Taking the Scenic Route

No Cross, No Crown

22nd October 2010

No Cross, No Crown

posted in Me, On Stage |

I took a terrifying leap and got back into theatre after a twenty year absence.

From a blurb I found online:

You know Karen Robu from her theatre work in Wichita since 1993. She now presents her first written play about the life of Antoinette Brown Blackwell, first female ordained minister in the United States and a Suffragist who encounters other historical figures such as Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Fredrick Douglass as she fights not only for the right for women to vote, but for the right for a woman to stand in the pulpit. A wonderful time for this play to be presented since this year is the 90th anniversary of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.

I played a very minor role, Ernestine Rose, a feminist, atheist and orator.  It took me a bit to get my footing on the role, and I realized how out of practice I was at the craft, but I did finally get t0 the point that I wasn’t humiliated at the performance.  I wish the run would have been longer because I never got to that magical point in front of an audience that I was just beginning to achieve in front of the mirror at home. I know the next time I do it, I should be at that point before I get in front of the audience.   But, at least I wasn’t mortified at my performance, and that was a real possibility at some points along the way, especially as I was struggling with the accent.  I had to lip sync some of the music because I am a contra-alto/tenor and, in an all-woman’s chorus, with everybody else being a professional singer except for me, my voice wasn’t going to blend in the higher ranges.  In the songs where they just wanted it belted out (like when we were “marching”), non-perfect voices was the aim, so I could contribute heartily in those songs.

It was so good for me to do this.  It was sheer terror at times, especially when the music rehearsals started and I realized the level of the musicians, and, despite being held in a church, most of the actors where professionals, and it is a good thing I didn’t have access to their bios before I started, because I would have been even more intimidated than I already was.

In the end, it was an awesome experience, and re-awoke my passion for the stage.  I should have been doing this all along and can’t imagine why I haven’t been.  It fills a place in my soul that I didn’t realize was empty.  And next time will be easier and better because I finally figured out *how* to do it again.  (how to memorize, how to analyze the character, how to find my rhythm). I wasn’t, by any means, the best actor on the stage, not even close, but I felt like I was able to hold my own.  It was an absolute honor to be able to perform in such awesome company.

It was also fun to be in costume again.  And yes, that is my real hair.  My real hair, in a seriously unflattering style, with a ton of product making it feel like Barbie doll hair.

After the show, Zora (who had been downstairs in the nursery) was fascinated with the costume.  It was a very hot and heavy dress, made out of upholstery material, even the fringe was upholstery-like.  There were copious “Scarlett O’Hara” comments.  Unlike most stage costumes, this one was NOT designed for quick changes.  I think it took almost as long to get on as my wedding dress did.  I did discover that hoops are much more comfortable than crinolines though, and much quieter, as long as you don’t sit wrong and flip the whole skirt up into your face.  lol.   Learning to walk so I am not swinging like a bell was a trick too, especially since it was easier for me to wear heels than to shorten the costume.

After the show Zach told me that during the intermission the people in front of him pulled out their program, looking specifically for my character.  Upon reading the bio again, they commented to each other that “it was amazing that they found a Polish actor here in Wichita”.  I guess I nailed the accent.  Yay me.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 22nd, 2010 at 7:32 PM and is filed under Me, On Stage. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 21 years, 8 months, and 27 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 17 years and 9 months old
  • Random Quote

  • I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong. — Leo Rosten

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