Thin-Skinned

February 28, 2009

At least my arm didn’t get bruised again last night – just my ego.

There were lots of little things – like when I thought Mary was singling out my “fake-strumming” of a prop ukelele to show everyone how well I fake-strummed, but actually it was to show everyone how I was doing it ridiculously, unbelievably wrong.  What can I say?  I’ve never strummed anything before.

Then there were bigger things – like the song “Ballgame,” a trio with all three ladies.  All of a sudden, I just cannot sing it.  Every other note is wrong, and I can feel Julie and Blaze feeling sorry for me, which makes me want to gauge my eyes out with a ukelele.  My inexperience with singing harmonies is like a blazing neon sign.  And when I’m already struggling with the notes, I DEFINITELY cannot sing and learn choreography, even when it’s just step, step, sway-sway-sway.  So I got bawled out by Mary for starting on the wrong foot – three times.

After that humiliation, we took a break and Blaze was kind enough to work with me on the harmony out in the parking lot.  We realized we could probably switch parts if necessary (she’s got the melody), but God, I don’t want to give up on this, I will feel like a failure if I do, and I thought I was done feeling like a failure.

Finally, as we strutted around with fake cakes during a song called “Sara Lee,” Mary stopped and said to me, almost as an aside, “Oh, I forgot to tell you we cut some of ‘Colored Lights’ – Doesn’t it seem a bit long to you? (No, it does not.  I am too busy letting my soul take flight like a soaring eagle during that song to notice how long it is.) We just cut out some of the fluff.  I’ll show you later.”

When rehearsal ended, she showed me – they cut out an entire verse, and an entire chorus.  One whole minute.  I nodded and smiled.

But when I got in my car, the fact I’ve been ignoring smacked me indignantly in the face – I have the fewest songs of anybody in the show.  I didn’t mind before, but something about them hacking away one of my final precious minutes just killed me.  Many of the songs I was supposed to sing have been shuffled to others.  And yes, I have received a song, THE AWESOMEST SONG EVER, in exchange.  But I couldn’t help but wonder if it was just circumstance, or because they don’t think I’m good enough.  And if I wasn’t so pleasant and agreeable, if I made more of a fuss, would I have more songs, would they restore my missing minute?  Sure, Mary might not like me as much, but would I care, if I had more songs to sing?

I probably would care.  I’ve been trying to learn that “squeaky wheel” lesson all my life, but I can’t seem to get my desire for the spotlight and my need to be well-liked to… harmonize.

Shit.

I guess that’s just showbiz, kid.  And I guess this is the part where I try to develop thicker skin. 

Night off tonight.  Tomorrow,  I dance.

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3 Responses to “Thin-Skinned”

  1. Cat Says:

    Okay – listening to you beat up on yourself sucks. You need to take a step back and remind yourself that you are REALLY fricking talented. I am not, in any way, saying that to make you feel better. I watched you in rehearsals and performances and, in the opinion of the person who has been directing others for over ten years, you are damn good. It is no fun watching your part get cut or minimized, but when they do, remind yourself that you got into this cast in the first place. This is not a huge musical, it’s a small cast show and they cast YOU, above several other people. Hang onto that. I still can’t wait to see you in this.

  2. Sonia Says:

    I couldn’t agree with Cat more.

    You’re very talented. Its a tough balance we have to find with our egos as performers. Telling ourselves we’re good enough without getting a big head about it. My favorite thing I like to tell myself is something someone once told me. Dunno who to give credit for the quote but its been a godsend.

    “You’re never as good as they say you are and you’re never as bad as they say you are”.

    Plus a little excersise I read about once. Look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and give yourself a compliment. Every single day. Find one thing to say you like about yourself. And hang on to it all day.

    <>

    • mamarose Says:

      Thanks ladies. I needed to hear that – sometimes I think the best thing about getting back into the theatre biz isn’t the joy of being back on stage, but all the wonderful people I’ve met and friends I’ve made.


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