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This is a question Performance

Have you ever - voluntarily or otherwise - appeared in front of an audience? How badly did it go?

(, Fri 19 Aug 2011, 9:26)
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Oh my gosh a question that feels like it's JUST FOR ME!
(This will seem long winded like it's going no-where but it does become relevant I promise) I'd had singing lessons and been in loads of performances when I was younger and loved it. It fizzled out when I was about 17 and didn't even consider continuing it after I left school. Life went on, I had a child, got married, had another and was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home for 5 years doing housewifey things. I volunteered for everything I could but being quite ambitious about everything I do I usually ended up getting too involved in my voluntary stuff and ended up running the groups and joining governing bodies of the places I helped out at. The catch to this is you stop being everyone's friend and become the person in charge and you don't get to join in the social side of stuff because you're so busy organising it. Eventually I gained employment with one of these places but having 5 years at home had knocked my confidence greatly. I was incredibly low, I was desperate for validation and was very paranoid about peoples opinions of me. Because of this I found it hard to feel like I fit in, despite my colleages being wonderful and kind and patient and very reassuring, I never felt comfortable with who I was. My temporary contract came to an end and I realised how unhappy I was there, not with the people or the work, but with myself, so I chose not to accept their offer of permanent work. Before I could allow myself fully back into normal society I had to banish my own demons.

I spent my days sat at home feeling very sorry for myself, I could feel real depression creeping up on me (I was probably already there but not willing to accept it) and I didn't know what I could do to drag myself out of this pit of self hatred and despair. I was invited to a 60th birthday party and it was to be my first night out in about 4 years. I only managed an hour of it before I felt dizzy and sick at the thought of being around so many people and having to come home crying the whole way in the taxi because I was positive everyone was looking at me and saying bad things, I don't know what I thought they were saying and in hindsight it's completely ridiculous to have felt like that.

One day not long after all this I was flicking through the channels on the telly and one channel had a performing arts program on it and as I was watching it I suddenly felt incredibly jealous of the people on stage, I could do that, I I wanted to do that! I grabbed the laptop and googled for local societies and by chance found the exact one I used to be a member of on facebook. I sent an inbox message asking about joining, thinking it was one of these whims I often have where I start a ball rolling and then leave it.

An hour later I got a reply from the group owner saying they were auditioning for a pantomime that weekend, I thanked him and didn't think much more of it until that Sunday. I woke up and oddly the auditions were the first thing that popped into my mind. They were at 2pm, but I wasn't going. No way, I didn't know anyone and the thought of walking into a room where I didn't know a soul and singing and dancing filled me with dread and horror and made me feel sick. I spent the entire morning feeling sick to be honest, even though I wasn't going I was still really nervous right up until 1.45pm when I was sat on my bed in my pyjamas and my husband walked in and said "Why aren't you going, you'll spend the next few months kicking yourself and wondering 'what if' if you don't" and he sort of hustled me out of the door throwing clothes at me on the way telling me to get dressed.

I began to feel a little excited in the car and felt much better right up until the moment I walked through the door where I introduced myself and began shaking like leaf. I was handed some forms and a sticker with my name and number on it and wobbled off to find a corner to hide in. I looked at the form asking me what I was auditioning for and desperately searched for the "chorus" box and ticked it, when a hand touched my shoulder and said "Hi, (she looked at my sticker) Sp@m, don't sit on your own here come over here" I grabbed all my things and went and sat with a group of people in the middle of the room, all of a sudden there were a million questions thrown at me. "have you done this before, do you know anyone here, can you sing, can you dance" I answered that I'd had singing lessons and could also dance, but I ONLY WANT CHORUS!

After a little warm up group sing and dance the characters names were being called out for audition and when it came to the principal roles (Jack and Jill) only one person stood up for the role of principal boy, after some encouragement from the director a few girls stood for principal girl and suddenly I felt a hand on my back shoving me out of my chair and someone shouting "Sp@m's done this before she'll audition" I had a choice, look scared and sit back down and end up with nothing or just bite the bullet and go for it. So I did, I did OK and met some really nice people that day and was looking forward to hearing if I was villager number 1,2 or 3. I wanted 3 because they had the least lines to learn.

That evening I went to check my e-mails and after wading through african princes wanting my money I saw one from the Director. It simply read.. "Hi Sp@m, thanks for auditioning today, we would like offer you the Principal girl, Jill". I couldn't believe I'd bagged the lead role on my first audition, I was happy, scared, gob-smacked - every emotion all at once.

September came and the auditions started, I made friends slowly with the other members and when Christmas arrived I'd learned all my lines, songs and dances and had the best time ever. Show week came and I stood on that stage and didn't drop a single line, I felt awesome, I felt like I was in the place I was meant to be. I sang "I dreamed a dream" all on my own with 200 people watching and was shaking so much the principal boy had to actually hold me up in the next scene as my legs were like jelly, but apparently, no-one in the audience could tell. Seeing my kids faces light up watching their mum on stage was the best moment of my entire life.

Since then I've returned to work, I work at the same company as the girl who played principal boy. I lost 2 stone in the 6 months from auditions to performance (it's creeping up again now we're "out of season though" and I no longer wonder what people's opinions of me are, I don't need validating (as much ;) and I am possibly the happiest I've ever been.

I auditioned for this years panto a few weeks ago, I will be playing the role of Principal boy this year. I've nearly learnt all my lines already and now I'm thinking of dance moves for my duet with the princess.

Sorry this is so long but I wanted to let people know how much it changed my life and if anyone has ever had a fleeting moment where they've thought "I wouldn't mind doing that" then just go for it and do it, it's fantastic and awesome and brilliant!
(, Fri 19 Aug 2011, 10:42, closed)
Thanks for sharing your uplifting story.
My fiance was a dancer and singer and performed right up until her early teens. She got in to one of the dance schools in London but unfortunately her family circumstances changed at the time and she was unable to move down there and follow her dreams. She has made a successful carreer elsewhere but I know her first love will always be the stage. Hopefully she'll find your inspiration to go back to it one day as like yourself she feels there is something she is missing whenever we go to watch a show.

(, Fri 19 Aug 2011, 11:02, closed)
I think once you've had a taste of treading the boards
it never leaves you, ever.
I'd encourage her to do it, if it's something she loves she should go back to it. It'll only take one show and she'll be hooked again.
(, Fri 19 Aug 2011, 11:09, closed)
I enjoyed reading that
I'm considering getting back into acting in my spare time.. I'd kill myself before doing panto though :-)
(, Fri 19 Aug 2011, 14:45, closed)

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