Tag Archives: performing

The Most Jellicle, The Most Live

25 May

When we were young, my sister and I took many lessons of varying activities. I, being the animal lover, went through a horseback riding phase that I admittedly have not completely grown out of. Caitlyn, being a fairy tale princess, took ballet from the moment she could stand in first position. I eventually started to take dance lessons, too, as well as gymnastics, cheerleading, and a sad, pathetic fifth grade attempt at playing basketball.  (I scored four glorious points the entire season- two foul shots, and one basket that I think went into the basket because the ball bounced off of my flailing arm, and my teammates were nice enough to allow me the credit of making said basket.)

When we were about 13 and 15, my sister and I were taking dance lessons at a local dance studio. Now, when I say “taking dance lessons at a local dance studio,” what I mean to say is that sometimes on random Saturdays we would show up to the dance studio and learn sporadic 8 counts of choreography, and not return for a few weeks due to our busy schedules. The problem was, if you wanted to take dance classes with this studio, you had to keep your entire Saturday open. We were enrolled in jazz, lyrical, ballet, pointe, and tap. Five hours of straight dance with hour breaks here and there. If anything else conflicted- family reunions, gymnastics meets, cheerleading competitions, community productions of The Music Man, having a social life- you’d miss all of your classes for that week. It wasn’t like “Oh I can’t make it to jazz on Satruday, but at least I’ll make it to ballet on Monday!” No. If you missed one class, you usually missed them all.

Here’s the thing: I’m not saying that missing class was the right thing to do. It was actually the complete wrong thing to do. Now that I’m older, I can only imagine my instructor’s frustration while trying to choreograph 50+ teenage girls into some sort of physical product that didn’t resemble a chaotic frenzy of developing breasts, hips, and acne. ESPECIALLY when those 50+ girls had other activities to attend, and couldn’t even show up to class. She had made it easy for us- ONE day of the week you get to attend ALL of your classes, and be done with it for the rest of the week. How hard can that be, huh? To just make sure your schedule is clear for ONE day of the week? I mean seriously. How can you choreograph and teach people dances if they’re not in the room? You can’t. AND! Now that I’m older, I realize that my instructor was not only in charge of our dance educations, but she was ALSO in charge of putting on the end of the year recital, in which all of her hard work would be showcased on a stage for all of the people PAYING her to do the impossible task of teaching their absent children how to dance.

So I assume my instructor finally got so fed up with the whole ordeal that she finally just said “Forget you little whores. This year we’re doing it my way.” And at the beginning of that year, the infamous year, she made an announcement:

“Listen. If you’re in class, you’ll be in the recital. If you’re not in class, you won’t be. Each week, whatever we learn- if you’re here to learn it, you’ll perform those 8 counts in the recital. If you’re not here, you won’t be in the 8 counts we learned. If you happen to miss a week where we learn a BIG section of the dance, or if we manage to learn ALL of the dance, you simply won’t be on stage for it. This is how we’re doing it this year.” She then took a big swig from her water bottle. Looking back now, her water bottles were never clear. She always had a plastic jug that she brought from home. I now wonder what she was drinking…Well played, Miss Dance Instructor. Well played.

Well, this sent a shock through us all. She couldn’t do that! Could she? Would this mean that we wouldn’t be able to miss a SINGLE DANCE CLASS if we wanted to be in the whole dance at the end of the year?!?!

Being a virgo, someone who is a naturally organized person, I found my 13 year old self wondering… “So, wait… say someone misses a class. But they were here the week before that class, and the week after… does that mean they’re just going to have to RUN off of the stage while the rest of the group does the part that they missed… and then run BACK on as soon as they know the choreography again? That doesn’t seem very organized…”

And yes. Yes, that is exactly what that meant, and no, it was not organized. At all.

It also didn’t help that this year was the year that my sister and I would be missing the most dance classes of our entire lives. I don’t really remember why we were missing so much class… it really doesn’t matter for the story’s sake… the point is, we missed a shit ton of class. When we would finally show up to early morning Saturday dance, our friends would greet us like we were their long-lost family members from ancient times.

Prepubescent Girl: OH MY GOSH CAITLYN AND CAROLYN ARE HERE!
Senior In High School: WOW! WE HAVEN’T SEEN YOU GUYS IN MONTHS!
Prepubescent Girl: Do you still take class here? Or are you just visiting?
Other Girls: Wow! Your hair got longer! It’s good to see you! Carolyn, you got taller since the last time I saw you! Etc…

I can only imagine my instructor’s frustration when we finally DID show up for class. Now she had two extra bodies to put into this mess, and those two bodies knew none of the dance at all.

Every year, in community dance studios around the nation, small recitals are put on. Each year, these recitals usually have “themes.” Such as, “God Bless America”; “Five, Six, Seven, GREAT!” ; “Over the Rainbow”; and “STARPOWER.” This year, the infamous year of the changing eights, our theme was THE STARS OF BROADWAY. Each dance was choreographed to old Broadway hits, or songs that talked a lot about New York City. I vaguely remember the “advanced adult tap class” kick ball changing their way through Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” I also remember a beautiful lyrical solo done by a girl in a flowwy white costume to Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind.”

The one day that we came to class, we learned that our “advanced jazz class” was opening the entire recital with a tribute to one of Broadway’s longest running musicals, “CATS!” While we joined the group and started to learn the choreography, I started to realize something…

Caitlyn and I would be portraying cats. We would actually embody animals on stage, and people would be watching us, and no one would call us weird or “too old to be acting like an animal.”  I felt like my entire life had been leading me up to this moment. Years of making “nests” behind the couch and filling them with my beanie babies… crawling around on the floor like a psychotic lunatic while carrying aforementioned beanie babies in my mouth… watching The Animal Planet and perfecting my cougar call… all of these activities had led me to this SPECIFIC moment. I WAS a cat. I was a feline, and I was fabulous.

Needless to say, my freak show little self was extremely excited. Caitlyn, on the other hand, was more worried about her costume than the actual portrayal of a believable cat. You see, sometimes in these things, parents and their “talented” offspring are forced to order, buy, and sometimes even MAKE their own costumes. This time was no different. We were told we would need to order body suits and decorate them however we saw fit. During one Saturday, before anyone ordered their body suits, we were forced to write our names down under the colors that we wished to be. This was done in hopes of avoiding 27 black cats and only 3 yellow cats on stage.

I approached the list… I knew what color I wanted to be… I was hoping that there wouldn’t be too many names under that color already… but because I had missed so much class, I knew I wouldn’t be first to write my name down on the paper. My more punctual peers certainly wouldn’t let me have first cat color choice privileges. I had to wait my turn…. patiently…

With every girl that approached the list and wrote her name down, I knew I would have to settle for something STUPID like… brown. Or gray. I kept my fingers crossed, and prayed that there would be at least one space left for my name…

When I finally did get to see the list, these were the options I saw:
ORANGE:        BLACK:       GRAY:             YELLOW:       BROWN:

 

What. No, seriously… what!?

