Friday, September 30, 2011

Parts will fail... yeah whatever

A couple of friends' trials and tribulations with health and well-being have gotten me thinking.  I know, dangerous stuff, that thinking.  I'm thinking I'm very blessed.

Blessed to be Ignorant: You know how WebMD can be for some people?  They look up every relatively mild symptom, find it under a deadly condition and freak out? And then they post to social media and get attention from their friends and family in the form of worried prayers that the 'afflicted' person is not, in fact, dying?  Now imagine a person with those hypochondriac-needs-attention tendencies, but who's had extensive medical training. He doesn't NEED WebMD to come up with terrible conditions or mysterious symptoms. He can self-diagnose independent of the Internet, and does so with gusto.  Symptoms and tests and procedures galore, all posted in social media for friends and family to latch onto and offer 'support.'

Blessed to have a high pain tolerance: How about the person who can't do anything because his knees hurt?  So he sits at home and complains via social media that he wishes he could do this or that, but can't.

Blessed to be ornery:  The person who had her knee replaced but was afraid of the pain of rehab.  So she scooted around in a wheelchair, popped too many anti-anxiety meds, refused to do the prescribed rehab exercises, and now can barely walk.

Orneriness is a toughie:  A friend of a friend in England sank into utter despair when her eyesight failed.  She just shut down and waited to die. And then died.  I never met her personally, but it still broke my heart that she wasn't strong enough to move beyond the use of her eyes.  Granted, I still have good eyesight so I can't truly relate, but I have had friends over the years who were mostly or completely blind, a recent condition for some of them, lifelong for others.  They live full, almost normal lives.  But now I have another friend struggling with her failing eyesight, and it's heartbreaking again to see her giving up.  I do know her personally, and I know she's strong and feisty, but she's having a hard time moving beyond the use of her eyes.

Y'all, this is my personal vow.  The only way my body is ever going to keep me from living my life and doing the things I want to do is if it's deadAnd even dead there are things I'd like to do.  My knees may fail; I'll replace 'em.  My elbow might tear; I'll be a lefty again for a while. I might lose my hearing; I'll brush up on my sign language.  I might lose my sight; I'll fumble around and ask for help. That painful clicking in my shoulder might be something bad, but I've not yet let it interfere with my life.  Parts are bound to fail, but I'll get over it and move on.  That's a promise to ME.

We are NOT guaranteed healthy bodies.  What we choose to do with our imperfect, failing bodies is ultimately more a matter of attitude than actual health.  Which means we can CHOOSE to live a fulfilling, mostly complaint-free life, even in an imperfect, malady-afflicted body.

For some refreshing contrast:

Angelica's leg was shattered in a car accident three years ago. She lives with a great deal of pain and chases around a 3-1/2-year-old, but she lives her life without excuses!

Ben had a softball-size tumor removed from his brain.  He posted before and after brain scans, and said his incision was tender. Didn't complain about the awful headaches he'd had leading up to the diagnosis, didn't complain about recovering from brain surgery.  Lives every day to its fullest.

My very own mom had knee-replacement surgery in July.  She has a good balance of pain tolerance and orneriness, and powered through rehab, gritted her teeth through range of motion exercises, and two months later is almost completely back to normal.  Better normal, since her knee works!

Added 10/2:  The director of PlazaCo's Annie, Taffy Geisel, has muscular dystrophy.  She's an actor, director, playwright, and no-excuses kind of lady.  Loves her work and doesn't let physical limitations slow her down.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mrs. Greer, if you please

Holy cow nugget schnitzel balls!  I so totally did not expect to get a call, so I really wasn't paying attention to the time.  This time my phone did ring, but it was in the other room.  Sunshine rushed it to me and I answered.

I GOT CAST!!!! As Mrs. Greer, the head maid in the Warbucks household. They don't have a part for Sunshine on stage, but would like her to help backstage if she'd like.  She's fine with that.  I think she's been nipped by the Drama bug (finally!!!) and really just wants to be a part of it, in whatever capacity.

First rehearsal is this Saturday. I'm kind of in shock.

