Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sappy Re-Cappy Time

Another show is in the byukes...I mean, the books...

...a show that may have just topped all other show experiences I've had so far.

...the material was priceless.

...the cast was gorgeous, amazing, hysterical, talented, fun...

....the audiences LOVED it, and there isn't much better than playing for a crowd roaring with laughter.

...I learned some amazing things about myself and my confidence, and have so much gratitude for the supportive and edifying cast I was surrounded by.

...new and lasting friendships were created, and current friendships were strengthened.

...once again I was blessed with an absolutely DARLING co-star who is talented, funny, giving, and an absolute dream to work with.

....how often do you get to wear THESE kinds of costumes?

There's a part of me that genuinely wants to send a thank you note to every audience member – whether they be friend, family member or stranger – who came to see this show and helped make this one of my favorite show to date.

I know. I say that about all of them, right? Well, in my defense, it's not once been a lie.

If the shows I do and the casts I'm lucky enough to be onstage with keep one-upping each other like this, I don't think I'll be able to handle much more. My heart will just explode. Melodramatic? Maybe. But consider the source. :)

I honestly don't even know what to say....the words just aren't enough to explain what this was like. The book and the music that Mel Brooks came up with for this show are just SO freaking funny, and it was so invigorating to get to perform it onstage every night and have to just stand there and wait to say the next line while the audience doubled over laughing.

Working with tremendously talented and funny people...the ones who can stand there and look at you straight-faced while you try not to crack up onstage...is one of the best, most fun feelings in the world.

Hearing the audience crack up even more when you can't keep a straight face comes in as a close second.

I wish I could write something special to each and every cast member as well....because there wasn't ONE of them that didn't lift me up in one way or another every single night with kind words, a smack on the ass, a hug, making me laugh, etc. That's not an exaggeration, either.

After our last performance this past Sunday, I couldn't stop crying. It's not unusual for me to cry on the last day of a production's run. Of course I'm sad to see it end. I HATE striking the set immediately and systematically tearing down all of the physical aspects of the production so quickly. I both love and dread the cast dinner afterwards, because I know that I won't for sure see everyone again the next Thursday in preparation for another weekend of shows.

However, this was a whole new emotional level for me. Playing Ulla....wow. What a fun character that Swedish gal is. I had a few people who know the show well tell me that I "made her a different character" than they had seen previously, and that they liked the choices I made.

I feel like, since I am not the stereotypical Ulla, I was given the opportunity to tear down some pre-existing notions of what she should be like and how she should be played, and bring her down to earth (though still floating somewhere up in the air, I mean....she's not a rocket scientist) and make my own character. Our lone review of the show called her "the adorable blonde bombshell next door," which just made me feel good all over.

Yes, I had one minor meltdown when buying all the spandex accoutrements necessary for Ulla, but after that? Forget it. I got out there every night and sang "When You've Got it, Flaunt it!" and I meant every word of it. I felt good. I felt strong and sexy and better than I can remember feeling about myself in years.

I cried on Sunday because of how far I've come. I never would've played Ulla six months ago. Hell, I may never play her again. But I did it. I earned it. I busted my butt, I sweated in the gym, I did the lunges and lifted the weights and cursed at the elliptical machine, and I did it.

The reward has been incredible. Something I can't even describe because it's so personal to me. That feeling is such a high that I was heartbroken to say goodbye to Ulla. But a part of her will always be inside me, and as long as I keep working hard and reaching towards my goal, she'll always be there as a reminder of the rewards of my hard work.

Also....I learned a lot and remembered a lot of things about myself in this process. I was reminded, thanks to a completely drama-free cast, that we do theatre because we love it. Not because we get some stupid Column award nominations or reviews or critical acclaim. But because we love being onstage and creating something that others can enjoy and escape into for a few hours in a dark theatre. A place where people can laugh until they cry, and where we can use the talents we've been so blessed with.

I've also...and this will be the subject of another blog for another day, I think, thanks to the length of this one...started going back to church with my husband, thanks to an invitation weeks ago from my dear "Leo." My heart has been so full ever since we've been going, and I just didn't even realize how much I've missed that as a part of my life until we went back. I've been given a very large and very important reminder that all things do happen for a reason, and I wouldn't (and shouldn't) be doing any of this if not for the grace of God.

As our director reminded us each evening, "Your talent is your gift from God, and how you use that talent is your gift back to Him."

I'm tired of all the "business" of this business, and I'm tired of caring what the theatre community at-large may or may not think. I do this for the love of it and for the relationships that I am blessed with as a result of each show, and to use the gifts that I've been given.

The post-show blues for this one are deep, but it's the best kind of blues I think I could ever have. Because these people aren't going anywhere. They're my friends. They are a part of my family....an ever-growing family of crazies that all do this and get exhausted and spend night after night at late rehearsals and long dance calls. Family who understands that complaining about it doesn't mean we hate it --- but just the opposite. There's no people like show people, and I love them! :)

And until our reunion(s) -- because if I know this group, we won't be able to stay away from each other for long -- I'll miss you all terribly!