No where, not anywhere, was the “Siamese” option. Who were these people? What the hell were they thinking? You can’t have a production of CATS without proper cat colors!

I was so disappointed, I didn’t even care where my name went anymore. I saw that there weren’t many orange cats, so I scribbled my name down and went back to my place on the floor.

A month later, we received a package in the mail. At this point, I think all three of us- my mother, my sister, and I- had forgotten that we had ordered anything. When we finally opened the package and looked inside, my mom pulled out a brown body suit and an orange body suit.

Mom: Oh. Here are your cat costumes, girls.
Caitlyn: Oh yeah! We’re doing CATS. I almost forgot.
Me: (Holding up the limp carcass of my orange body suit) This is the literally the color of a construction cone.

My mom promised that she would help me make my costume not look as crazy-orange as it already did. We went to the craft store and bought a few boas for our tails, and, upon my instruction, grabbed a package of black feathers and some glue.

Mom: Carolyn, we should really just use paint to give you stripes.
Me: Paint is going to look two dimensional! I want the stripes to look like FUR. Okay!? That’s why we’re going to glue feathers onto me.
Mom: But honey, if you put glue on a costume that is supposed to stretch-
Me: I WANT IT TO LOOK LIKE FUR FROM OFF STAGE. If I can’t even be a Siamese cat, at least I can look like like I have fur!
Mom: Okay. Whatever.

That night I slaved over my costume, gluing feathers in all the right places to make me look like an orange tabby cat. It took hours of painstakingly accurate applications, but once it was completed, I was satisfied. Everyone else would be using markers for their costumes. Not me! Oh no. I was going to be different.

Finally the night of the recital arrived. Caitlyn and I rushed into the backstage area and started to get ready. The “costumers” (AKA a few selfless and good hearted parent volunteers) had printed out templates of cat makeup from the actual Broadway show that they were letting us go through and choose. Caitlyn and I chose our makeup maps, and proceeded to apply our feline faces.

I looked at my sister. Her eyebrows were drawn in along her nose and back out under her eyes- almost like she had purposely drawn raccoon eyes on herself, but then stopped and changed her mind midway through. She had painted stripes back along her cheeks with different colored lip pencils, and colored in her entire top lip with gray eyeliner. On the left side of her face was a patch of gray makeup, a patch that to us looked like distinctive feline markings, but to anyone else would appear to be physical proof of domestic violence.

I, on the other hand, had colored my eyebrows in the opposite direction- I had made them fan up and back, bleeding back into my hairline. I colored the bottom of my nose with a black eye pencil and drew a very prominent line down my upper lip, which then connected to another colored-in black triangle below my bottom lip. Every other inch of my face was painted white like a geisha.

I looked at Caitlyn. She looked at me. We stared at each other for a moment. There was silence. And then-

Me: You look FANTASTIC.
Caitlyn: Wow. We look great!
Me: Here, let me help you with your collar.

Finally, it was time to put on our body suits. Caitlyn slid into hers like butter melts into a pan. It stretched and clung to her like an athletic body suit should. Mine, on the other hand…

Me: Uh, Caitlyn?
Caitlyn: Yeah?
Me: Mine… mine isn’t stretching.
Caitlyn: What do you mean? It’s a body suit.
Me: Well, where I used the glue to glue on the feathers?
Caitlyn: Yeah?
Me: Well… it’s not stretching. In those places.

We then proceeded to RIP my costume apart and MAKE it fit onto my body. Feathers were flying everywhere. Caitlyn was laughing, I was hyperventilating, and all the while we were hearing the stage manager (Aka another selfless parent volunteer) yell down “TEN MINUTES TILL PLACES!”

Caitlyn: There! It’s on! Just leave it!
Me: But look at the feathers! They’re falling off! COMPLETELY! I look horrible!

Now, at this moment I suspect my sister knew exactly what she was doing… she then says to me…

Caitlyn: Well… we’re supposed to be ally cats, right?
Me: Yeah…
Caitlyn: Well you’ll just look a little more, forlorn.
Me: Huh?!
Caitlyn: Like… LIKE you’re one of those really aggressive cats that doesn’t take any crap from any other cats!
Me: But… that’s not the type of cat I rehearsed! I rehearsed being a very friendly cat, who actually gets along well with other cats, as long as the other cats aren’t trying to mate with me or steal my territory!
Caitlyn: Well… maybe you can just be a different type of cat. Come on, we have to get into places.

And while we climbed the steps to emerge onto the stage and start the preshow section, I was trying desperately to think about how I could possibly change my cat character to justify my haggard appearance. Could my docile original cat character have just gotten into a fight… and lost? NO! My cat character would NEVER lose a fight… Could I have mange? NO! My cat character cleans herself daily! No matter which way I looked at it, it was unavoidable. I was going to have to become… AN AGGRESSIVE CAT.

The lights came up. The music started. I did my usual lick the paw and pat my ear choreography that I had planned, but now I felt stupid- I was in my head, second-guessing everything I was doing…

Angry Me: Now come on. What kind of a cat tries to clean themselves NOW?
Nervous Me: I can’t help it! My costume fell apart!
Angry Me: A LITTLE LATE FOR THAT YOU MANGY BEAST!

I stretched my arms out in a child’s pose and arched my back.

Angry Me: OH so we just woke up from a nap now, huh!? IS THE KITTY CAT TIRED!?!?!
Nervous Me: I’m just doing the choreography… the way we rehearsed…
Angry Me: Your stretching is CRAP. This entire production is CRAP, so long as YOU’RE in it! Do you even KNOW the dance?!?!

And I think it was at that moment that I realized… I really didn’t know any of the dance. I mean I knew where I was supposed to be on the stage. I knew, vaguely, where I was supposed to enter and exit. But other than that? I was screwed. I realized, in that heightened moment of self loathing and hyperventilation, that I had been relying solely on the mirrors in our studio to watch and follow the other girls. And now that we were actually on the stage without any mirrors, I literally had no idea which 8 count came where, and where I was supposed to be.

It was every performer’s nightmare. Being onstage with a costume that is falling apart, only to realize you don’t know your part. I quickly looked over at Caitlyn. Surprisingly, she was already looking right back at me. And get this- she had the EXACT same, petrified, “Oh-My-Gosh-I-Literally-Have-No-Idea-What-Comes-Next” look on her face that I did.

And I believe it was at that moment where the term “Doing it live” comes from. Most people think it’s from the internet sensation of Bill O’Riley going nuts and screaming “WE’LL DO IT LIVE” at the news crew for having a faulty teleprompter. But no. No, friends, see… “Do it live” actually started with two teenage sisters attempting to dance in a small studio’s tribute to the award winning Broadway musical “CATS.”

