This spring, I decided to audition for a show at my local community theater. It'd been about three years since the last time I'd been on a stage - I hadn't performed since I lived in Georgia and I missed it dearly, but with the move, adjusting to motherhood, and the general hecticness of life, I hadn't had the free time needed to go back to performing. But things finally lined up, and I was free (at least a bit) to do a show.
This experience was...different. Due to a series of issues beyond anyone's control, my poor director was forced to cancel the show we worked on for a month and replace it with another piece - in this case, it was Hate Mail, a reader's theater piece. I'd never done reader's theater before, and of course I was disappointed to not get to play the role I'd worked so hard on, but we got through it and in the end, had a lovely run to some fun crowds who enjoyed the humor of this piece as much as we did.
I had almost forgotten the rush I get when the lights go down and the audience hushes, moments before the lights come back up and I get to walk out onto the stage. It's always a wonderful moment of suspense and excitement, and this time, I barely felt nervous; I was just happy to be back on the boards. I loved being able to make the audience laugh and sigh and gasp, and during the curtain call, I was happy to stand there, listening to the applause, knowing that these people enjoyed the work I did.
Getting on stage now is a changed experience for me. Instead of having all the time in the world to go over lines and rehearse, I have a limited schedule; when I'm not at the theater, I'm taking care of my son or my pets, or I'm working. I don't have nearly as much free time as I used to, so adding the intense and unusual schedule of a show to the mix was draining. I can confidently say that I'm glad the run is over and I have some time to rest and relax.
That being said...I can't wait to get up on stage again. For me, performing feels right in a way that nothing else but writing does. It's a community I love and it's what I know I'm meant to be doing, so even through all of the stress and chaos, I know that I'll be back for more.