Monday, December 20, 2010

Bowing Out

Sitting in Twiggs Coffeehouse on a misty, rainy SoCal December Monday. It's so cozy in here, sipping my aesthetically pleasing hot chocolate with the perfect swirl of cream, nibbling a crunchy sprinkle-covered star, listening to Sam Cooke and Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra. Amazingly, not Christmas standards. Just standards.

Something about this place gives me a hankerin' to blog, perhaps to make up for the many hours and days I spent in here grading 10 years ago when there were no blogs to help one procrastinate.

Feeling a bit wrecked today--went to bed at 10:00, unable to keep my eyes open another second, and then popped awake at 1:00. And that was it for the night, somehow. This morning I went for a massage, which would have been entirely wonderful if not for the last 10 minutes, when my shoulders started to sting and burn and cramp from the inside out. Lactic acid in my muscles? Who knows.

So, the show is done. And I am proud to say I got through it without a single dropped line, a single pitchy shriek. The biggest compliment I got was that my backup singers on my big number--despite threats from Director D--whispered yesterday that they didn't plan to sing at all because it sounded better when I did it alone. Which is to say, they trusted me not to @#$%&* up the show that their relatives were paying to see, which meant a lot.

Doing the show was incredibly bonding for the ten of us, which is saying something because since September D has made every effort to keep us apart. Until this week, for instance, we didn't even know each other's last names. Each night, we warmed up together with scales and vocal games, and just before show time, we closed our eyes and joined hands and called up the blessings of the theater gods. And then we went out and--in D's words--"totally killed it." Really, it's nothing short of a miracle how polished we were, since we never even managed a dress rehearsal.

For some reason, maybe because there's now no reason to hold back, I'm feeling a lot of anger towards D and our "stage manager" still. Last night, he couldn't even bring himself to hold my hand during the curtain call like everyone else, but kept flinging it back to my side like he'd found it damp and nasty on the sidewalk. And that was in front of the entire audience. There's certainly no love lost between us. He didn't speak to me or look me in the eye for the entire run. And I almost lost my temper yesterday when D--for the fourth day in a row--shoved a ridiculous clipboard into my hand backstage and reminded me that it was "my responsibility" to get all the release forms for David's video. A video that she owns and will solely profit from. Like I have nothing else to do except, hello, put on a two-hour show in her name. Not only did she make an interminable "welcome speech," but we had to wait for our bows until she came on stage and stood in the center and we clapped for her magnificence. And last night, the stage manager presented her with a framed "award" just for being her before we could take our bows! The best example of what she's like came on opening night, when I was in full character, doing a monologue and waving my feather boa around, and she shouted from the audience, "Sam! Fix your dress!" Like I was giving everyone a peep show, in my opaque black leggings. Forget the possibility of distracting me--doesn't the audience deserve to watch the scene without wondering "Who the hell is Sam?"

So you can see I have a bit of bitterness to work through. The cast kept saying "I'm just so grateful she gave me the opportunity to be in the show." Yeah, yeah. But it goes both ways. I worked hard for her, and the occasional compliment thrown my way would have gone a long way toward securing my loyalty and goodwill. The night before opening night, I blanked on my solo and she stood up and started screaming and screaming. I don't even know what she was saying--it was just roaring in my ears. I went to my next scene with my heart pounding, feeling like I might throw up. I did my stage fall and busted open my knee, blood everywhere. Backstage before notes, I burst into tears, so suddenly that two of my castmates asked "Sam? Are you just acting?" We were called to notes and I snuffled quietly, embarrassed and miserable. D and C stood up there and gave notes and simply pretended that I was not crying. That kind of did it for me.

I need a few days to recover, but I would do it all over again for the joy of the audience.

8 comments:

Logical Libby said...

I know she's a woman, but D stands for "dick" right? Or maybe "doucharella."

Sam said...

LOL, Libby! :)

Stephanie said...

Well, she got at least two things right: she hired you and you "totally killed it".

Caroline said...

D-mented! D-spicable! I'd like to give her a few notes of my own. Grr.

Seriously -- teachers don't even call out from the audience during first-grade recitals.

Jen said...

How about "D-one with her"? Sage would like that.

I'm so glad that you got the love you deserve from the audience (and your back-up singers!).

xo

Jennifer said...

Are you sure her name isn't B?? Oh my! I couldn't do that. I would be a hot mess all the time. I'm a crier and get my feelings hurt easily. You are one tough cookie! I think you should have yelled something equally ridiculous when she was getting her plaque. Sheesh!

Sam said...

Hee hee, I'm enjoying these loyal and supportive comments more than you can imagine, girls! :)

Oh yes, I am definitely a crier, too. :) Very proud of myself for getting through the actual performances with no yelling or tears! :)

Michelle said...

Some people don't get the whole words of affirmation thing. She's too busy trying to get all the credit herself. Too bad. She's just jealous of you and your awesomeness. :) Congratulations on a big success. Love ya.