So this week brought my year full circle, and I’m taking it as some sort of sign that this gal’s finally BACK.
It all started with Facebook (as things now almost always do).
Zuckerberg & Co. reminded me that a year ago this week, I was headed downtown Vancouver to sing in my very first public performance in *cough*…a lot of years. I had just completed my Bachelor of Performing Arts degree here in Vancouver, after having taken a break from working as an actor/singer/dancer in both Toronto and NYC. A friend from my performing arts program had introduced me to a friend of hers, who with his company, Play on Words Productions, had asked if I might want to participate in an upcoming instalment of their cabaret series.
I hummed and hawed for awhi-
-just kidding. I said TOTES.
Coming out of my Bachelors and knowing I was 100% dedicated to committing my life to a full time career in the arts now meant a new me, and “new me” had only ONE unbreakable rule:
Say YES to anything that scares the living (expletive here) outta you.
Anyone that knows me will tell you, I take rules VERY seriously. Like way too seriously. So when “old me” who hadn’t gotten up on a stage in years was asked to perform in a room full of performers, most of whom already knew each other and everyone in the audience, I had no choice but to manage a very small and squeaky “yup” out of my mouth. And guess what happened?
-I didn’t die.
In fact, I met a lot of really great people and heard a lot of great voices – not to mention the new musical theatre material I was hearing for the first time. Apparently they kept making musicals while I was on my hiatus…who knew?
The rest of the year was a bit of a blur. Auditions and callbacks (yay!), then rejections (not so yay), then workshops, then coffee and beer dates with new Vancouver friends, a 30(something) birthday, then experiencing the Vancouver theatre scene and stages as an audience member for the first time, then cutting my hair short and dyeing it blonde(ish). Finally, I produced/wrote/performed in my debut solo Vancouver cabaret show: “Excuse me, I don’t believe we’ve met”…
It wasn’t exactly the hit I wanted it to be. There were some people there (the place wasn’t empty-so there was that), but it was mostly family and friends of those of us on stage. That said I met some new people, a smattering of people heard me for the first time, and I got to get more practice getting up on a stage again.
Christmas arrived, and Santa came.
I rung in the New Year month going to a few callbacks for leads in fun shows with reputable theatre companies here in Vancouver. They were fun and I had great feedback. But mostly, I was starting to feel like the real ME again. The me who was doing the thing I was most passionate about, and that I had forgotten I’d been missing out on.
Then Valentine’s Day arrived, and my own personal version of Cupid came.
I received an email from Cupid himself: AKA Peter J, musical theatre aficionado and Man About Vancouver Theatre (not to mention fellow alumnus of my musical theatre school, AMDA NY). I had done his musical theatre workshop in the fall as well as a few private coachings with him. He’d helped me a lot in feeling excited about musical theatre and performance again, hence the Cupid reference. He and two local artists had teamed up to produce/direct a brand new Vancouver Cabaret Festival, and I was being asked to be one of the 15 artists.
The Impromptu Cabaret Festival : A festival of 15 local Vancouver performers, creating their own one-hour solo cabaret shows. Their offer struck my heart full of musical theatre love.
(Seriously. There was all kinds of singing and dance happening inside my head.)
…which leads us full circle to this week as the festival opens.
That friend of my friend from my Bachelors program and with the cabaret series contacted me yesterday (he’s now my new friend- bee tee dubs). His newest project, “Broad-WHAT?” is a new podcast featuring local Vancouver musical theatre talent. As he did with the other performers involved in the festival, he did a phone interview with me to help promote our shows on the podcast. It occurred to me during our call, that he and Play on Word Production’s cabaret series was kind of the start of it all for me in Vancouver.I’m not sure I would’ve known where to start and who I should meet, had he not shown up in my life. I’m not sure how long I might’ve put off auditions and performances had he not contacted me last minute to perform just one simple song in that show.
…and this March 2 at 8:30 PM and again on March 10 at 7:30 PM at The Havana Theatre only one short year later-
-I’ll be performing twelve of them. All.By.My.Self.
Once upon a time, that might’ve been a regular occurrence for me. Now, it’s a big ass deal. But the best part is that I’m (expletive here) STOKED. The fear has yet to eclipse the excitement of getting up on that stage.
Just before I stopped performing, the fear and insecurities I had operating daily in this industry took over the joy of performing for me. So I stopped. I couldn’t remember why I was doing it anymore, other than I’d done it my whole life and loved doing it. But just the way love in a relationship isn’t always enough to make it work, my love of performing wasn’t always enough to get me through the rest of the haziness the industry tends to bring along with it: the uncertainty of income, the rejection, the loneliness, the lifestyle. It wasn’t until I took a step away to figure out who I was outside of being a performer- that I began to feel like a whole person; and it wasn’t until I found a partner and support system who could help me through the pitfalls and help me see my talents and strengths, that I could come back to it renewed and ready to take it all on with a clearer sense of purpose and a better attitude.
So guys, I’m back. “Back in the game, back to the trial…but this time, I’m going back in MY style.”
“yeah you lit a fuse! So go show ’em who’s- legally blonde”…(ish)
Perhaps it was the Rule of the “new me”, or maybe it’s just ‘cuz blondes really DO have that much more fun but either way – I’m back. And it feels really (expletive here)
“So hand me my dog! Hand me my bag! And that American Fla”…ehrmm-
-well, you get it. I’m BACK and all, but no one needs more America right now.
But that’s another post for another time.