**EDIT 9/27/11:  I'll also be playing Frances Perkins, a member of FDR's cabinet, and a Hooverville resident.
Click here to see the full cast list.  Perkins is actually a more substantial part.  Greer is on stage more, but Perkins has more to say/sing. YAY!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A learning experience

So callbacks were a learning experience! Learned a short bit of choreography and had to perform it in groups of four. Then cold-read four two-word lines for Mrs. Pugh with a few other people. Felt seriously out-classed, as everyone there was just amazing. Highly doubtful I'll be cast (too many people better and waay more experienced than me who really deserve a part), but grateful for the experience! This was my first ever audition for a musical, and it was really cool to watch the process and hang with other people who love live theatre! Will definitely audition again, and perhaps see about starting something similar closer to home (this would be a 40-minute drive for rehearsals and performances).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Called back!

We were told we'd be called by 9pm tonight if we were invited to the callbacks on Saturday.  Sunshine and I  were pretending that we didn't notice it was approaching 9:00 with no word, but I know we were both very aware of the time. 

At 8:49, my phone, which was sitting right beside me, beeped that I had a new message, even though it hadn't rung.  But I listened to the message, and it was one of the producers asking if Sunshine and I could come to callbacks, and could I give her a call to let her know I got the message.  So I called right back!

Woot!  We're supposed to wear comfy clothes and be prepared to dance.  
Sunshine and I did the drop-it-like-it's-hot dance in the hallway.  So excited!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Audition is done

Auditioned tonight. I put Miss Hannigan as my first choice, but I'll take any part, honestly.  Even Warbucks!  But we'll see.

My turn was right after Jan, a woman probably in her late 50s that the director and her assistants knew by name, and were gushing about. "I can't remember the name of the nun you played in Nunsense in Fort Worth!" and "Oh, I saw you in Follies!". She sang a fabulous song and cold-read for Miss Hannigan and was amazeballs awesome. I knew then I wouldn't get the part of Miss Hannigan, but was still hopeful for perhaps Lily or Grace. So I bravely stood (in my Miss Hannigan getup) when my name was called, gave the pianist the sheet music for "Little Girls," and prepared to sing.

It turns out that as much prep as I did, as much practice, as many vocal exercises, I did not prepare for singing with a live pianist. She was unfamiliar with the song, so it sounded awful. And so I was awful. I wanted to ask if I could use my own recording of the piano, but didn't want to hurt the lady's feelings.

I think I did okay on the cold read, though. So I'm hoping that because the pianist was obviously struggling with the song, maybe I'll get a callback anyway, perhaps for one of the household servants, or a Hooverville bum. They'll call by 9pm tomorrow. I'm 50% optimistic.

I'm proud of myself for doing it, proud of Sunshine, too (she went after me and did great!). But next time I will have my music on CD, to eliminate the if-factor of the pianists skill.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Went to see Treasure Island

Attended the matinee performance of Treasure Island at Plaza Theatre Company, good Saturday afternoon entertainment, AND we'll already have been there so Wednesday's auditions will be a little less stressful.

What a great show!  Very well done!  The set design was really clever; I was uber impressed!  Norseman was really impressed with the sword fights!  Everything was wonderful: the costumes were amazing, the lighting was perfect, and the performances were superb!  The young man who played Jim Hawkins... wow.  He's 14, but carried the entire play on his shoulders and did it so well you'd think he was a professional actor.

This time I was still wistful, but it was tempered, knowing that I'm gonna do my best to be on that stage soon. The theatre is really small, which is reassuring and intimidating at the same time.  Even a sold-out show is only 140 or so, but there's little room for error since the audience is so close to the action.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thinking about Annie

Auditioning, that is.  For the musical production of Annie at Plaza Theatre Company in Cleburne.

For years I've attended live theatre performances and sighed wistfully, wishing I could get involved in dramatic performance again.  I was more than a little envious of my baby sister, who got to work with Theatre Tuscaloosa and appeared in The Music Man and How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying).  I made the twelve-hour drive for both shows so I could see her on stage while I sighed wistfully from the audience.

A few weeks ago, my mom took me to see Motherhood the Musical in Fort Worth.  Once again, I  vicariously soaked up every crazy minute of the show, and on the way home expressed my wish that we had a community theatre close by.

I guess my mom was listening and did a bit of research over the next week or so.  When we went over there today, she handed me a sheaf of papers she'd printed off the internet, with details about this little theatre in Cleburne.  As soon as I saw the audition info, I immediately thought (and said aloud) "I want to be Miss Hannigan!"

But it's been close to twenty years since I was involved in dramatic productions, if you don't count the kids' talent show acts LOL.  But as Norseman reminded me this afternoon, I wished a long time to get a tattoo, and was totally stoked when I finally did it!  And I said for years I wanted to pierce my nose and was stoked when I finally did it!  In other words, I should quit wishing and just do it!