Me in To Kill a Mockingbird circa 2003.
I’m a bit of a private person. When I go through things, few people know about them. By few I mean literally 1 or 2. To say that it is hard to get close to me is probably an understatement. I have trust issues in the weirdest way and it’s hard for me to emotionally lean on others. However, for years (from the age of 5-24) I acted in quite a number of school plays, and even got to be on stage at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC. It was a way for me to share emotion safely. I was playing (or is it hiding behind?) a character. I got to release my emotions on the stage, leaving it all there and no one had to know the real pain/excitement/sadness that I had experienced. It was safe.
However, a few of weeks ago I did something completely involving the stage that was completely unsafe. I heard the whisperings going around about this show, Listen To Your Mother, and that auditions were coming up soon. I thought about how fellow blogger MrsTDJ did it last year and how it kind of seemed therapeutic for her. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there because of issues with the now 3 year old, but I was able to catch her performance on YouTube. So I thought hey, why not, and heeeyyyy wouldn’t it totally be cool to do this with Mahoganie? After all, we’ve shared stories about our mothers, and now being mothers, for years. Plus she’s a writer, so this would probably be her thing. Listen To Your Mother is a show where women (and men!) share personal stories about motherhood whether it’s about being a mother themselves, their mother, whatever, as long as motherhood is the central theme. The great part? The piece does not have to be memorized. It’s a reading. Awesomeness! The news that makes me want to be a hermit and crawl back into my shell? The readings are personal stories. Your personal story. You write it, it’s your life. Then you read it in front of 300 people. Oh…ok.
Auditioning for the show was a little like flying in a plane for me. I book the tickets month in advance and I’m like oh it’ll be fine. Then the day of the flight as I’m bording the plane I hyperventilate repeating *oh crap! oh crap! oh crap!*. Then I hold on to the armrests of the seat real tight, losing circulation in my fingers until we are safely up in the air. And then I breathe. And then I’m happy I went to wherever the destination is, and it’s fine. So after Mahoganie agreed to audition with me I began scanning my blog looking for a piece to expand upon. The readings have to be 5 minutes long. No problem right? I couldn’t find one single entry I wanted to bring to the stage. From watching the videos I knew that a lot of the women did something humorous, and I love to make people laugh, so I tried my best to find something. Nope, wasn’t happening. Before I knew it it was the day of the audition and I was literally getting dressed and editing the piece I came up with as Mahoganie rolled up to my house to go.
The audition went fine (read: trainwreck). I was a mess. I apparently thought I was in a speed-reading contest because my piece didn’t even come up to 5 minutes although it was 5 min and 15 sec when I read it outloud to myself at home! Reading something so personal in front of two women that I respected but didn’t really know was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but just in that small amount of time I felt a weight begin to lift off of my shoulders. I needed that. I needed LTYM. I knew it, down in my spirit. After the auditions I prayed and said God, I feel like I need this. I feel like this story has to be told, so if it is your will, let it be. If it’s not your will and it’s not time for me to share this story, I respect that too.
And it was his will.
On Saturday, February 15 at about 9am I simultaneously got a call from Mahoganie and an email from Kate. Mine said congratulations. Mahoganie didn’t make it in this show. However, it wasn’t because her piece wasn’t brilliant. There were just some things they wanted her to workout before presenting it on stage. She seems to be at peace with it, and my wish is for her to audition for the Baltimore show as they also encouraged her to do. I read her piece and I think her story really needs to be told as well.
I’m crapping bricks. As soon as I came off of my high of saying really? Me? I was picked? Out of 30 something people, I was in the 12 they picked?? How is that possible? I came down off that high to Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! What did I just do? Who told me to audition for this and how do I get out of it? Of course I don’t really want to get out of this. Like I said, I need this. However, in my introverted nature I’m pretty sure I will be nervous about sharing my story. Not necessarily with the strangers in the crowd, but with those in my circle. I kind of wanted to keep the whole thing a secret, but I’ll also need to feel their strength that day.
If you can, please come out to the show! You can get tickets here. And if you want to be apart of the Baltimore show, I hear they may have a couple of audition spots open. It’s going to be an amazing show, this I know for sure. You can visit MrsTDJ’s blog to learn more about auditioning because she is producing the Baltimore show! How exciting! Even if you don’t audition for her, definitely go show her some love.
May 4, 2014
The Synetic Theater at Crystal City
1800 South Bell Street
Arlington, VA 22202