Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wherein I Am A Great, Big Diva Baby

We are rehearsing in the theater now, and it's beautiful. John and I were talking about the magic of an empty theater; that if you just sit still you can almost hear the many, many shows that came before you, and smell the makeup, the paint, the sweat. Moxie is really lovely. We have a dressing room with honest-to-goodness stumpy bulbs surrounding the mirrors (I'll overlook that the men and women have to share) and black velvet curtains to enter and exit through. The house seats are green velvet and the stage is deep and black. The stage lights shine in my eyes and warm me to the bones, like theater lights are supposed to. Our show is listed on the marquee above the front door, and (glee!) our head shots are displayed on the wall near the theater entrance. Our band is in the house and sounding awesome.

I have been feeling cooperative and cheerful and tamping down my existential despair so that I don't miss a moment of this rare feeling, where I am an important cog in the theater machine.

Until late last night. I didn't quite make it. Our stage manager (who is now performing in the closing number and thinks it's oh-so-hilarious to change his line--directed at me--from "she asked me" to "that bitch asked me") asked us to stay late so he could finally--FINALLY--spike the stage with fluorescent tape for our placements. My big solo is the second-to-last number. Our director, who was guiding this task, instructed him to spike the tape for my solo in the farthest left corner upstage. I am not exaggerating, Readers. If I take one step back, I'll be behind the curtain.

Let me further explain. In this number, I am the only person who sings. Even the band doesn't play. I have two "back-up singers" who repeat a single word at the end of each line. Here is how the stage is arranged:

--The entire cast is on stage, for no reason I can discern.
--My "back-up singers" are standing downstage center, with as much freedom to move as they want.
--I am standing in the back left corner, BEHIND A TABLE WITH TWO BIG GUYS SITTING AT IT. Another burly guy stands flanking my left hip, stoic and unmoving. I have been instructed to "dance, work the audience, tease my man and generally act a vixen" while belting my lungs out from the back left corner of the stage. When this command came down (my director was not even sitting in the theater seats at the time, but on the far left steps, on the floor, folding programs,) I shrieked:

"I am having a terrible, horrible, no-good very-bad day!!!!"

And just like with Alexander, "No one even answered."

Only what I actually shrieked was "Why don't you just have me sing it from behind the curtain???"

The result was the same.

They excused us shortly after. I ran blindly to the exit without saying goodbye to anyone. As I started the car, the tears were already rolling. I sobbed, hiccuping, the whole way home, the traffic lights blurry. I sobbed for the four months I've been putting up with this crap. I sobbed for the fact that my friends and family won't get to see me have my moment. I sobbed because I am so afraid that I'm just not good enough, and bottom line: that's why she has to hide me.

When I got home and David opened the door to my raccoon face, he was livid. "You are quitting right now!" I lay awake most of the night, heart pounding. But I'm not going to quit. I'm just going to hope there's some kind of theater karma and that someday, somehow, I'll feel like I'm doing myself, my director and everyone else proud out there.


Logical Libby said...

You know, once the show is going, you can do whatever you want... They aren't going to drop the curtain on you. And if he audience goes along with you, they'll change it to get the same reaction later...

Just sayin'.

Stephanie said...

We see you, on stage, behind the curtain or around back; we see you.

Also, you're gonna rock the house my friend, no doubt about it, period.

Laural Out Loud said...

I was thinking the same thing as Logical Livvy- go where you want! At this point, you really owe them nothing. But no matter where you are, you're going to be great!

Jen said...

What they said! What smart friends you have! You rock, and the rest of them can just go to ... Australia! (No offense meant, David! It's from the book....)

Michelle said...

I really like how Logical Libby thinks. I guess she has that name for a reason.

Samantha said...

I, too, will give a shout-out to Miss L-Libby, though she probably won't see it. :) What she said calmed me down in an instant. Just knowing that no one could yell at me during the actual show gave me the confidence to get sassy. :)