So there we were. On a stage. Running around, trying not to bump into anyone else, mouthing the words, but we didn’t really know the words…

Yes we’re Jellicle cats
as Jellicle, do…?
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats!
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats!
I’m a cat, And I’m Jellicle too?…

Kicking! Running! Leaping! Pivoting! Pirouetting! All a half second behind everyone else on the stage. We looked like two genuine ass holes up there. At one point I even considered just jazz running off stage and staying there until the whole thing was over… Which, now that I think about it, I SHOULD have been doing during the parts that I didn’t know… I just didn’t know when to exit and when to come back on.

The only silver lining was that Caitlyn and I had been strategically placed in the back of every formation, so that even if we messed up, we’d be mostly hidden by the other girls on stage who had attended more dance classes than we.

Now this continued on for what felt like a century. But then! Lo and behold, at one point Caitlyn and I finally realized that the part of the dance happening was the ONE part that we had been in class to learn! Suddenly we weren’t following anyone because we actually knew the choreography! And let me tell you what… those four eight counts were the most on point, committed, and memorable eight counts of the entire CATS production. Why, you ask? Well, because for those four eight counts, every dancer on the stage was doing the same movements at the exact same time. I could just see our dance instructor in the audience, beaming with pride… sure, we were a little shaky to start. But we’ve got it now! WE’VE GOT THIS!

And then, just as soon as it had started, it ended- The beautiful part of the dance that we knew was now over, and we were back to square one.

Please, I heard myself pleading with God, please let this be over soon, and I swear I’ll never miss a dance class again…

Suddenly everyone in the entire company artistically collapsed down to the floor and rolled, and Caitlyn and I were left, for a split second, staring at the audience point blank. Just standing there. Two casual cats, staring blankly at the audience. We IMMEDIATELY dove down to be on the same level as the other girls… and then, something in my brain clicked, and for one more glorious second, I realized I KNEW THE CHOREOGRAPHY! I KNEW this eight count! I knew, deep in my bones, that on count EIGHT was a move where we shot our feet out in front of us, leaned back on one arm, and stretched our other arm up to display a jazz hand. It was kind of an awkward move, where you’re hitched between your hand and your heels, sort of showing your crotch to the audience… But it didn’t matter. The awkward body suit crotch move came on count eight! AND I KNEW IT!

And so, I did it. Five, six, seven…. EIGHT!

And as my crotch was displayed proudly for the entire audience to enjoy, and my arm shot up to display a perfect, triumphant jazz hand, I realized it wasn’t the only jazz hand! Caitlyn’s triumphant jazz hand shot up, too! The only problem was…

No body else’s hands shot up. Not one other crotch that wasn’t related to mine was being displayed for the audience’s enjoyment.

Later that night after the recital ended, my mother insisted that she grab a picture of Caitlyn and I in our cat costumes. And you know what? I’m glad she did. Because at the time, the LAST thing I wanted to do at the end of my recital was put my cat costume back on. But now that she has, I get to share this photograph with the rest of the world. Enjoy.

Sole Patch, the Aggressive Cat sits proudly next to Jellicle Slutter Baum.

Sole Patch, the Aggressive Cat sits proudly next to Jellicle Slutter Baum.

 

I think our little an-jellicle faces really just say it all.

 

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A Conversation With My Sister.

16 Feb

Caitlyn: Why don’t you audition for Star Wars Weekends with me? You could stand next to me so they could see our similarities.
Me: Yeah… I mean why not? It’s not like I’d have anything to lose.
Caitlyn: Exactly.
Me: But I couldn’t be Slave Leia.
Caitlyn: Probs not. They’d be like “Well… here’s the bikini from last year. Why don’t you try this on.”
Me: And I’d be all, “And here’s my cellulite from THIS year!” (Big cheesy smile and thumbs-up sign while sticking butt out)
Caitlyn: (Laughter)
Me: No seriously, who else could I possibly play, besides Jabba?
Caitlyn: Um.. Maybe you could be Zam Wesell.
Me: Who in the world is “Zam Wesell?”
Caitlyn: The bounty hunter! She’s the one who wears the sexy purple body suit, remember? She’d also wears that cloth thing that basically covers her entire face…
Me:
Caitlyn:
Me:
Caitlyn:
BOTH: BAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!
Me: Can you imagine!?
Caitlyn: Hey! At least it would cover your nose!
Me: (Imitating the audition) “Mm, yes, Caitlyn looking good as always… and… Oh? We see you brought your… sister. Carolyn, is it? Okay, Carolyn if you could… just… Yeah, take your hand… that’s right. Take your hand and just… (Puts hand over bottom half of face.) Right, yes… and now, with the other one…? (Takes the other hand and covers forehead so now all that is showing are my eyes.) Yes… hm… Steph, could we work with that?”
Caitlyn: Oh stop! She’s really sexy, she wears purple!
Me: And her entire face is covered! It’ll cover the Crow Nose!
Caitlyn: HAHAHAHA!!!
Me: Caitlyn if I didn’t get considered for something that covers my entire face I think… I think I’d probably just jump off  our balcony.

Annnnnnd for those of you who don’t know Star Wars, here is a picture of Zam Wesell. The girl I’d want (?) to play:

misc_zam8

And, here is a picture of the character I would most likely play:

Jabba_SWSB

 

105_2294Maybe I’ll just use this picture as my headshot for the audition.

I Legitimately Sell A Product Called “Mr. Sticky” At a Store Called “B.J.’s.”

27 Nov

I recently just starting working a second job. This is because I am a 23 year old college graduate, and apparently that’s what we’re supposed to do… like, work multiple jobs until we can afford to, you know… be alive. Basically, I’m a live infomercial girl, but I think the official title is “sales representative.” I like saying that. Before when people asked me “So, what do you do?” I would say “I’m a singer/dancer!” Then, their faces would fade a bit, and to cover up their confusion, they’d all say some rendition of “Ooohh… that must be, fun?” or “How neat! Great! Cool! So, you like… get paid to… do that?” 

Now, when someone asks me “So, what do you do?” I get to say, “I’m a sales representative for a large outsourcing company.” Now people’s faces don’t fade. Absolutely not. Now they just nod in validation. I feel important. I feel like I’m finally a part of “normal” society. I have a “normal” job. I get to wear “business casual” attire and “sensible” shoes. 

But basically what I do is go into big, classy stores like Sears, K-Mart, and… BJ’s. (I am, unfortunately, not joking about this establishment’s name… It’s basically the southern equivalent to a Sam’s Club.) I put on little 20 minute shows selling different products.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that deep down, behind this writing, I’m actually feeling sort of resentful about my please-buy-this-product-so-I-can-afford-the-expensive-kind-of-cheese-at-the-deli job. But you couldn’t be more wrong! This job actually makes me very happy. While I may not be onstage in a theme park singing a blazing rendition of “I’m Walkin’ On Sunshine” to a giant golden toilet and a mob of attention-deficit teenagers (Please see former post: I’m Walking On Gibberish… WOAH) this job still fulfills my need to perform. After all, I’m in front of people. I’m talking to them, telling them how awesome something is, and at the end of my little pitch I get instant gratification. If I did a good job, they buy the product. If they don’t, it’s not like I “don’t get the part.” That’s the beauty of this job: I already have the part. I just have to make an adjustment or something in order for my performance to be more convincing and effective.

