Monday, February 20, 2017

Thespian

A few weeks back I wrote about auditioning for a play: the Vagina Monologues.

Monday, February 13, 2017 was the day.  I was to be there by 3 pm for a run through, etc.  I took my time getting ready.  I had to do so quietly, as Linda, my roomie and bestie, was asleep.  She had worked very early that morning, and needed it.

I wish I could've afforded the time and money to go see Amanda Richards for a proper makeup job.  Or that Linda wasn't so bone tired, so she could do it (she is a Hollywood trained makeup artist,) but wishes are Lies, and I had to do it myself.

I put on my red polka dotted dress, my only pair of hose that fit, and red pumps.  I felt ready.  I felt VERY good about my hair.  Sophie's Luck:  Perfect hair... on a day with High winds.

Behind the seats before the show.


I got into my car and noticed that the hose had a major run in them.  DAMMIT!  So off they came.  They later came to rest in a dumpster near the theater.

The ride was around 45 minutes, during which I listened to the Grateful Dead to put me in a better mood.

I parked two blocks from the theater in the only free parking I could find.  It was a cold walk to the theater, and the door was locked.  I could see no one inside.  I looked for shelter from the freezing wind, then someone else walked up to the door, and they were let in.  I ran over as fast as I could in three inch heels and also went in.

I was met by one of the director/producers, Bethany.  She led me through the theater to the dressing room.  It was small and cramped.  I'd never been backstage at a theater before.  I was nervous.  Excited.  I walked around the stage area and began meeting other actresses.  Ebony, the other producer/director, and the one with whom I worked on my original piece, appeared later.

Most of them were younger than me, and most of them had acting experience.  Lots.  It seemed that most of them knew each other.  Yet, I didn't feel like an outsider.  I was there as part of something bigger.

Ebony (producer/director), some fat chick, "Messie", Kira, Tatiana, Bethany (producer/director), Jennifer.

Soon enough, my dear friend Kira arrived.  After auditions, I was asked if I knew transwomen who would be interested in joining the cast.  I thought about it, and asked two of my dear friends.  One couldn't make it due to a conflict, but the other- Kira- auditioned and won a part.  I was so happy she would be there with me.  And, in fact, during our group part, she would be standing next to me.  She is a pillar of strength and calm.


We were then given the structure of the show, and our places (stools).


View of the stage in the main theater

We then ran through the show once to iron out details.  Everyone was so wonderful at their parts!  The show was not filmed, but Kira was kind enough to record my final rehearsal.  Find that HERE.  (The first line was cut off.  It was "I am a woman.")

After that, the directors provided some food trays as well as some drinks.  We all ate, and while doing so I fell into conversation with several different people.  They were from all walks of life.

It's important to note, we were reading off cards.  No memorization.  Supposedly.

At 6 PM, the pre-show started in the "inner lobby."  You see, the show sold out completely, so chairs were set up in the inner lobby for 100 more people to see the show (at a discounted price.)  So the plan was that we do our bit in the main theater, then head out to the lobby to do the show again for that crowd.  There we would sit on the stools out there until the end of the show.


Backstage Waiting

Except for myself and a few others.  We would speak again later during the "Testimonials" part.  I would be the first of those.  So after my group part, I would then go back into the theater and wait backstage until my turn again.

In the crowd out in lobby, I spotted my roomie and bestie Linda, as well as my dear friend Lilia.  They had come to support me.  I knew that my friend Elizabeth was also there with two people, but I didn't see her.


Pre-show lobby crowd.

At around 6:30, we were told "doors are open," so all of us huddled in the cramped dressing room.  The people who knew each other chatted and joked.  I pretty much moved around silently.

Soon enough we lines up in the darkened backstage area, lit only by blue track lighting.  We waited through the introductions of the show's beneficiaries (it was a benefit.)  One of the rambled on and on, until someone said "Sister, this is a long show, and we still have one other person to speak to."  A laugh.  The second person spoke briefly.  And then, we filed out onto the stage to applause.  And the show began.


Backstage where we waited for our cue.

My first part, the group part with Kira and three others was early in the show.  It wasn't recorded, but there are youtube videos of the piece being performed by other groups.  Then, we filed off to applause, and went to the other room and did it again.

I watched for a little bit, then sneaked backstage.  There I took some pictures and waited.  Eventually i was told to take a seat out on the stools between speakers.  Then, when the time came for my "Testimony" piece, I was ready.

I gave my piece.  It was just me on the stage of a theater- 150 eyes and ears on me.  I did my piece, but one of the cards was missing.  Fortunately I had rehearsed it enough that I knew the missing part and plowed through it.  When I finished, I strutted off the stage defiantly, shoulders back.  I felt it fit the ending.  Applause!

For me!

I quickly went back to the dressing room and found the missing card, then waited to do my bit on the second stage.  Then, I was ON!

As I performed the second time, there were maybe 100 people.  But it was different this time.  The audience was more... responsive.  There were at least two African American women saying "Mmmhmm!!" and "that's right, sister!"  and "You tell' em!"  I felt wonderful!

Again I finished.  More applause.  I was floating on air.

A bit later, we took our group bows, both the outside stage and in the theater.

It sounded louder in the theater.  As we all bowed and curtsied (three or four times) the crowd stood and gave us a standing ovation.  I could see Linda and Lilia and Elizabeth (my three friends who attended) standing and applauding.  And smiling!

Oh God, it was wonderful!


After the Show, I was in Heaven

Then... it was over.  The theater emptied.  I spoke briefly to Linda and Lilia, then Elizabeth and her group.  I stopped back in the dressing room to drop off my cards.  Then, out to the lobby where everyone was crowding around.

So many people I didn't know came up and hugged me.  They thanked me.  They told me how courageous I was.  I thanked them all- I didn't know what else to say.  Soon, I had wine (in a plastic cup) in my hand.  I was numb- in a good way.  I felt like I was dreaming and I didn't want to wake up.

A very tall and strongly built African American man came up to me.  He was dressed in a way that a Republican would judge him as a "thug."  I'd seen him in the audience in the lobby part, and met his gaze once while performing.  He came up and gave me a gentle hug saying, in a voice soft as a memory, that he really enjoyed my piece- that he never understood what it meant to be Trans, but now he did.  I thanked him as well- tears forming in my eye.

I stayed close to people I knew mostly.  Linda and Lilia left quickly, as Linda had to get up early for work.  However I did meet new people as well.

I started speaking to a couple of women.  They were out and proud lesbians who were taking pictures of each other next to a huge chalk art vagina in the outer lobby.  I offered to take  pictures of them both, which I did.  We then started chatting.


Tart and Art

They had the usual questions.  Then one asked why a Man would CHOOSE to become a woman.

"Oh, like you chose your sexuality?" I replied.

I saw the light bulb come on.  They Understood now.  I felt wonderful.  I wonder how many minds and hearts were changed that night as well.

Soon the crowd thinned down.  Elizabeth drove me to my car, and I drove home.  Again, I listened to the Grateful Dead.  I couldn't stop smiling.

I woke the next morning in a Wonderful mood!  Best I'd felt in Years!  Decades! As I prepared for work, I thought about how great the day would be- how many customers I could turn on to new books and such.

Then I arrived at work...

And everything went straight to Hell.




4 comments:

  1. Hi Sophie, What a beautiful story and a positive experince. I am happy for you. I am sorry that you did not keep such a uplifting experince totally positive.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, those pesky emotions turned a happy emotion into a sad emotion

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  2. Great story Sophie. Focus on the great things like this, and not the bad things like the "day after post". You can't control how someone as horrible as that lady in line was to you, but you can at least try to control how it affects you.

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