Monday, February 20, 2012
This weekend was the final weekend of performances for my community theater group's production of the musical GUYS & DOLLS. My hubby had a major supporting role. And though I came to the production late (deadlines kept me from auditioning last November), I was asked to come in to take over a small part and to work backstage after some people had to bow out of the production for medical or job reasons. The music director is a good friend, it gave me some quality time to spend with my hubby at rehearsals.
One of the tenets I try to live by is to learn something new every day (it's a great way to generate story ideas! plus, it keeps the brain cells sharp and rejuvenates the creative energy). So I thought I'd share with you some of the things I've learned by doing theater since I was 5.
1. Theater is a wonderful creative outlet for me. It uses a different kind of creativity than writing does, and the brain, spirit and body need that kind of refresher, I think. Some of my friends knit or quilt--I do theater.
2. I've made some wonderful friends doing theater. Truly, when you spend all that rehearsal and performance time together--when you help each other with quick costume changes backstage or rely on someone to turn on the lights or move your set or have their lines down so you can play off them, it requires trust. Some of our dearest friends have come from our theater family.
3. Romance. The first date I had with my hubby was to view Halley's Comet at the MIZZOU observatory. But we really got to know each other/spend time together/decide we liked each other by doing a couple of shows together.
4. It gives the shy girl inside me a chance to break out of her shell and shine. Julie Miller is a nervous wreck speaking in front of a big group of people. But Annie Sullivan or Maria von Trapp or any number of other characters love to be onstage.
5. Continuing to be involved with community theater helps me keep the skills I learned in college fresh. I was in charge of makeup on GUYS & DOLLS. Loved aging a couple of characters and turning one young woman into a man for the stage. (I said they'd lost some of their original cast and crew, remember?)
6. Doing this show was good therapy for my hubby. He lost 2 brothers last year, and has been dealing with a lot of family responsibilities. Portraying a singing gangster, hanging out with his friends and making new ones, getting the chance to see me away from my computer, were all a much-needed respite and healing process for him.
7. I got story ideas! Suddenly, the previously one-dimensional hero in the proposal I'm currently writing is taking on some of the bad boy hero qualities of the leading men in GUYS & DOLLS. He may not break into song--but he's developing a sarcastic sense of humor. And his defining heroic quality is--like those gangsters in the play--that he's true to his word, no matter what it costs him. My heroine can rely on him (though she doesn't believe that yet ;)
8. It's just plain fun. It wouldn't be much of a hobby if I spent all that time being miserable or stressed. So I got a few bruises--okay, so I got a LOT of bruises moving church pews on and off the stage--but the backstage crew had a blast. We even performed our own rendition of "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" behind the scenes each time to actors did the big number. And like I said before, the people involved with the production are like family. And those friendships are priceless.
So, what's your hobby? What do you do to escape the stresses of everyday life or to reconnect with friends and family? What hobby rejuvenates you?
I'll give away a copy of one of my backlist titles to a lucky someone who posts a question or comment today. And for you ebook readers out there, be sure to check out Amazon.com on Thursday/Friday--I'm celebrating my birthday weekend by giving away free ebook copies of IMMORTAL HEART.