I truly, madly, deeply love it.
I was in the Drama Club in my small, private (Baptist!) middle school and loved everything about it. We did four shows when I was in the seventh and eighth grades: Our Town (sentimentally still my favorite play), The Importance of Being Ernest (I was the understudy to Cecily, and the one night of rehearsal I got to fill in, I had memorized all my lines and was off-book), Cheaper by the Dozen (I think I was Lillian and had an actual line), and The Wizard of Oz (loved my homemade poppy costume.)
My senior year in high school, our choir director wanted to put on a musical. Lee High School had not done a musical in at least 3, maybe 4 years. People thought she was crazy to mount a production of Oklahoma! for an audience that would almost certainly not appreciate the genius of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
I had sung in the Dixieleers (Girls’ choir. Uh-huh. That was its name.) my freshman and sophomore years of high school but did not join the mixed choir as an upperclassman. (And yes, I am now both feminist and non-PC enough to use the term upperclass*man* on my blog.) I decided to audition for Oklahoma! even though my BFF at the time told me not to bother, no one was going to go see the show anyway, and it would be a huge flop.
Well, I was the only non-choir member to get a lead role – Aunt Eller! I memorized my lines in a flash (natch), and I didn’t have to worry too much about my singing because we decided Aunt Eller could sing a little off-key (it added character!) and I helped choreograph Ado Annie’s big “I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No” number and worked with fellow actors on blocking and running lines and driving through Flyer’s Chicken Sandwiches to get Miss Grant a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch (the only time I ever skipped classes at Lee. Yes, I really am a Gleek. I so would have gotten a blue slushee thrown in my face.)
Despite the fact that my senior year was chock full of heartache (more on that in another post), I absolutely loved every minute of being in that show and was a little heartbroken the night of the cast party when a fellow castmember declared that night the denouement of our “friendship”, proclaiming that we would no longer be hanging out together now that the play was over.
One of the greatest things about it was that not only was the show a huge success but also yearbooks came out shortly thereafter and many of my classmates wrote nice things about my performance, and no one defaced my photo with a Sharpie marker. Of course, there weren’t actually any photos from the show in the yearbook because the yearbook had been put to bed months earlier, but, you get the picture.
In college, I auditioned for a student-directed show and played Miss Furnival, the teetotaling neighbor who accidentally goes on a bender during the building blackout in Black Comedy (why am I always the frumpy, old lady???) and that was the semester I got my highest GPA in my whole college career. Besides a junior year choir tour to California and a rollicking senior year with my Zeta Chis (stories which can never, ever be told on this blog!!!!), doing Black Comedy was the most fun I had in college.
So why have I not done one theater production in over 20 years? (Sorry, Chancel Choir just doesn’t do it for me.)