To BE or Not To BE

October 9, 2006 at 7:13 am 19 comments


I heard about the Zanesville Community Theaters Angel Tree Production over the summer. It’s a play/variety show they produce during the holidays to raise money for the Salvations Army’s Santa’s Toy Box Project. A real community project, the usual ticket prices are waived in favor of donations at the door and every penny they take in from tickets to popcorn sales and random donations over the three days that they present this play is donated to the cause and goes directly to the children in town. Everybody who comes to try-outs gets a part. That’s how they really caught my attention.

“Act in a play” just happens to be on my list of one hundred things I want to try before I die. It lives toward the top of that list, right in between “bungee jump” and “drink one bottle of every kind of wine made in Ohio”. In consideration of the fact that either of those two things could conceivably prohibit me from ever being able to complete “act in a play”, I decided it was my destiny to perform in this play.

There are several compelling reasons that I’m a writer, two of which are: I can’t paint and babies cry at the sound of my singing voice. I am, however, an enthusiastic student and I have gained a considerable resume of speaking experience since High School, surely the director of this play, Rich Tolliver, can turn me into an actor. Armed with the knowledge that EVERYONE gets a part, I happily zoomed off to try outs last night.

Things started out fine, I know several people connected to that theater and they all greeted me enthusiastically. There was a little form to fill out: name, address, phone, e-mail. Then the more specific questions: do you want a speaking part? Yes. do you want to sing? NO (circle that answer many times and draw arrows pointing to it). Are you a soprano, alto, tenor… XXX these all out firmly. Do you read music? Write in NO and circle it several times. After handing my form in to the assistant director I took a seat in the auditoreum with everyone else. To make a long story shorter… my try out process began with an admonishment from the director to “stop talking”. In my defense, he’s not a very tall man and his mother was leading me astray.

After some general information about when rehearsals would be, and how darn much fun this play always is, the director took his seat in the first row and try outs began. He called up all the kids first. Very cute, he asked them all to say their name and where they went to school. Asked them what they liked best about Christmas and then he turned things over to the music director, who immediately introduced the song and explained we would all sing along with them.

When I say I can’t sing, I really mean it. My junior year of High School I attended a very small private school in North Carolina that let anyone into the choir. Anyone is my operative word, so I joined that choir much to the music teacher’s chagrin. Whenever he would say “WHO is singing one octave below everyone ELSE!” It was always me. And that was before two packs a day. Anyway….

Since I had clearly indicated that I don’t sing on my form, I wasn’t really worrying. They brought up the teenagers next and things got worse. Assistant Director hands out papers with this three word song on it and notes all over the place. They teach it to the teenagers… and say again we would all sing along. That’s when I started getting nervous. Especially when the music director started splitting the teenagers into groups of threes to have them sing ALONE.

Rich dismissed the teenagers and called the adults up to the stage. I take my place, center stage of course, if you’re going to do something crazy like this, you should always do it full bore I always say. He starts asking questions at the end of the line. About three persons in, I start wishing I had worn sneakers instead of my very stylish platform wedgies. My knees are shaking, I can feel this tick starting in my right eye… looking out over those seats that will eventually be filled with people is making me sweat like a racehorse. He gets to me and I get things in control enough to actually explain who I am and what I like about Christmas (presents, duh! Just kidding). I also clearly explain that dogs had been known to howl when I sing. The people on my other side introduced themselves. Then they made us sing. Then they made us sing in threes.

Note to Director: If you saw me robustly singing along with my group – that was ACTING. So give me a good part.

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19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Rev. Dr. Kate  |  October 9, 2006 at 9:13 am

    LOL! You should get a part simply because of your bravery! Good for you in persevering even though it wasn’t a play to your strengths! Everyone should get to be on stage at least once in a lifetime!

    Reply
  • 2. DaveM  |  October 9, 2006 at 4:43 pm

    Wow the next Meryl Streep…maybe. Well you have more courage than me Kat. Go for it.

    Reply
  • 3. Kat Campbell  |  October 9, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    I agree Dr. Kate, it’s character building. Now I just wait and see if I get stuck with some creepy part like “charwoman #3”.

