Monday, June 23, 2003

Everything's Coming Up Roses...

How do you know if you are really and truly a Performer at heart? When the simple fact of seven or eight people watching you makes you sing and dance better. Yesterday we had a dress-rehearsal with a test audience, and I hit most of my marks, remembered most of my dance steps, and remembered to sing bass most of the time. I got all of my words right (except for this one song at the end that I haven't practiced at all because I didn't know that it was going to be reprised in the last act, and the first time it's done I'm not in the scene... but we all suck at that reprise, it needs LOTS of work, or else an application of scissors), and was able to count intervals and keep on rhythm without getting distracted by other people's movements or lyrics. I even managed to improvise proper blocking for myself, and to deliver my one incomprehensible line in a such a manner that it actually made sense to me for the first time. It felt really good.

I think it helped that one of the audience-members was someone I have a big crush on, and one was a friend of mine who is a Theatre Queen of the first water, and one was a nun we all know and love... such people do tend to keep one on one's toes, trying extra hard, going that extra mile. But really, I think it was the fact that none of the audience was actually involved in the production, they weren't there taking notes on how awful we all are, they laughed at the jokes that we've heard so many times they aren't funny any more, they clapped at the songs that we no longer appreciate as songs.

It also helped that I was "in character" and masked somewhat by my costume and wig — but not makeup, and I didn't even bring tights or shoes because I didn't know we were doing dress rehearsal... in fact, one of my biggest problems with this production has been my inability to absorb everything that people are saying about various topics... I didn't know about the reprise in the last act, even though it's written quite clearly in black-and-white in the script, just one paragraph before my line; I knew we were having a test audience some time or other, and I knew we were having a full dress-rehearsal with makeup next Monday (I even wrote it in my Palm Pilot), but somehow this Sunday's dress rehearsal with test audience flew under my radar.

Oh, well... it'll all be over soon enough, and I'll be back to my humdrum existence, with time on my hands. HOORAY!

As much fun as this has been, I don't think I'll ever do the Musical again. It has been too much a drain on my time... and I'm only chorus and didn't have that much to do. At the beginning, when we were rehearsing once a week, it wasn't so bad... kind of inconvenient sometimes, but I managed. Then at two times a week, not so hard since for the first few weeks I didn't have to come on Wednesdays because I wasn't a principal. But the four times a week is simply too much for me.

There's this psychic distance between Oakland and San Francisco, inclusive of the Bay Bridge and its inevitable traffic but multiplied by exponents of inconvenience, having to run straight from work to the gym to the rehearsal with only so much time to eat and pee (and that time is so often taken up by unusually dense bridge-traffic, as it was Thursday)... I'm running myself ragged.

I've found this same inconvenience when I've done other Living Sober service, too... when it's just a matter of showing up for a Follies or a garage sale or Drag Bingo, it's not so bad... but if there are committee meetings and planning meetings and having to go to the City more than once in a given week, it very quickly gets to be too much for me. I don't live or work in San Francisco, I live and work in Oakland... and these two cities are a lot farther apart than they look on a map.

I am nevertheless looking forward to the Conference this year. Aside from working in the Musical, and taking part in the annual Drag Invasion (this year's theme is pretty easy, "We Are Not A Glum Lot," we just wear terribly festive outfits... last year we were "Streets of San Francisco," and I was Miss Union Square and spent absolute hours and miles of walking trying to collect shopping bags from all the stores there without spending a lot of money... it was a hell of a challenge and I ended up borrowing most of them from a guy who collects them and had all the shops I was afraid to go into, like Tiffany and Herm├Ęs), I am simply looking forward to being in the same building with a thousand or so other sober queers (or "GLBTs in Recovery," as we PC-ly say), socializing and attending workshops and so on and so forth. It is always a lot of fun.

So anyway, now all I have to do is get a pair of black flats, work on that one problem song, memorize my dance-step for the finale (it's a sort of cha-cha with an increase of tempo every two bars), and practice my solo song line, and I'm ready to go with this Musical. After having a tiny audience loving it so much, I look forward to doing this for a bigger one.

Because you know that bigger is always better.

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