Sunday, March 11, 2018

The play's the thing

In high school, in the early 60s, I was in two musicals (Liesl in The Sound of Music and some lesser part in Camelot) and the senior play (Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians). During my college years, in the late 60s, I was in two summer community theatre musicals (HMS Pinafore and The Mikado).

I minored in drama because I love the theatre.

As a newlywed in a tiny desert town (Rosamond, CA), I directed the district's first high school play (Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap).

That was nearly 50 years ago.

At the Voyager RV resort, where Art and I live in the winter, there is usually a musical or a play. Rehearsals start in early November and the production is in early March. Art has been cast for the last four years. I helped for two; I headed up ticket sales two years ago and was associate producer and stage manager last year. I had no interest in acting. For one thing, it is Art's delight and I wanted him to have an activity I wasn't involved in. For another, it's time consuming to do two rehearsals a week for four months.

This year my friend Dee, the director, said, "Linda, would you consider taking a part?" I said, "Only if you can't find anyone else." I suspect she didn't try to find anyone else. And I didn't ever say no.

So I was in rehearsals every Monday and Thursday afternoon from November 4 to March 5. I played Sylvia Axley, the bitchy former program chairman of a woman's club, in an hourlong one-act play called "Guess Who's Coming to Lunch." I'm not bitchy myself, I don't think, but I've known my share, so I had some behaviors to observe and draw on.

I learned, to my chagrin, that lines are much harder to memorize at 69 than they are at 19. Much, much harder.

Our performances were Thursday and Friday evenings this week. We had audiences of just under 300 people each night. I would call it a "friends and family" performance.

I was a pretty good bitch, I've been told!

Tomorrow there's a production meeting for next season's play. I will go to hear about it and probably to find out what Art will be up to next year. But after this year I am calling myself a retired actress.


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Good for you for doing it. I enjoy your blog because you are a “yes” person. It is so easy to say no and give some excuse, but you go head on into things that many of us would feel uncomfortable or scared to try. I hope you enjoyed yourself and can now go back to behind the scenes where you can support the group in other ways.

DJan said...

It sounds like it was a fun activity, even if it wasn't quite your cup of tea. It will be a memory you will cherish, I suspect. :-)

Linda Reeder said...

I suspect you had fun while being challenged! And you do like challenges. Good for you.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, congratulations to both you and Art. Now that you are a retired actress, you'll need to write your celebrity memoir! And if that's doesn't seem feasible, then I'd like to read a posting of yours about what you like about acting.

You are so right about memorizing as we age. I used to memorize all the names of my students the first day of school. One year that was 50 classes that came to 250 students. The next day I had all the names down, letter perfect. No way I could do that today, I can't even hold on to the name of a book I just read! Well, I still am so grateful for what has been given to me as a age. More patience and contentment and more understanding that differences need not divide us. Peace.