Saturday, December 7, 2013

in which i do something i haven't done in 10 years

look.  i'm a coward.

but two days ago i learned the local theater was performing Les Mis, the musical i've obsessed over for twenty years.  and i've been saying i want to do another show.  and i have this small window in which i only have one kid and i'm not pregnant, and could possibly do a show.  and hello.  it's Les Mis.  so i had no excuses, other than that i was terrified and didn't want to do it.

i wanted to do it, but i only wanted to do it if i knew i could do it well and get a part.  and how could i prepare for an audition in two days?  most people had known for two months!  i thought of lots of reasons why i shouldn't do it, but they mostly involved fear.  and the reasons i should do it involved knowing that i'd regret it if i didn't, and wanting to be an example for ellery.  also, i kept thinking of sara.  she would've wanted me to do it.  she would've auditioned with me.

so i found a song to sing and i sang.  lucky i married a fellow theater kid/choir nerd, because sam was ever the helpful critic, coaching me on vibrato, where to pause, where to crescendo.  and do you know what?  i wish i would've learned about this two months ago.  because maybe instead of singing for 12 hours straight, i would've prepared a song and then given my voice a rest before the audition.  as it happened, i probably way overused my voice (which hasn't really been used in the theater way in a long time), and by this afternoon i was hoping i would still have a voice.

i still had a voice.

i nailed my song.

what is it about performance time that makes it all come together?  i hadn't had one solid practice run, but throw me in front of a couple directors and the nervous energy turns into adrenaline that catapults me through.  i always did better when i was actually performing for an audience, rather than just rehearsing.  and oh my gosh.  i missed that anxious, excited, i'm-going-to-throw-up feeling you get right before a performance.

so i auditioned.  and can we talk about how many others showed up to try out?  at least 150 people - all ages, from all over the area.  i overheard two girls from tualatin, a couple from albany.  apparently everyone wanted to be part of this show.  my favorite was seeing the children - hopeful, ballsy kids who sang their hearts out.  i sang right after an adorable eight year-old boy who whispered to me just before he went on, "i'm nervous."  i whispered back, "we all are, dude!"  right?  we're all nervous.

in fact, i'd never been so nervous for an audition before.  the only other director i've ever worked with is Ms. Hughes, the drama teacher who ignited the flame that is my love for musical theater.  anyone who did drama at pioneer can tell you - she was outta this world incredible.  i did my first show with her when i was ten, and i was only asked to be part of it because i was friends with her son.  he needed a dance partner, and my sisters and brother were in the show, so it worked.  by the time i had to audition for any shows, she already knew what i could do.  there wasn't that pressure to show her everything i was capable of in two short minutes.  i felt that pressure today.

also?  porterville was a little pond.  i was disappointed if i didn't get the lead.  now?  i'll be thrilled to even get a callback.  in my little group of ten that i auditioned with, there were two women about my age with phenomenal vocal talent.  average that out for each group of ten, and that's thirty women who can sing.  and i mean sing.  so if i'm considered at all, i'll be stoked.  if they ask me to be in the chorus?  amazing!  if i'm actually considered for a singing part?  shut up, i'm fainting.

oh also, my favorite part of the day - we'd all been there almost 3 hours and they still had over 100 people to audition.  so the director told us he was going to cut us off once he'd heard enough.  i was holding out a note and frantically trying to remember what the next lyric was.  i started panicking, hoping it would come to me before i finished that note, when he said, "that's enough, thank you!"  and i was saved.  and i should've mentioned that the walls were covered with posters advertising old shows.  at the end of my song, i happened to notice the poster for seussical, performed in march 2009.  sara's show.  she was a bird girl.  and watching her perform, goodness, you knew she was having a blast.  and i almost cried.  because really, i didn't get long enough with her.  none of us did.

okay, that's enough.  except this: sam rewarded me for my bravery with a DQ blizzard.  ice cream is good for vocal chords, yes?  ha.

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