When I try to describe my personality, or explain to someone “who” I am, I have a really difficult time. I am a study in contrasts and contradictions. I make a statement about one of my traits, and with the next sentence completely contradict the first. For example, I am very introverted and shy; however, I love being around people. I love being involved in LARPing and taking part, but I hate being the center of attention. I love parties and celebrations, but I am really uncomfortable in situations where the focus is on me (birthdays, for example).
One thing that I am consistent with is not stepping out of my comfort zone. Occasionally, I do, but I like my nice comfy little box. It makes me happy, and leaving it is scary. I have decided, though, at 42, that it is about damn time that I start doing more things that are outside my comfort zone, and I am going to try new things. I did step way outside my comfort zone a few years ago when Todd asked me to try LARP-ing, and I loved it! The worry I had with LARP-ing is that it requires a lot of improvisation, and I have a difficult time thinking on my feet in “make believe” land. I have gotten better, but I have not been able to incorporate my own story line yet – partly because I don’t even know what it is yet.
So, when it comes to stepping outside my comfort zone, I have been keeping a COLOSSAL secret.
Like my family will wonder if they need to have me committed, HUGE.
When Reagan was getting ready to try out for the Elgin Opera House production of “Annie“, I happened to see the list of additional shows they would be presenting throughout 2015-2016. The first production, “Little Shop of Horrors“, just ended last week. “Annie” is next on the playbill, with opening night on November 6th. After trying for five years, the Opera House was finally granted the rights to produce “My Fair Lady“, which will open in February, and it is being directed by my former high school theater teacher, Mike Frasier. Rounding out the year will be “Ring of Fire“, a show based on the music of Johnny Cash.
Reagan tried out for “Annie” in June, and I started thinking about how much fun I had as a teenager working on the stage crew of plays and musicals in high school, as well as performing in several Missoula Children’s Theater productions when I was much younger.
This brings me back to my personality – in high school, I didn’t really fit in. I was shy, self conscious, and became extremely mortified whenever attention was given to me. In order to graduate from high school in Oregon, though, students had to pass an oral English class. The thought of taking a speech class chilled me to the bones; however, my junior year, the school started a new class called Musical Theater. It not only fulfilled an elective credit, but it also fulfilled an oral English credit.
The best part of the class was that it was taught by my adopted sister’s husband, Mike, and I was very comfortable with him. The worst part of the class was that in order to fulfill the oral English component, students were required to audition for one of the productions held by the school that year. On the downside, I was going to have to speak and sing in front of the entire class. On the upside, it was just the class and not the entire auditioning audience!
The play we were putting on was “Guys and Dolls“, and I can remember that audition and my sheer terror to this day. I don’t remember what I sang, but I know I sang it so quietly that Mike had to stand right next to me to hear me. I ended up being part of the stage crew, which I absolutely loved, and I passed my oral English requirement which was even better! I walked out of class that day dripping sweat and feeling like I would faint from the effort..
Back to my current secret.
On Monday during the open singing and reading auditions, I auditioned for “My Fair Lady”.
Part of the reading audition was speaking with a “proper” British accent or Cockney accent. Since I don’t know how do speak either way, I just read the lines as best I could figuring if I got a part I would learn.
I have been trying to learn a song all summer to sing at the audition, and I have several memorized. For me, there are two big problems with that; the first is that I can’t sing them without the music and the other is that I really don’t know how to sing. Not that I am a bad singer, I just don’t know how.
So, I chickened out.
Not with the audition as a whole, just with the songs I had practiced.
Instead, I sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and I sang it loud! Mike was able to hear me from across the room! He also told me something I had never heard – I have a nice voice, and I can sing, I just don’t know how – my range, how to sing a specific note, the technical stuff!
I don’t know what part I got, if any, but at this point, I don’t care because I conquered a HUGE fear and did something completely outside my comfort zone!