Finding Home Through Performance

The thing about performing, is that it’s intense, and hard, and requires you to use parts of yourself that you don’t always use on a daily basis. It requires dedication and passion and in the midst of it, you form friendships and bonds. Mostly because you are all together for hours on end preparing a show, but also because you have the time to really get to know the hearts of the people you perform with.

I used to perform all the time, and I really used to think that it was what I wanted to do professionally. (I mean, I kinda would still love to, but I think that ship may have sailed.)

But until this show, I had not performed in years. I left that part of myself when I found out I was pregnant, and was so lost in a world of baby and depression that I forgot a small bit of who I was.

After 18 shows and over 20,000 people coming to see all of our performances, we closed on Sunday night. I have been away from the blogging world because, quite frankly, I am exhausted.

But exhausted in a good way. In the way where you feel accomplished. In the way when you feel fulfilled.

This performance experience was especially a blessing. It was through a church. Every year they write their own script and compose their own music to put together a Broadway style Christmas production, complete with high tech lighting and effects, mics and set design, dancing, singing, acting, and even a live camel, flying angels, and a real baby Jesus.

Usually, performance, although fun and rewarding, can be very competitive and harsh. This world of performance was very nurturing  It was a world where everyone mattered and lifted you up at every turn. It was refreshing and inspiring and I know I have filled this blog with performance stories, but the truth is, this performance saved me.

I have been floundering for a long time, really ever since the birth of my son. Writing this blog has helped bring me back to myself.  Being able to perform again reminded me that there is life after children, and that I am still who I always was. Funny, I needed 3 years and a lead in a show to convince myself of that.

So, on the last day of the show, at our cast meeting the director asked if anyone would like to speak. I stood up and addressed the 200 person cast with this,

“In September, I was just a girl, who came to an audition with red high heels. Then I became lucky enough to get a part in this show. I have heard so many stories about the ministry that we want this show to be to the audience, but I want you all to know what a ministry it has been to me. The kindness and generosity of all the people I have met here has been amazing and I have been truly honored to be a part of it. And now, for the first time in a long time, I have a church home. That would not have been possible without GCN. So I just want to thank all of you for that.”

This nurturing environment lifted me with applause and their tears met my own as I ruined my stage makeup with tears rolling down my face.

Because you see, to finally find a home and pieces of yourself, can be very very emotional.

 

 

The Transformation

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It’s amazing the transformation that can occurimage

When you have a lot of make up

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Some false eyelashes,

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and some bright red lips.

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The look you can create when you allow yourself to fall into another world.

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A world of performance.

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For the Broadway style production I’m in, I play a lead role of a 1920’s flapper named Lillian, who is blonde, sassy, and so much fun.

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She is not me at all, but I am honored to bring the character to life.

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I am drawn to performance for so many reasons, but I know that the chance to play dress up and create life to another person is a huge part of the allure. The transformation from boring Mommy to fun flapper was something I was thrilled to be a part of.  It’s amazing what can happen when we allow ourselves to be open to a world besides our own.

Dress Rehearsal

I was sick to my stomach nervous all day.

Could not eat, could not sleep, and felt nauseous.

Of course the not sleeping part could have to do with a certain three-year old that lives here, but I digress.

Last night was dress rehearsal for our show.

Except it was really like opening night, because the audience was almost full with people coming for a preview and the show directors stressed the importance of the evening so much that I just couldn’t handle it.

I used to perform all the time. I used to be fairly good at it. I used to think I would one day do it professionally.

But I got married and had a baby instead, and left those dreams by the way side…I thought.

When this opportunity approached, I took a chance and auditioned, and got a lead role.

We have rehearsed for two months, and I know my scenes.

But yesterday I just wasn’t ready.

My understudy is amazing and I truly just wanted her to do the show. She’s so talented.

Queasy stomach and near tears I did the show….and I survived it!

I knew all my lines! I knew the dance moves! I didn’t mess up and I…..had fun!

I felt like myself again.

And so tonight, as we approach the opening of our 18 show run, I am still a little bit nervous. But I also know that this is exactly where I am meant to be right now. And for that, I am eternally thankful.

I just have to share this picture with you; this is me performing at dress rehearsal last night. If you want to see the show through pictures, check out this photo gallery from the amazing photographer nice enough to document the show for us last night.