Right now, the company has me selling a product called… “Mr. Sticky.” (I am, unfortunately, not joking about this product’s name, either.) You may have seen this on TV, you may have not. Basically, it’s a life time guaranteed lint roller, which means “never ever as long as you own this will you EVER have to buy a refill!!!!” No, but seriously guys, this thing is pretty bad ass. It literally cleans anything- cars, glass, ceiling fans, counter tops, live dogs- and it never stops being sticky. You just rinse it off with water to clean it, dry it off, and BAM- it’s right back to being sticky again. The best part about the job is that I don’t feel like Matilda’s skeezy car salesman father or anything selling this thing. It actually is a great product.

So today was my first day of training. I’m paired up with one other representative, Jenny, who is an absolute angel. She’s one of the top sellers of our area, so I’m learning from the best. The whole day I was able to watch Jenny do her pitches, take notes, and learn by observation. I’m not completely memorized on my script yet (I’m close!) and in between her pitches we’d practice on my performance.

As always, watching human beings proved to be a very insightful experience. The first pitch, I was feeling pretty nervous and out-of-place. Obviously, I was in training, so… was I supposed to act like I wasn’t associated with Jenny at all? Was I supposed to “ooh” and “ahh!” when Mr. Sticky proved to be sticky again after just one rinse? I ended up just kind of standing off to the side, not saying much, and participating only when the entire group was expected to touch Mr. Sticky or something. (Yes, I do get joy from telling people to “go ahead and touch Mr. Sticky. You know you want to.”)

I learned a lot today from watching and listening, but the most valuable thing I learned today is as follows: People. Are. Nuts.

I think that’s the major lesson I’ve learned since graduating college. Going out into the real world where you’re exposed to… everyone… you start to realize that human beings are actually insane to the membrane. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

For example: Our first pitch today. I stood off to the side, quietly watching Jenny go through the live infomercial presentation. I was taking mental notes when I noticed that near the back of the group, a man who quite resembled Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino was standing, arms crossed, looking like he was about to shoot someone in the kneecap with a shotgun. I wondered what on earth could be the matter… didn’t he want the free gift that we offer everyone at the beginning of every sales pitch? Was he dissatisfied with his free gift? If he was so angry, why was he still standing here? He could leave at any time…

Clint continued to look at Jenny like she was his life-long enemy. I was actually pleasantly surprised when he didn’t punch the back of the woman’s head in front of him. Jenny was nearing the end of her pitch, and still, there Clint stood, arms crossed, brow furrowed, lips curved slightly downwards in a dissatisfied grimace. I mean if I’m being honest here, he looked like a rhinoceros concentrating on fighting off a rectal infection. I was expecting Clint to throw his hands up in the air, mutter something about the filthy Japs taking over our economy, and return to browsing the chainsaw section of Sears, when Clint threw his prune-like hand up into the air.

Clint: (sandpaper voice) I’ll take three.
Jenny & I:

Then, later, a large African American woman pushed her way to the front of the counter and took full advantage of Jenny asking her to “get a front-row seat.” Throughout the entire presentation, this woman looked like Jenny was selling the world’s first flying car for 12 bucks. I’m serious. Her eyes were as big as tea saucers. Her mouth could have been an acceptable storing place for a clementine. But the most amazing this about this woman is that she was completely silent. She literally did not make a SOUND. I mean usually, people will “ooh” and “ahh!” and answer the rhetorical questions during the presentation. Oh no. Not this woman. The only thing on her body that reacted to anything Jenny said was her face.

Jenny: And the best part about Mr. Sticky is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee, which means never ever as long as you have this will you ever have to buy a refill!
Woman: (Makes a face as if someone just told her she won a million dollars in a library.)
Jenny: Look! All you do to clean it is put it in a little hot water- see that?- and all of that hair and dust and debris just falls right off, literally falls off
Woman: (Makes a face as if someone just showed offered her a ride on a real-life unicorn during the most somber moment of New York Ballet’s  production of “Swan Lake.”)
Jenny: So! You get Mr. Sticky, the Jr. Sticky, AND the GIANT STICKY all for just 29.99 today!
Woman: (Head explodes.)

I was completely positive this woman was not only going to buy a Mr. Sticky for herself, I thought she was going to buy one for everyone who she had ever been introduced to in her entire life. By the way this woman was looking at the presentation, you would have thought her day, her year, her entire LIFE had changed, all because of Mr. Sticky.

Jenny: Okay! So, I need you guys to tell me right now who wants one- you want one? You want one over there?- okay? Who else? You want one?
Woman: (COMPLETELY DEADPAN)

I AM NOT JOKING. It’s like this woman FROZE up when Jenny asked her if she wanted a Mr. Sticky. You would have thought Jenny asked, “Would you like to tickle my thighs near the employee entrance when I get off work?” with the reaction that this woman gave her. Absolutely appalled, absolutely offended, almost disgusted in a way. But I think the most interesting thing about this woman is that she didn’t leave. She was LITERALLY the last one to walk away from the booth. I mean just… just so awkward. It wasn’t even like she was standing around, debating if she wanted to spend 30 dollars on a lint roller. It was like she was sticking around (ha ha… see what I did there? Sticking around??? …sorry.)  just to give us the stink eye, after being COMPLETELY CHANGED by this lint roller’s existence.

And so, I reiterate: People. Are. Nuts.

I have to wake up early tomorrow to drive to another location that’s an hour away for day 2 of my training. I should probably go to bed. I mean, when I really think about it, my parents paid 40,000 dollars a year for me to sell a product called “Mr. Sticky” at a store called “B.J’s.” I should probably be well-rested for it.

 

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Unemployed: My First Real-Job Interview

2 Nov

I walked into the Human Resources building at Universal Studios, thanking God that I didn’t die in a car accident on the way there.  (If you didn’t know, Florida drivers are actual psychopaths. It’s almost like you have to do the complete opposite of what would be considered “safe” on the road, and then you’ll fit in. I think it’s because there are so many tourists who don’t know where the heck they’re going, paired with a cult of bitter and resentful native Florida drivers who just want to get to work ONE TIME without any stupid tourist cutting them off. JUST ONCE! In result of this resentment, the Natives have road rage before they even get into their cars. They cut people off, tourists or not, before the people can cut them off. Both of these, when added together, result in the Obstacle Course of Death, which can also be called “driving on the road.” This Obstacle Course of Death is full of swerving and swearing, jamming on the breaks, animated choice hand gestures, and general road rage for everyone involved.)