    Dave – Meryl Streep! My talent is more like that old ladie’s that used to say “wheres the beef?” Thanks for the encouragment though!

    Reply
  • 4. Sunflower Optimism  |  October 9, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Sounds like a lot of fun, benefiting a great cause! My voice sounds like a croaking frog – croaking as in dying – so I know what you mean. Hey, if they don’t recognize your talents as a blog-reknown actress, they have only themselves to blame!

    Keep us posted on how this goes – and cross one off the list!

    Reply
  • 5. Kat Campbell  |  October 9, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    blog-reknown actress! LOL, that is priceless! I’ll keep you updated, even if I do get some dorky part like church lady #6.

    Reply
  • 6. BobCiz  |  October 9, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    Ah, the Theater. After performing in a couple of high school plays way back in the day, I had visions of a career as an actor, reknowned for my versatility and depth. Then life intervened and blah, blah, blah, here I am some 40+ years later acting out my life. I have still to get another part. Maybe it’s time I give it another try.

    Reply
  • 7. Kat Campbell  |  October 9, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    You definately should, Bob! Check out the community theater, most of them are very friendly and you’ll have fun.

    Reply
  • 8. Jackie's Garden  |  October 9, 2006 at 10:45 pm

    Kat – good luck – hope you get a great part! Ya got spunk, girl! Seriously, your posts crack me up so I’ve decided to go back and read them all! I’ve always been curious or inquisitive (I prefer that over ‘nosy’) and now want to know the ‘whole story’. Have finished March and April and am having a ball. Thanks!

    Reply
  • 9. Kat Campbell  |  October 9, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    Jackie, what a doll baby you are! I’m not always funny, sometimes I’m just down right gloomy!

    Reply
  • 10. Stacy  |  October 10, 2006 at 5:35 am

    You are either incredibly brave or insane. As I tell anyone who asks, the bucket I carry my tune in is rusty and full of holes. I would have run screaming from the theater before it ever came down to singing in front of anyone.

    Reply
  • 11. FRIDAY'S CHILD  |  October 10, 2006 at 5:57 am

    This is the first time I’ve heard babies crying over someone’s singing voice. This made me laugh.
    Thanks for passing by.

    Reply
  • 12. Kat Campbell  |  October 10, 2006 at 8:08 am

    Hi Stacy – Since I’m not brave, I must be crazy. Somone alert my kids!

    Glad I could give you a laugh Friday, thanks for dropping by.

    Reply
  • 13. Catch  |  October 10, 2006 at 8:45 am

    HI Kat!

    Thanks for visiting my blog!! I see we are both from Ohio, we are going to get some cool weather this weekend. If you dont mind Im going to link you to my blog so I can visit often. I had to laugh at your post, it was quite funny and your singing cant be all that bad….can it? lol. Surely it cant….well…maybe it can…mine isnt too good either. Maybe its an Ohio thing???

    Reply
  • 14. Kat Campbell  |  October 10, 2006 at 8:53 am

    Hi Catch!
    I’d be delighted to be linked to your blog and I’ll return the favor, I read you all the time too, just lurking around. I really, really can’t sing. Must not be an Ohio thing, since I’m originally from California!

    Reply
  • 15. Velvet Sacks  |  October 10, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    You go, girl! I’m proud of you for stepping up to the plate — and out of your comfort zone. Surely that director will recognize star quality when he sees it. Break a leg!

    Reply
  • 16. David  |  October 11, 2006 at 9:39 am

    As you say, writing is a compulsion and a default setting for those that cannot sing or paint (which would be me as well).

    Reply
  • 17. Kat Campbell  |  October 11, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    Yes David, but you’ve replaced your lack of talent for painting or singing so much better than I have. Your blog makes me think.

    Reply
  • 18. Just Tom  |  October 12, 2006 at 1:28 am

    You got verve. Just got up there and did it! Knees a knockin.’ Way to go!

    Reply
  • 19. Kat Campbell  |  October 12, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    We’ll see where verve gets me when it’s all over Tom!

    Reply

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