I've been trying to write a post about Carousel for the past few weeks, but every time I sit down to start one I get stuck (clam up, maybe? HA. that was an insider's joke, y'all.) This one will probably even have to go through the draft process, which I don't usually do. Usually I type, do a quick scan for squiggly "you spelled that wrong, moron" lines, and click the publish post button all in under half an hour or so. But this show... the experience of this show, rather, and the relationships I've gained and things I've learned and strengths I've rediscovered have been so important that I feel like if I'm going to blog about it then it needs to be good.
I auditioned for Carousel with high hopes but limited expectations. I wasn't sure who I was up against, what part I was right for, or if I would even remember what the heck I was doing once I was standing in front of people trying to sing. It wasn't until after I auditioned that I did some youtube exploration and learned more about the roles I would be appropriate for. And it wasn't until after I saw the cast list that I realized how much I had wanted the role of Carrie, which was (thank the Lord... and Drew) the part I was cast in.
I have always enjoyed the process of creating a show almost as much as the final product of performing in one. Rehearsing feels more like play to me than work, and most of my favorite people have been actors/singers/dancers/all of the above. This show was no different, and maybe even a little more fun than usual thanks to the amazing cast and the fact that I had basically quit performing cold turkey after college. Creating the character of Carrie was equal parts difficult and easy- difficult because I hadn't had to learn song and lines in so long, easy because I had excellent direction and scene partners and PLENTY of enthusiasm.
But this show has meant more to me than just a return to the stage. It's been a return to parts of myself that I had forgotten or temporarily set aside. I have grown not only as a performer but as an adult and a friend. I was able to work with people who were before just the stuff of Athenian theater legend (and who far and away surpassed every expectation I had) and get to know others even better than I had in previous contexts. I was reminded of the rush of getting a laugh and earning applause, of the adrenaline that motivates you to go for feta fries at the Grill after 6 hours at the theater, of the work involved in getting into character (fake ponytails and all), and of the strange and wonderful kind of bond forged among cast-mates.
While I hope that Carousel is the first in a line of shows that I will be a part of in Athens and as an adult, I know it will always hold a special place in my memory and my heart; the show that brought me new confidence, new friends, and a new catch phrase. And really, who could need much more than that?
No one walks out on Carrie Pipperidge, y'all.
(Haven't seen it yet? You've still got four more chances! Call 706-208-TOWN and reserve your tickets. All mushy reflection aside, it's a darn good show.)