i have been involved in 3 shows in the last month----my regular gig Dancing Moose---- musical comedy ethics workshops for mental health professionals (psychologists, therapists, social workers, counselors), community theater (Artisanct.com) in "Annie" as Miss Hannigan and a school outreach program (also thru Artisan)---a 30 min show about dealing with bullies "Sir Generous and the Bully"---its about 3 knights that have to deal with a firebreathing bully dragon---i play the Hermit of the Hills---the voice of moral authority that teaches the knights how to work with the dragon. We go into schools and present the show to 3-5th graders.
This past week I did 4 Annie shows and one Bully show---tomorrow I do 2 Bully shows and 1 Annie show---Tuesday is another bully show----whew......anyway....this is not about the show or the ACCOLADES i receive (and i do)
its about what i have learned about myself and others in life backstage.
1. i HATE false eyelashes. They are heavy. They look cool...and make my eyes look very hollywood----but they wear me out after 3 hours. Hermits dont wear false eyelashes---neither do mooses....but hannigans do.
2. Wigs....Wigs and hats. I wear wigs in all 3 shows....wigs are hot and itchy...and they mat down my hair...fortunately, I wear my hair pretty darn short....but if i go bald---i'm just shavin....not wearing wigs. Hats---same thing....but---they are part of the costume.
3. costumes....LOVE COSTUMES.... they free me to be the character i want to be....put me in a costume and i am no longer meredith stinkin jeppson...i am a hermit with a limp and an english accent or a love-deprived frustrated orphanage manager with a new jersey accent or a beatle...yes....a beatle.
4. Auditions SCARE me to death. I dont audition well. If I sign up for an audition---please just give me the part---i dont audition for parts i dont think i can do---so trust me---my audition is uncostumed---and i wont be as good---really---i can do the part....i dont think so high of myself that i would audition for a role i cant do....just give me the part and we'll both be happy....i wont let you down.
5. I like small parts---dont want a whole show that relies on me ----no, thank you....i like parts where i am memorable...and then off-stage...let me steal a scene or two...thank you.
6. I'm not a dancer. sorry. i'll do my best....but it dont get any better than that.
7. I'm a pacer. I get to the theater really early. I get my costume and makeup on. and then i pace...i go thru my lines...i chat with and smile at my fellow actors---but i internalize and think and pace...I am nervous....the good nervous that gets the adrenalin pumping.
8. I love the performing. I love the rehearsing. I love the comeraderie. I love the whole process (except the auditions)...i love a director who helps me be better and gives me ideas and encourages me to push myself.
9. i would prefer not to do curtain call. really. I become meredith again and she didnt do the show---she doesnt deserve the accolades....it embarrasses her....but thanks.
10. dont talk backstage. DONT TALK BACKSTAGE....learn sign language...but DONT TALK BACKSTAGE....really...dont...please....sssssssh.
11. please dont tell me that i'm perfect for a part.....i'm not a hunched back hermit or a man-hungry mean woman.....i am just a person who can channel those traits to portray them....i'm not offended...it just makes me question myself....and i do that without any help....and really---i'm not offended.
12. my knees are killing me...i carry icy/hot in my purse.
13. i love singing on stage---as the character---dancing moose---mwah----i get to sing beatles, elvis, country, gladys knight----never as meredith---hermit---i get to sing with a dragon!----Annie---well---you know the show. i dont think i'd enjoy doing a non-musical---i might have to be meredith.
13. this is the best time in my life for me---my self-esteem---to have an outlet for the performer meredith....she is very happy.
14. i've been blessed with external talents---I get a lot of applause---my talents are easily seen---which makes me appreciate those with internal talents---gifts of the Spirit---the quiet talents----I'm in awe of people with quiet gifts.....those people are getting Heavenly applause....i just wanna sing in the choir...yeah---the big choir.