The dreaded moment has come again. A time when my mind gives way to blankness with the addition of things like costumes, lights, complete set and use of props. Add to that the fact that my brain has slowly been deteriorating over the past 77 years and you have a formula for chaos. I do know from experience that it will all come together in the end and when the final ingredient is added – the audience – that sparks will fly and all will be well with the world again.
Today we’re scheduled for a six hour time slot. Thoughts of dehydration, actually breaking a leg and confusion come to mind. Did I mention I’m old? However there is something about being on stage that is timeless. You can become another person for a short time and take on a persona unrecognizable to your own. The roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd – or something like that.
Being a writer, I have a tendency to add my own words to the script. I’ve been know to edit (improvise) on the spot which might be good if I were doing a one woman show, but there are eleven other cast members counting on my getting it right so they don’t miss their cues and drop their lines. There are also tech people trying to follow the script for their cues, a director that has worked so hard to make you look good and an audience that expects so much from you.
Being a writer, I also know what goes into writing. You spend hours looking for just the right words and melding them together so they flow properly. You create interesting characters which influence the story. It’s like a kick in the pants to the playwright if you don’t say them the way they’re written. With that in mind, I’m striving to do so, but my brain doesn’t always cooperate. Therein lies the run – I mean rub!
So when I hear the phrase, “break a leg,” I now take it literally. My bones have become victim to osteoporosis, so words like that mean something entirely different then they did ten years ago.
I ask myself why I continue to put myself through this. Why would any sane person submit themselves to such torture? I guess common sense would tell me to stop making a fool of myself – to stop trying to prove something – to check in to a psych ward – or to simply sit in my rocking chair and waste away. Well, those who know me will tell you that I refuse to waste away. The scales are proof of that.
I will always have a piece of my heart connected to the theatre. I will never stop performing before a live audience even if I have to resort to playing the corpse. The lure of this craft is so enticing. Once you’ve experience it, you can never let it go.