I have tried to write this post several times. I always feeling like I’m going to do the experience a disservice but I also feel like enough time has passed since I was a part of this show that I can no look on it with pleasant memories and less stress.
My first show with TBR was the summer before. It took me 10 very long years to be cast in a show there. I never gave up trying and I wasn’t discouraged when the answer was no. For some reason though when the answer was no for the first show I auditioned for after the one I was cast in I went into full fledged panic mode. Was I too old? Was I too fat? Was the first time a total fluke? Would I ever be in a show again?
When the time came for auditions for the summer musical I was very unsure. Unsure if I should audition. Unsure that I would be good enough. Unsure that I deserved it. Well I tried my best and worked hard to choose a song to highlight my voice at vocal auditions. I smiled and used my rusty ballet skills to show my grace in the dance auditions. By some miracle I got callback for the wardrobe and Mrs. Potts. I knew I didn’t really have a chance with either but I was still excited to try. Apparently I did relatively well because I was cast in the show. I had made ensemble which was just perfect for me.
When we started working on the show my feelings of being inferior crept in again. I am always concerned when it comes to music rehearsals. I can carry a tune but I can’t read music. The summer before I had my section buddies who helped me carry my parts. This time I felt alone in trying to figure my parts out. Luckily a former student was in my alto section and thank goodness helped me find my note on several occasions.
My fears of musical inadequacy turned into anger when we moved to dance rehearsals. Not only did I feel concerned over my weight it felt as though other people among me couldn’t stop seeing it either. I found myself swaying on stairs and smiling in the back row. I am more confident in my dancing abilities than my singing or acting. So when the very large ensemble all got to be in the Be Our Guest kick line and 6 of us were left to stand and move our hands up slowly I couldn’t help but feel worthless. I felt fire rise in my cheeks every time I looked down our back row line and noticed that the ones there were with me were the only ones who had a few pounds on them in the ensemble. There were very few dance rehearsals that I didn’t come home completely and utterly hating myself and my situation.
I know I’m fat. I’m not even going to try to use flowery language to cover that up. I am. I suffer from no less than 4 endocrine issues that make it easy to gain and very hard to lose. My office job with long hours and my sheer exhaustion from it don’t help my case either. I don’t make eating or exercise a priority. I often go a whole day before I realize I haven’t drank or eaten anything other than my daily pills. To have that be the reason why I couldn’t enjoy the one thing that brings me the most joy…it was hard.
I pressed on. The day came when we tried on costumes and I was a vase. A straight up giant-flowers-on-my-head vase. My friends were spoons and forks and napkins. They twirled in beautiful circles and danced with canes and I was a vase. My the time it came to opening I was ready to get the show on the road. If I was going to be dressed as in inanimate object it might as well be now. A show or two in I realized how silly I was being. So many people auditioned for this show. People I had seen audition like me consistently and not get any parts either. They would have killed to be a vase.
It was at that point that I decided to be positive about it. I was going to enjoy sharing a dressing table with Chip and Mrs Potts. I was going to enjoy helping the Wardrobe get dressed into a human every night. I was going to cherish the time spent with my old ladies. And that back row group, they are some of the best people I’ve ever known and I’m proud to have stood and moved my hands up slowly alongside them.
Its still too soon for me to genuinely enjoy the music from this Disney classic. I let myself get annoyed or roll my eyes. I catch myself and change the station. One day I won’t feel like that. One day I will look back at this production and remember nothing but the good things. There was a lot of good. And it certainly outweighed the bad. It was a certainly an experience I will never forget.