Last night we began the second of three weekend-long runs of "Come Back to the 5 & dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean".
Although I have been performing steadily since graduation from university, it was mostly in outdoor venues, save for one very negative experience, and I had forgotten what it is like to be under lights. I had forgotten that you have to work differently to reach your audience when you can't make eye contact with them. I had forgotten just how much I love doing this.
Edna Louise has been such a wonderful challenge for me. She is sweet, but doesn't get the joke (any joke, ever) and is a doormat (for the most part). I spend a lot of time on stage not saying much, instead reacting to the stuff that is going on, the stories that the other characters are telling. I have re-learned how to listen on stage, to both the dialogue and the subtext, and how to use my body to convey emotions, as I also spend a fair amount of time not directly facing the audience. I have had to learn not to get the joke, and how to see the world out of someone else's eyes. So many of the characters I've played in the last ten years have been a reflection or inflation of who I am, so playing some one not-me has given me a stretch that I needed, and has made me so happy. I also find that I'm listening better when I'm not on stage, which is making me happy too, as I think I was losing that skill a little, especially the listening to subtext part.
I have had the opportunity to work with a fabulous cast and crew, who showed me that my fears about returning to community theatre were totally unfounded. Best of all I got to work with Trevor, a director who knows and loves this show even better than I do. He's fun, and fabulous, and has done wonderful things for my ego. He also takes a damn fine photo.