Friday, September 5, 2008

but, you don't even know who we are!

   You really never know who you are going to meet waiting for you outside the stage door.  

   The funny thing about the stage door, is that all somebody needs to do is just locate it (which is really not difficult at all), and then they pretty much have you cornered because there is no other exit for an actor.  And any old Tom, Dick, or Harry knows that.  

   Tonight we were exiting and there were a bunch of people waiting for us.  Most just wanted signatures, but some wanted to talk.  Actually, A Chorus Line seems to draw all kinds, especially talkative ones (which I don't mind at all).  And since we are all so vulnerable on stage, telling our stories like it's our job (wait--it is our job), I think that makes them feel like they can relate to us; it makes people want to tell us about them because in a very one-sided way, they feel like they know us.  

   So, we had signed programs and taken pictures and were on our way, when we were stopped a little further away, this time by a father and his two daughters.  They asked for our autographs and we enthusiastically gave our assent.  The older of the two daughters started taking out these blank squares of paper--kind of like index cards, but without the lines.  This was a little strange, but we said nothing of it.  Oh, and she wanted each of us to sign one--so each card just had our name on it (which seemed really boring to me, but someone's trash is another person's treasure, so who I am to judge).  John pleasantly asked them if they enjoyed the show, to which there was a beat, followed by, Uh, we didn't see it.

   Well, now this was awkward.  If they didn't see the show, why in the world did they want our autographs?  They don't even know what characters we played or who we are!  To fill in the awkward silence, John said, Oh...Cool...But the truth is it wasn't cool, just weird and kind of sad.  
   Then the dad took his camera out and asked for a picture of us, with his daughters.  Again, we said yes and again I thought to myself, How will this picture be of any interest at all to them?  I mean, will they show it off to others: Look--here is a picture of some people that were in a show that we never saw...Oh, what show was it?, the picture-gazers might ask, to which the family would say, No idea. Cool, huh?

   Not really.  
    We had a nice long rehearsal today with our choreographer, Baayork Lee, who is back in town.  We re-learned the opening combination.  This is a combination that we do twice each show, meaning that we do it 16 times a week.  It has been roughly 20 weeks since we opened the show in Denver, which means that we have performed it 320 times (and this is not including all of our rehearsals).  But we learned it again.  

   And I know I will be "learning" it again before too long.  That is just the way that art is, sometimes; you never get it perfect.  There is always room for improvement, which both inspires and mocks, depending on your mood, I suppose.  Today it did a little of both, I guess.

   The dance part of the rehearsal went great.  I borrowed my friend's shiny blue unitard, which made me happy since I have long since grown sick of all my dance clothes (Drew just cannot understand my insatiable desire for new dance clothes; that's okay cause I don't really understand spending $300 to watch a football game. Anyway).  And that blue unitard really helped spruce up my day (you think I am joking, but I am not).  But then they let everyone go but me and Colt, who had to work on our scene.  My first impulse was disappointment that everyone got to go but me (well, and Colt), but then I remembered that I wasn't 11 years old and could deal with those kinds of things; even understand that they are for my good (in rare moments of maturity).  

  To make a long story shorter (and you know I am good at writing long stories, dear reader), the rehearsal was difficult.  It felt like all of the blocking that I have been doing since March was just casually tossed out the window while I was left to find Kristine all over again.  I was literally made to shake for like 5 minutes straight while reciting my monologue (to convey nervous energy--this was both a little embarrassing and exhausting), and I was left unsure exactly how I would perform my monologue for the show later.  

  Well, just great.  That isn't exactly what I wanted to feel...

  But then my scene came around in the show and honestly, it felt great.  The truth was I did feel nervous, which is perfect for Kristine, and things had been shaken up (quite literally)--but mostly in a good way, I think. I got positive feedback from a lot of people, which I appreciated so much.  So, yeah, it was interesting and humbling, but in the end, ultimately good.  

But, I'd rather not shimmy and shake like that for a long time. Today was enough, I think.


Mom said...


Peaj said...

I read your story about the weird family wanting your autographs, and the first thought that came to my mind was: "identity theft." I mean, they gathered your signature - and nothing else - on a blank white card. Perfect for photocopying onto an application that gets faxed somewhere (which is sometimes all the verification that is needed). I don't want to be an alarmist, but you might want to consider checking your credt report, adding a fraud alert to your credit report, or freezing your credit.

Peaj said...

Well, I don't want to be an alarmist, but apparently I am.

merry said...

Jeez, I was just thinking maybe they were too poor to see the show but now I am scared for you.

jason said...

Taking notes on something you already have worked on so much and take great pride in... And are pretty amazing at is never easy. I mean you've probably played the role of Kristine more than all but 10 people in the whole world. But being willing to listen and improve if need be is one of the things that seperates good from great I suppose.

Peaj said...

I have to agree with Jason. I think it's great that you didn't just leave angry and feeling like "This exercise was useless! I'm a professional!" and then lose the purpose behind it. You might have not liked the exercise at first, but you were big enough (professional enough?) to admit that it helped later. I also find it interesting how the emotional work of acting follows so easily from the physical. I mean, five minutes of shaking isn't a lot of time compared to the 320 times you've already done this role.

Oh, and I love the comment about not being 11. I need to remind myself of that sometimes too!

jessica said...

thanks, guys! Yeah, the rehearsal was pretty hard, but it did help in the end.

And I would be really surprised if that family could even understand what my name is supposed to be from my autograph--it is illegible. Plus, they had no program to find out what the name it, so I am think I am safe. But, thanks for the concern!

kathiek said...

Shiny blue unitard? Does it have a hood? You could paint your face and hands blue and pretend to be a part of the Blue Man would have to alter your appearance a BIT more...not actually being a man and all!! ;-)

Jessica Latshaw said...

unfortunately, there was no hood involved.

And funny thing about the Blue Man Group--I have absolutely NO desire to ever see them live. I have an aversion to the idea, even. But, I had heard from many people that they are amazing.

I still don't want to see them.