Thursday, November 09, 2017
Today I am grateful for unfulfilled dreams. And I have a boat load of them, with some noisier than others. Here is the conversation of Himself and me at dinner the other night.
Me: I’m helping my friend at the “Y” learn his lines. They seem to have worked a lot on the beginning of the play he is in, but not so much on the last scenes, so he’s struggling.
Himself: When are you going to be in a play again?
Me: Who knows? I’m a little terrified to try.
Himself: Why? You always loved being in shows. And you’re good.
Me: That was a long time ago. I’m not sure I could memorize lines anymore.
Himself: You never had any trouble before.
Me: I wasn’t this old before. Look at my friend, he’s younger than me and he’s having trouble.
Himself: What play is he in?
Me: I don’t remember.
Case made, right? And he’s right, too. I did love being in plays. Back in the day, in the Sheboygan days, I was in a wonderful play called “Ladies at the Alamo.” We were five women running a theater. I played the larger-than-life, closet lesbian who dressed in silver lame pantsuits, which is how she got here name, Suits. My character was abused, bullied and shamed, especially by one of the other characters, throughout most of the play.
Then near the end, Suits explodes with the most amazing two-page monologue. “You’re pathetic! You’re ALL pathetic!” I felt the air suck out of the theater when I spat those words. Gotcha! I knew I had them. “Ever since I came here everyone has been looking right through me! Everyone has always looked right through me. Well you’re looking at me now, aren’t Didi? Aren’t you!!!” Mouths dropped! Fantastic! It’s something I’ll never forget. Just like, for the most part, I’ve never forgotten that monologue. I could probably write the whole thing now, although I’d be paraphrasing a little. You get the picture. We took that play to a state competition and placed second. It was a blast.
When you are a performer you know, really know when you’ve captured the audience. . . when you have them in the palm of your hand. . .when they care about you. . .or hate you. . .so much that you could be reading the phone book and they will remain riveted and stick with you. You get a little of that feeling performing in films but not much. The intensity is far greater on stage during a live performance. I believe it’s why so many actors go back to the stage and singers still tour well in to their twilight years. Tony Bennet is 91 and still getting the buzz.
That feeling, that power, that synergy between performer and audience is what causes people to quit their day jobs to pursue their dreams on stage. And it is why I still have the dream of being on Broadway. I will always have the dream of Broadway. It’s been an unfulfilled dream since I was a little kid making up plays at family gatherings, long before I even knew what Broadway was.
I’m not at all sad about it because I like unfulfilled dreams. They give me something to look forward to. My final chapter hasn’t been written. It is still out there, even though I haven’t performed on Broadway. YET! I only hope when I get there I don’t flub my lines!