So! Needless to say, when I pulled into my “New Applicant” parking space, I was feeling pretty victorious. Not only had no one beeped at me, but I hadn’t cut anyone off, or missed an exit, or turned the wrong way, or done anything that a native Floridian wouldn’t have done. And I hadn’t lost my life. (I still consider myself a member of Team Tourist, but only because I don’t know my way around that well yet.) It’s the small things, people.

I was wearing a knee-length pencil skirt style dress with a suit jacket. I had on the heels I wore for my senior Musical Theatre Showcase for Ball State. I felt like I was going into an audition, but I knew I wasn’t going to be asked to sing anything. I wasn’t even carrying a headshot. So that was all very confusing for me.

You see, this was my first EVER real job interview of my life. (Wait, scratch that- that was a lie. I interviewed for Applebee’s once. But that was for being a waitress.) This was like, for an actual company. I was wearing an actual suit jacket.This was actually an interview, and I was actually nervous.

Maybe it’s just me, but fellow performers, you can probably relate to this: I would rather sing 32 bars of some song and do a monologue for a room full of 500 people, than sit down one-on-one with someone who looks me dead in the eye and essentially asks me, “Why should I pick to give money to you and not the other fifty people in the waiting room?” I’m not used to defending myself. The only “defending” I do is in a call back setting, and even then it’s all through singing, dancing, and acting. At the end of the day, if I don’t get the job, I can leave and tell myself “Maybe I just wasn’t tall enough.” “Maybe I wasn’t what they were looking for.” “Maybe I shouldn’t have mixed that high C.” But after an actual real-life interview? You can’t leave and tell yourself you just weren’t tall enough, or that the girl who got the lead is probably sleeping with the SM or something. You just have to accept the fact that you weren’t good enough, end of story.

Knowing all of this, I walked into the lobby. There were two desks: a small security desk to the right, and a large desk with a saturn-esque planet looming over it in the center of the lobby.  Along the rings of the Saturn planet a sign read: “It’s a BIG Universe! Where do YOU fit in?”

I heard myself think, “I just want to get paid minimum wage to work in a gift shop.”

Security Woman: Can I help you?
Me: Uh yes, please. I have a scheduled interview appointment for 3:00.
Security Woman: Please fill out one of those little slips right there, and then take it to the big desk. Let me see your bag.
(I hand her my purse, and reach for a slip.)
Slip: WHY ARE YOU HERE? Please circle: Orientation. Second interview. Third interview.
Me: Oh no, I’m going to have to come back and do this again a second and third time? But… I don’t have another pair of sensible heels!”
Slip: Scheduled appointment time ______.
(I put an X in that box, and write 3:00 in the space.)
Me: Thank you!
(I start to walk away.)
Security Guard: Uh, ma’am? Yoo hoo! MA’AM!
Me:
Security Guard: Uh. Your purse?
Me: OH! Oh, goodness. Thank you….
Me: Keep it TOGETHER, man…

I approach the planet desk, and see that on the other side is a seating area completely FULL of human beings who look either A. nervous, B. terrified, or C. jaded. Almost like the room could be separated into two groups: Those who have never done this before in their lives, and those who have done this for 17 years straight without success. I hoped they couldn’t smell the newbie fear that was surely permeating through my pores.

Desk Lady: (incredibly calm and collected, with a voice that sounds like a cheesy Yoga instructor on one of those 90’s straight-to-VHS fitness tapes) Hhhhhello. Whhhat can I do for you today?
Me: Hello! I have an interview appointment scheduled for 3:00.
(I hand her the slip to prove this.)
Desk Lady: (calm, sweet smile, paired with a slowly extended tranquil hand.) Whhhy yes, just let me take a look here…
(She types my name into the computer system and starts to click around. For a brief moment I fear that I won’t be in the system. What if I got the wrong day? What if I’m late? What if I’m too early? What if-)
Desk Lady: (Closed lip grin with relaxed, drooping eye lids.) Ppppplease take, one of these ffffffforms. Behind me, you will ssseee…. a basket of clip boards, and… Ppppens. Fill out the form, and then…. Returrrn the clip board and ppppeeehhn. To mmmme.
Me: … Thank you.

I grab a clip board and pppppeeeeehn, and manage to weave my way through the knees of others to find an empty chair. I haven’t seen this many seated, waiting, nervous people since the DMV. And then- I hear it. The familiar dialogue. The familiar music. The shouts of “Expelliarmus!” Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix is playing in a small TV mounted in the corner of the room.

And that is the exact moment when I knew everything was going to be okay.

I wait for an hour. I see others come and go, people’s names being called, people who leave in large groups for “Day One Orientation.” (All of the unemployed hopefuls collectively shot those groups a steamy death stare.) At one point, a man in a suit came out and called for “Dominique.” At this point, two women stood up. One was a tiny twig of a shy white girl, and the other was a large, robust sassy black girl. They stared at each other for a moment, thoroughly confused. The entire room went silent. Finally, the black girl said, “Wait. Which Dominique?” After some clarification, the meek white girl disappeared to be interviewed, and the sassy black girl sat back down muttering, “This shit is whack.”

When I sat down, Harry was being seen off at platform 9 and 3/4. When I got called back to be interviewed, Harry was saying goodbye to Sirius at number 12 Grimmald Place after saving Mr. Weasly from Nagini. I was actually getting pretty emotional, watching Sirius assure Harry that he wasn’t a “bad person,” and that “The world isn’t separated into good people and Death Eaters. We all have light and dark inside of us, it’s what we choose to act on that makes us who we are…”

Voice: May I please speak with CAROLYN?
(I quickly get my emotions back in check and grab my forms and purse.)
Dominique: (muttering as I slide past her) What, she’s gets called before me? I was here first. This place, I can’t even, I mean- shoot. I’m done. I am DONE.
Me: Hello, I’m Carolyn!
Lady: Hi there, I’m Heather. Just follow me back here. Sorry about your wait!
Me: Oh, it’s not a problem!
Me: (thinking) You have all the time in the world when you’re unemployed. It’s fine.

Heather leads me back into a room divided into tiny cubicles. We slide into one of the little squares and sit down. Our knees awkwardly brush together because it’s such a close space. And so, the interview begins. I was so nervous for this moment that I spent the night before google-ing “top interview questions” and preparing my answers. I talk a lot about my time spent in King’s Island, how I was part of a “performance team” there. Everything is going pretty well. My mouth is a little dry from my nerves, but after a while I’m able to relax and just talk. Heather is a really sweet girl, and she seems to be enjoying herself as well. When she asks me why I’d like to work at Universal Studios, I say the first thing that comes to mind.

Me: Well, I mean, I’m sure you hear this all of the time, but I would absolutely LOVE to work in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am SUCH a huge fan, I’ve seen all of the movies and read all of the books multiple times. That would honestly be a dream come true.

