: the theater is my teacher. And the lessons I learn are certainly worth the price of admission.