Every show is a journey, a lifetime...and I'm about to begin another.
We're doing "Steel Magnolias". We, meaning CrazyLake Acting Company. I'm not directing, but producing, with hopes of being IN the show.
The director is my close friend. This is his first venture at directing. He's nervous and he's excited. As am I. Nervous and excited. I think back to the thoughts I had just moments before taking the stage in "Fiddler". So nervous was I, that I thought, "I can't do this to myself again." Yet here I am, poised to do just that in "Steel Magnolias". But it's an opportunity I can't pass up, a once-in-a-lifetime part. It's a goal I'm working towards.
So today, I sat with my friend, the director, with whom I will make this journey, in whom I have entrusted something that is most precious to me--my theatre group, our integrity, our reputation for quality. We talked about the show: about character, costume, hair (the whole show takes place in a beauty parlor), the relationships between the women. The collaboration between us, the melding of ideas is something to behold, almost magical.
I wanted to try out my southern dialect on him. He listened and then he said, "Leave the hiccuppy thing out; use just YOUR voice with the dialect." I stopped, imagined it, listened to it in my head, and mentally made the changes.
When I looked up, he was watching me intently and seriously. It was a very tentative moment. His 'note' for my voice was out of his mouth almost before he thought about it--and our decision to switch roles suddenly became reality. He slowly smiled, first with his eyes, and then the corners of his mouth, and I started to laugh. Oh, friendship is a wonderful thing! The secret brotherhood of making good theatre is a joy that cannot be rivaled. And I knew at that moment that my friend, this student of character and script, would not betray my trust in him.
I took his direction very seriously, and I know that, when all was said and done, I will learn something from from him, from this journey, this experience, this collaboration, this chance to act, rather than direct.
And all is right in the theatre world.