The interview continued, asking generic questions about my previous professional experiences, etc. Finally, I felt like the interview was coming to an end.

Heather: Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is we don’t have any merchandise positions available right now. The good news is, though… that with the Holiday season coming up, we will have some openings, and I believeee… that some of those openings will be in Harry Potter World.
Me: *Actual audible gasp.*
Heather: (Smiling) Soooo… I’m going to go a head and quiz you on your Harry Potter knowledge!
Me: (Finally truly believing that dreams really do come true, even when you’re not in Disney World.) Okay!!!!
Heather: Okay. So. What is your favorite book or movie, and why?
Me: That’s easy. For the movies, I liked Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Heather: (Taking notes) And why is that?
Me: I liked how they dealt with Harry’s darker side. It’s the first time that Harry is really starting to be affected by his mental connection to Voldemort, and I feel like they showed his struggle onscreen in a very accurate way. For the books? My favorite would be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I liked how it didn’t follow the traditional format of “Harry goes to school, Harry solves a mystery, Harry comes face to face with Voldemort and defeats him.” It gave a lot of insight into Harry’s past, about who betrayed his parents, Peter Pettigrew, all of that.
Heather: Very good! Okay. So which Harry Potter character best matches your personality?
Me: (After some serious consideration) I guess I would have to say Hermione in the later novels. She’s a bit of a book worm and very driven, but at the same time she’s not a know-it-all. She helps Ron and Harry with whatever they need, and she’s very kind to others.
Heather: (still note-taking) Okayy… On a scale from one to five, five being the most, how much do you think you know about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Me: Well, I don’t want to brag, but… I would probably say a 5.
Heather: Okay! Let’s skip some of the easier questions then. Let’s see… (She scrolls down) Let’s see here… okay. What is the instrument used to collect and store thoughts and memories?
Me: The penisive in Dumbledore’s office.
Heather: Very good! Lots of people don’t get that one.
Me: (thinking) How can you not know that?
Heather: Alright. What is the magazine that Luna Lovegood’s father writes for?
Me: The Quibbler.
Heather: Yes! Hm… What subjects do Hermione and Harry teach the other students, and where?
Me: They teach Defense Against the Dark Arts in the Room of Requirement.
Heather: You know, most people say they’re a 5, but they really aren’t. I’m impressed.
Me: Thank you! (thinking) Please just keep asking me questions about Harry Potter.
Heather: What publishing venue does Rita Skeeter work for?
Me: Oh. Um… gosh. That is a tough one. I know that one is in book 4…(thinking) I haven’t read that one in years. Shoot. I know it’s obviously not The Quibbler. The Inquisitor? Is that even a paper in HP world? Gah. (spoken) The Inquisitor? Man I can’t remember, it’s been so long since I’ve read that book.
Heather: The Daily Prophet.
Me: Of course!!! How could I forget that!? (Thinking) That is literally the most obvious answer. Great job, Carolyn.
Heather: Name three of the seven Horcruxes.
Me: Tom Riddle’s diary. Ummm… The ring that Dumbledore acquires. And the locket.
Heather: You are good.
Me: (thinking) Three out of seven isn’t very hard to do.
Heather: If you could have any career in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which would you choose?
Me: I think I’d like to be an Auror. Learning all of the defensive spells would be awesome. But at the same time, I love animals, so teaching Care of Magical Creatures would be wonderful, too.
Heather: Well! You did wonderfully! I will definitely pass your information along to that department. We’ll contact you in the future if any positions open up.
Me: Thank you!

I shook Heather’s hand and walked out of the door, past the nervous and jaded people in the waiting room. (Thankfully, Dominique was no where to be seen. Apparently she had finally been called back for an interview.) I opened the door and walked into the bright Florida afternoon. And you know? For a first non-sparkly job interview, I felt good. I felt confident.

If only all real-life interviews were based on a knowledge of Harry Potter… If only.

The Best Gift of the Summer

21 Sep

Day 11 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

I knew this night was coming.

I tried to fight it off, tried to tell myself that it wouldn’t be that hard. I figured if I could say goodbye to the cast of “Chicago,” my boyfriend of two years, and my entire college life in one night, I could certainly say goodbye to these two morons and not be too damaged about it.

When I first started my summer here, I was afraid. I was scared of having no one. I was afraid the people in my cast wouldn’t “get me” due to my obscure, off-the-wall sense of humor, my obsession with carbohydrates, and my need to sometimes be left alone in a quiet corner with only my journal.

And then Dallas and DJ walk in. I see tall, dark Dallas and think “Please let him be straight!” Then he sticks a perfect triple pirouette and and says quietly to himself, “I’ve still got it, bitches!” when he doesn’t think anyone is listening aaand I give up on that hope. I wave at them and introduce myself. Dallas gives me the biggest smile in the whole world, and DJ politely does his adorable little DJ grin and half-wave.

We start rehearsals, tentatively singing our separate parts in fear of being judged, while secretly trying to hear everyone else’s voices in order to assess their talent. Dallas and DJ listen to me sing the big note at the end of “God Bless America.” Dallas says, “Gorge!” and DJ says, “YEAASSS.” I like them immediately. Later, while we’re taking a five minute water break, Dallas and I are by the lockers. I forget what awkward thing was said, but I did the “Brrrr” awkward moment sound effect, and Dallas burst out laughing.

“Deeje!” He called, “She just did the ‘brrr’ noise! She does it too! Oh, I’m gonna like you. I can tell.”

It was pretty much history from there.

I spent mostly every single night of this summer with them. I found we had the most fun when we did nothing at all. We watched ALL of the movies. We snuggled in bed and argued over who had to be big spoon. We figured out ways for the three of us to sit comfortably on a two person couch. We went to downtown Cincinnati together. We went to an adult novelty store together on the fourth of July. …I don’t know why we did that…

Slowly, our personal space boundaries grew to be non existent. I found myself being able to jokingly touch Dallas anywhere without it being weird or awkward. DJ and I discovered we both have an innate need to snuggle at least twice every three days. Walking into a room where one of them already was just felt good. It was like I could let out my breath when I saw one of them sitting on those disgusting, sweat-infested suicide-suede couches in the humid smelly armpit that was the Festhaus greenroom.

We taught each other things. I taught them how to cook Cajun vodka pasta. The two of them together continuously showed me how little I actually know about musical theatre. (Brrr…) Dallas taught me to stop thinking so much. He taught me how to let go and let my heart make a decision once in a while. I taught DJ that it’s okay, and even necessary, to be sad sometimes. DJ taught me that no matter how bad it gets, you can always keep going. You can be stronger than you ever thought you were. DJ and I taught Dallas how to listen to that little voice inside of his head, and to always be true to himself, even if that means making hard decisions. They taught me that nothing is planned, especially within relationships, and sometimes you just need to dive in. They encouraged me and listened to me, rooted for me, coached me, cried with me, snuggled with me, laughed with me, drank with me, slept in awkward positions with me, (and in Dallas’ case) showered with me. They plucked their eyebrows with me, yelled at me, told me when I was being stupid and over thinking everything, kissed me when I needed kissing, hugged me when I needed hugging, and left me alone when they knew I needed my space.

