Saturday, April 21, 2007

Acting, Bicycles, Cutlets

One week ago, the SAS Drama Club was scheduled to perform The French Have a Word For It. Three weeks ago, we learned that a cast member could not be there for production dates. Quick to recast, I took his role. I went from backstage historian/handyman to sailor-mouthed, karate-expert Spanish/French businessman. I’d gotten myself into quite an event.

However, when I was told I had to ridicule myself with a cheesy martial arts performance and a stupid top hat, I cringed. Could I do this? Could I loosen my collar and let go of my artificial dignity? Would I be able to memorize my lines in two weeks, and not screw up the play saying them? Would I even have the time to? This was my first acting experience – I was full of doubt.

But as we had only a few days left until the showings, the pressure was magnificent. The Club managed to achieve quite a lot – from building doors and buying costumes to choreography and memorizing three hours of intricate dialogue. In the midst of the hubbub, I stopped worrying about myself. Rather, the entire production, and what would happen on the evenings of April 12 and 13. I was absorbed; we were all absorbed.

And it was incredible. The tumult backstage grew, as 6:30 drew nearer. The green room was lush with fervor and excitement. Literally, figuratively, we were jumping in our pants. Twenty hearts beating and forty eyes lined, we all held hands with an impatient vigor. It was one of those moments that you never forget: one of those moments where you forget everything else. Soon enough, the curtains opened and the stage lit up – so did we. I’d lost all my inhibitions and I, in fact, loved ridiculing myself. Everything was worth it. Everything was wonderful.