Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Parenting Phase 3

Once upon a time the greatest worry I had was whether I picked her up or let her cry.
I wish it was as simple now.
She lacks direction. She lacks confidence. She is searching. Rejection is everywhere.
She desperately needs a break, for someone to take a chance on her; for I KNOW she will not disappoint.
But in the meantime I have to watch her pain.
Her withdrawal.
Feel her taking out her frustrations on me.
And all that's ok if it turns out in the end.
And I am sure it will.
At least I'm pretty sure.
Yes, I am sure. It's in my gut.
As surely as I knew it was better to pick her up than to leave her crying, despite what experts said.

Parenting is a shit hard gig eh?
I don't think it gets easier until you are like my mother; searching through her memories to identify the people all around her.
At least she's not wondering whether she should pick them up.

Strictly Pleased With Myself.

Having thoroughly enjoyed my limited role in Can Can, I was eager to see what my next endeavour might be. A couple of shows were auditioning: Miss Saigon, Dusty, Pirates of Penzance. Ensemble for Dusty was interesting but...the company is based in the northern districts of hometown so, difficult logistics.

My WWRY director was also putting on 'Strictly Ballroom: The Musical".

When he first announced this I had thought....meh. I can't ballroom dance. How is this even going to be a go-er for me? My Dad has spent most of life entreating me FOLLOW.  Most of our father daughter dances have ended in bruised toes. I just don't seem to be able to let go!!! Can't see how I'm going to fit into THIS musical.

But then there was a BBQ at my place and my WWRY director gave me a quick cuddle and asked, "Are you going to audition for SB? There's some great roles for older women..."

Now, I could have been outrageously offended by this remark. Older women? Huh!!!!!! I mean...I'm not QUITE 60 yet!!!!!!!!!!! (Oh my God....I'm an older woman....)
But instead I took encouragement from the fact that he'd suggested I audition! A quick scan of the movie, and the parts, threw up the character of Shirley Hastings:

Image result for strictly ballroom shirley

Oh. MY. Goodness. She. Is. Awesome!!
She has classic lines like "I've got my happy face on today!" and "It was going to be SCOTT'S YEAR!!!!!!!"

Now in my heart I knew I could handle the acting. The singing however was another matter.

I spent two hours with my singing coach the week before, practicing the transition from my chest to my head voice. We worked out a marginally passable method of getting me up to the two or three notes that I needed that are, theoretically, 'out of my range'. It was a hard and humiliating slog. Add to this the fact that she is a very Aussie character with a nasty nasal accent. It was pretty screechy.

On the Saturday I made my way in for the group audition.
We met up at Central Ballroom Dancing studio, where the local, award winning ballroom dancers had been co-opted into auditioning and choreographing the show. The first thing they did was a demo. Watching them, I felt like a one legged orangutan with control issues. How was I going to 'follow'? How was I going to hold myself upright with that angle of the head????
Image result for stance for ballroom dancing
The first dance they taught us was the Viennese waltz.
Now I have always wondered about the bloody partner waltz. I mean I can waltz 'ballet style:'
But that whole random waltzing around a floor, propelled by a bloke who may, or may not, know what he's doing???? Anathema.

After a bit of minor confusion I got the hang of it. Forward together...wait....back side together. Repeat!
Sadly, having googled waltz and Viennese waltz, I can find nothing that remotely resembles what we were taught. I suspect I am not a natural!!!!!

ANYWAY, we all learned the little thing they taught us and we took turns with partners trying to reproduce the basic look of ballroom dancing. Methinks we may have a LOT of work to do.

Later that day I returned for my individual audition. I had dressed for the part and I was RIGHT in the zone!

When I got back to the studio, it wasn't long before they called me in. I decided to go in 'in character' from the outset.
"HULLO everyone. Now, I've GOT to saay. I'm not MUCH of a singer. I've been going to a little man but he's a bit opera in his approach and I'm much more Country and Western....."

Our WWRY director was watching me with a huge smile on his face. The other three people (who didn't know me) looked completely confused! When the pianist looked offended as I suggested she'd better play me an introduction I felt slightly guilty...but I decided to go with it. It wasn't too long before she realised what I was doing. :-D

Screechy notes aside. It must have worked because the next day I got the call to say I had won the part! My first really big character role here in Adelaide! I am SO excited!!!!!

We don't start rehearsals until April but I think I shall take up any ballroom dancing offers that are presented to me in order to develop my woeful skills. After I get back from the UK that is.

I'm off on Monday for 5 weeks. There is the small matter of my mother who is going downhill rapidly with Alzheimers but I hope to offset that with a skiing trip in January.  Here's hoping the lurgy stays away so I am able to really enjoy it this time!

POST SCRIPT: got home to find I had not posted this! Further UK and skiing adventures to follow!