I’ve learned so much about myself simply by knowing the two of them. The whole summer, we’ve said that I am a complete mixture of the two of them. I’m mature for my age, like DJ. Like him, I tend to over-think everything, and rarely do I find myself diving into love with reckless abandon, like Dallas does. Yet at the same time, I’m so much like Dallas. Our crude sense of humor, our crazy violent outbursts, and our very deep need for emotional connection with those around us. Where DJ and I are tentative, once I get into a relationship, I am very much a Dallas. I’m passionate and wild with my feelings, never apologetic, and I love big or go home.

I’ve had an amazing summer, and I’ve been “#soblessed” to have been in the shows that I was in. I’ve been in and out of relationships, cried heaving sobs and laughed belly-cramping laughs, gone on road trips to cities I’ve never seen, reconnected with old friends, and learned (once again!) to never judge a book by its cover. And yet-

Having the two of them near me, to listen to my life problems and give me advice, to be there for me at a time when I felt like everything I knew was over and gone… That was the best gift I was given this summer.

It’s rare in life that you find people like them… People who are so open to who you are in that exact moment, whatever that means. They never judged me for anything I was feeling. Instead, they listened with open hearts and open minds and were always honest with me, even when I didn’t want to hear it. They forced me to get out of my head and encouraged me to take a chance on a relationship that proved to be just what I needed. And when I suddenly realized that I needed the chance to be alone for a while, they didn’t judge me or say I was making a mistake. They supported me.

And then… just when they had taught me to follow my heart once in a while and let go, they came through once again, and talked me out of making a decision that would have caused WAY more heartache than happiness. Just when I thought they had taught me everything they could, they showed me that sometimes, your heart should ache. And by denying that yearning heartache of the person it craves, a sense of strength and clarity can also arise from a place you didn’t even know you possessed.

It’s amazing to find a friend who knows you better than you do. What’s even more incredible is when you find two of them in one unforgettable summer.

And so, this blog post is for them. For the two incredible, inspiring, kindest, make-any-bad-day-better people I know. And as I sit in their apartment for the last time, Oxford curled by my feet for the last time, I see the summer I spent with them flash before my eyes…

I see us laughing on stage together.
I see Dallas farting on me right before rushing onstage to sing “Standing Outside The Fire.”
I see DJ and I on a picnic blanket in Eden Park, drinking lemonade and feeding sparrows out of the palms of our hands. I see them sitting at the kitchen table, playfully arguing while I silently wash their dishes with a smirk.
I hear Dallas’ big footsteps coming down the old creaky stairs.
I see the three of us sprawled out on a couch screaming expletives at each other for sharp elbows and sticky thighs.
I see Dallas getting a ticket for parking in a “non-parking space.”
I see DJ and I sitting on the platforms during the very first mic check, and I can still hear the strain in his voice, the interior war raging inside of him as he tells me why he’s not been himself lately.
I see the hurt in Dallas’ eyes when I tell him why I’ve been distant with him, and in that moment, I realize I was wrong.
I see us go from “Hey… do you mind if I have one of those…?” to dirty hands racing across cafeteria tables to fight to the death for the last fry.
I see the three of us rolling our eyes at the security guards.
I feel the sun on our shoulders as we lay by the wave pool.
I see Dallas glaring at my antique jewelry saying, “That has bad juju. I don’t like it. Get that shit away from me.”
I see DJ’s apprehensive first sip as he drinks his first glass of wine.
I feel Dallas’ wet hand grasping mine as we go down a giant water slide, with me dressed in a banana suit.
I hear the beat of the bass vibrating in my ribs while we watch a tragic drag queen croon Wake Me Up  by “Evanescence.”
I hear myself say through tears, “But I love him!” and Dallas answer, “If that’s how you feel, then go be with him!”
I see DJ petting a purring Oxford, and Dallas’ jade face glaring from the table.
I smell the Oreo truffles and the rotting rotisserie chicken.
I hear us burst out laughing, all three at the same time.
I see us hugging, and hesitating before letting go.
I feel them.

Even now, while they sleep in a separate room, drunk from the excitement of a new love that only took the entire summer for them to discover, I feel them.

They are the brothers I never had.

They are the open ears.

They are the look from across a room that can send me into a fit of laughter with the simple raise of a perfectly-plucked brow.

I’m pointing at Dallas.

They are my protectors.

They are my secret keepers.

Simply put, they are my friends.

And I love them.

Charmin: Enjoy the Go, While Watching Our Show

16 Sep

Day 6 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

A giant inflatable Mr. Clean is proudly standing 15 feet tall behind the sound booth. On the other side, framing the walkway, is a 20 foot inflatable bottle of Scope. Okay, I think. I can handle this. Sure, it’s P&G product placement. After all, P&G rented out the park today for their employees today. Let them have their obnoxious blow up products looming over the stage. That’s fine.

There’s also a massive tent placed RIGHT next to the stage. Almost as if they were setting up the tent, completely oblivious to the stage’s existence, and someone from King’s Island meekly went up to them and said, “Um, excuse me… I don’t mean to be a bother, but… Your giant circus tent? It’s, well… It’s kind of blocking this little stage we have here… We have shows on it on the hour, and we’d really appreciate it if you would…”
“WE ARE NOT MOVING THE TENT!”
“No, no, of course you aren’t, but.. do you think you could move it just a few feet to the left?”
“… Well. I GUESS we could do that…”

And so, the three ring circus tent was moved a few feet to the left, so that our puny little stage could be seen peeking out from behind.

That’s fine too, I tell myself. No one cares about the show, and that’s just fine.

But that’s not all. Oh no. P&G didn’t stop there. P&G decided that they needed to advertise one more product, a product that we all have probably used at some point in our lives… A product so soft, so clean, so refreshing….a product that makes you feel like you’re home, a product that has the ability to comfort you in times of great need…

Charmin toilet paper.

And just how did P&G decide to do this? Oh, you know… Just by casually setting up a GIANT golden toilet seat with a sign that says, “Charmin. Enjoy the go.”

So I’m onstage singing the duet with Nic to a crowd of maybe 20 people, tops. Suddenly, I realize that there is a giant line forming near the sound booth. I try to see through the crowd to make sure that everything is okay. What could possibly be happening that 40+ people need to talk to our sound technician?!

But then I see it. I see the giant toilet with the “Enjoy the go” sign. And then I see a mob of people LINING UP to take pictures whilst sitting upon the golden throne itself. I close my eyes and keep singing, trying no to laugh and cry simultaneously, trying to ignore the voice in my head that says, “More people would rather take their picture while pantomiming taking a sh*t on a giant toilet than watch you sing this song.

