Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A problem like Maria’s: not just a river in Egypt

(I wrote this in November or December 2005.... found it today amongst all kinds of junk on my computer and it made me giggle...)

In a way, it was just like motherhood. Or like my wedding. It was just like all the big moments in life. For me, being the lead in a show didn’t hit me till it was over… or almost over. Hiding behind the walls of the abbey just before I declared that the hills were alive for one last time, I suddenly thought, “Oh my God! I’m MARIA! MARIA!!!?? How did this happen?? What if I fall off the platform or trip down the stairs? What if I forget all the words? And did I ever even learn the dialogue? Who are all these women singing in Latin?” All that just moments before my cue.

Of course, throughout the rehearsal process friends checked in and see how I managing my time and maintaining what little sanity I’d hung onto. And with this role there were the Julie Andrews jokes and comparisons (no pressure there, Phoebe!). And even if I really try I can’t forget the 17 million times I’ve watched the movie version on DVD because that Maria seems to be the only person on earth who can chill out my toddler during a midnight freak out. Sprinkle in a rehearsal or two and I’d say the signs were there!

No, it was not subtle. And after all, I did indeed audition and accept the role. On many levels, of course, I knew I was playing Maria. And yet, I guess I didn’t. My denial must have been a coping mechanism. If I sat down and thought about it, if I really, truly examined what I was up against, I would have likely hovered in a corner for a few days until the production team gave up and got a replacement for me. So I happily (and probably ignorantly) went on my merry way learning lines (well, most of them!), dancing (okay, moving to music) and singing. And in the end, even after that last minute reality fright-fest, creating another show with the kind-hearted, hard working, and talented people of the Village Players was really quite a lovely time. It’s an experience I’ll carry with me forever and one I’ll always be grateful for.

So if you’re like me and you realized “Good lord! I’M the mama” only after your child was several days old, or “ Holy smokes! I’M the bride” right in the middle of your vows, the lead in a big musical is just right for you. You’re probably just crazy enough to get through it with your sanity!

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