So, I’m doing a pretty good job of, oh, you know, remembering my WORDS, and keeping it together. Nic’s trying not to laugh, too, and the way we work is if one of us is about to break, we’ll simply look away in the completely opposite direction and SQUEEZE the other person’s hand. That way, the other person knows we’re struggle bus-ing, and will behave themselves until we can get it together again. This entire process usually takes… I’d say, 20 seconds. Tops.

But as I squeeze Nic’s hand and try to look away from him, I’m forced to look back in the direction of the toilet. And what I see is truly baffling.

There is a small army of African American children running around, climbing upon, and sliding down the giant toilet. A few of them are on the seat, holding their hands up to their chests in tightly-clenched fists, and making faces that can only be described as “squeezing faces.” They are also all wearing squid hats that they won earlier by playing whack-a-mole.

I don’t burst out laughing, which is a complete miracle. Instead I just… close my eyes. I can’t look at Nic, I know I’ll burst out laughing because he’s probably witnessing the invasion of the squid, too. And so, I just close my eyes and sing. I sing the entire duet with my eyes closed. It is the ONLY way I am able to get through the whole song.

“I love you more today than yesterday.
But not as muuuch, as tomOOOOOrooooooow!”

Just, you know, eyes casually locked closed. Head completely turned away. Not even looking at the man who I am supposedly completely in love with.

In a few hours, I will drive my car to King’s Island. I will park my car. I will go through the little security gate where the large Asian security man will say, “Are you still here?” like he does every day, and I will reply, “Yes, unfortunately,” as I do every day. I may add, “But today is my last day. So I will never see this place, these people, or you, ever again.” And then I may skip away whilst screaming, “VICTORRYYY!!!!!!”

I will then go to the greenroom, clock in, and warm up. I will do my hair, put on my make up, and change into my costume. I will then do three shows, all with 30 minute breaks in between. And then, I will change out of my costume, clock out, go BACK through security, where the large Asian man will surely ask, “You’re still here?” like he does every day. And I will reply with, “You’re still asking that question?”

Then, I will swipe my little ID for the last time, throw my bag over my head, and run away screaming, “FREEDOM!!! FREEEEEDOOOMMMM!!!!!” I will then grab someone else who is leaving at the same time, shove their face between my two flattened hands, and kiss their squished pancake face fully on the mouth. I will pull away in passion, look into their eyes intently, and whisper to them as if we are the only two people left on the planet earth, “I’m free…
And then I’ll get in my car and go to Wendy’s.

I’m Walkin’ On Gibberish… WOOAAH!

15 Sep

Day 5 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

“I don’t know if I’d rather be at home fisting myself, or doing this show right now.”

This is an actual quote from an actual cast member of “Hot Summer Nights.” The fact that sitting at home and fisting yourself could actually be a bit more enjoyable than performing the show, again, for the 708th time, should illustrate just how difficult it is to “keep it fresh” and “exciting” and “new.” I honestly don’t know how people on Broadway do it.

Actually, that’s a lie. The people on Broadway are in shows that actually have a plot. They get to tell a story every night. Not only that, but they get to tell that story to people who are paying BIG BUCKS to see them. They don’t have people who walk in front of their stage holding a giant reggae banana, pause for a moment as if to be considering their talent, dance moves, and worth as a person in general, and then walk away because they have something “better” to do.

I’m really not as bitter as I’m making this sound. I’ve really enjoyed every moment of this summer, even if I have been performing for dysfunctional, sweating, pissed off, trashy-tattooed humans who are gorging themselves on dippin’ dots and foot long hotdogs. There’s something hilarious about the ludicrousness of it all, and if nothing else, I’ve learned how to laugh openly at myself. Onstage. In front of an audience. Just, openly laugh out loud at myself, my life, and my choices.

Kind of like the other day when I just… decided to not know my solo. Literally. I don’t know if any of you have ever done this, but have you ever gotten up in front of people to do the SAME solo you’ve done perfectly 20 million times before, and suddenly, the knowledge of what comes next, the words, the melody… it all just WHOOOSH goes out the window? And you’re stuck there, holding your microphone all like, “Why is this happening to me?” But the music just keeps playing, and you know that whatever comes out of your mouth is just going to have to be good enough…

It happened during Walkin’ On Sunshine.

This is how it is supposed to go:

Me (Walking from platform to platform) : I used to think maybe you love me, now I know that it’s true!
But I just can’t spend my whole life just a-waitin’ on youuu.
Now I don’t want you back for a weekend, not back for a day.
NO NO NO!
Cause baby I just want you back, and I want you to stay!

What Actually Happened:

Me (Walking from the stage left platform to the center stage platform): I used to think maybe you love me, now I know that it’s true!
But I just can’t wait-! (OH crap, I said the wrong word, how am I going to make this rhyme now?!?) … for the… (C’mon, Carolyn, you’re a writer! Make something up!) …time, well, I’m sure… (I’m so screwed.)…. brudnle… (Oh!!! We’re making up a new language now?! Is that how you fix this problem? You’re a moron, do you hear me!? YOU ARE A MOR-)  …youuuuu…

Aaaaand in case you missed it! Here it is in its entirety:

“But I just can’t WAIT-… for the.. time, well, I’m sure… brudnle… youuuuu…”

I can barely keep my eyes open, I’m so ashamed. I just want to crawl under the platforms, curl up like a slug sprinkled with salt and die. Just wither away and die. I know better than to look at my castmates, for fear of bursting out into laughter or tears of shame, so instead I do the second most scary option, and look out to the audience…

Two large women sitting on a blanket are looking at each other. One of them mouths, “What did she just say?!” The other shrugs her shoulders and looks at me as if I just started screaming a Shakespearean monologue in the middle of Walkin’ On Sunshine.

At this point, the other performers are all below me doing ridiculous choreography, and they all just… stop. Kind of. It’s like someone took a giant syringe and sucked out all of their drive and confidence, and replaced it with a “what the hell just happened” serum. They all look up to me for answers. Matt is actually crying because he’s laughing so hard. He is having a hard time dancing because of his contracting stomach muscles. I’m so embarrassed and angry with myself, the part of my brain that tries to always be “one step ahead”  just gives up.

Me: (Looking to them with a face that says, “Yeah I just said some gibberish on stage. What? You think that’s funny!?!”) Now I don’t want you back for a weekend. Not back for a daaay.
NO NO NOOO… WOOAAHHH …NO!
I said BABY I just want you BACK and- (Oh sh*t, not again… ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME-)… I want you my waaaay. (OOOOOH, so we’re at BURGER KING now!?! Awesome. Yep. Great job, Carolyn. Yeah! Keep workin’ for that rehire.)

Only two more days. That’s it. Just two of them. In 48 hours, I will finally be done with my #themeparklife. I don’t know if I should celebrate, laugh, or cry. Maybe I’ll do all three.