go and be somebody.
Where do I even begin? Well. In January, I auditioned for "Grease". I was a bit hesitant at first though, because I knew I had a large chunk of school awaiting me, and I honestly wasn't counting on getting a very good role. Rewind for just a moment. Last year, I was in "Annie Get Your Gun" and that was one of the happiest shows of my life. After that show was over, it was mentioned briefly that the next year (for the Spring show) LYT would be presenting "Grease". I immediately knew I wanted to be Frenchy. So since last year, I practiced and practiced and practiced to get the role of Frenchy. I chose my song, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee", tweaked the lyrics to my liking, researched Frenchy like a mad man, watched clip after clip of how she talked and what her personality was like, practiced a Frenchy voice and recorded it on my phone until it sounded how I wanted. I had that restless feeling of "I WANT this, but I'm not sure if I'll GET this." I continued to practice and tripled the practice the week of auditions. Now -- back to Grease auditions. Since some friends were planning on auditioning though, I thought, "What the heck; I'll just go for it and see what happens." The week of auditions, my friend and I decided we would dress the parts of the characters we wanted to be cast as. We spent about $7 at Goodwill in the old lady department, a few dollars on knock-off keds, and then purchased wigs to top the cake. Audition day arrived and we walked in feeling very confident. When you're dressed up as your character, you really don't feel like you're "you" anymore -- you feel as if 50% of yourself is that character. I went into the audition room, felt like I would throw up/pass out/melt right when I walked through the doors, put as much enthusiasm into my audition as possible and let the board members and director decide from there.
I felt like I did good; but at the same time, I was second guessing myself. There were so many other better singers and actors, so many prettier girls, people with much more confidence. That night though, just a few hours after I got back from auditions, I got a phone call explaining that they wanted me for callbacks. Cue the excited butterflies and weird adrenalin rush. Callback day came, I dressed as Frenchy yet again (and felt like a complete and total fool -- I was the only one dressed up so stupidly), and put as much into the cold read as possible. About 25 people (give or take) were there for callbacks, and I felt like I didn't stand a chance by the end of the day. There were so many incredibly talented girls going for Frenchy, and I felt pretty inferior by the time callbacks were over.
Two days later, after refreshing the LYT website multiple times each hour to see if the cast list had been posted.......I clicked on one last time around 10:30....and lo and behold, as I began to read down the list, I saw "Frenchie: Anna Gray Smith" and almost cried. I was shocked, thrilled, grateful, thanking God like crazy, beyond happy. It felt like a dream. The role I had worked so hard for and wanted so badly...was mine. To say I was "blessed" by that role, would be quite an understatement.
From then on, we had rehearsal after rehearsal and then, it came to show time. During the whole process though, I learned and realized so many things -- not just about "acting", but about who I am, things about my life, my purpose. If you are just bursting to continue reading, then you're in for 50 more novels. If you're not, that's fine, you can move on and that's okay. I'm writing this for me though. I'm writing it so that one day I can look back on it and perhaps chuckle at what my 2013 lessons learned, aspirations, dreams, hopes and wishes were. Maybe one day I'll look back at these chunky paragraphs and be able to laugh. "Oh Anna Gray...what a silly girl you were.". For now though, these words are special to me.
#1 I learned first and foremost, that acting truly is my passion. True, I've mentioned that several times on this little space of mine, but "Grease" concealed everything. This show made me a much more brave and confident person -- it made me want to go out out and face my fears. It made me want to throw myself out there. I'd never dressed up nerdy for an audition, I'd never put so much enthusiasm and gestures into a mere audition song, I'd never pretended to be an absolute flirt and dork on stage. This show? Forget 2nd guessing yourself. Forget ever feeling comfortable on stage again. Throw yourself out there and put as much into your character as you possibly can. And once you have, put more into it. Make every line, every gesture, every facial expression and every dance memorable. If you feel comfortable, that's not enough. Your goal is to feel stupid and silly and dramatic and uncomfortable -- then you're on the right track. That's when the magic of becoming somebody completely different from yourself starts to happen. After the very last show of "Grease", I walked out of that large auditorium thinking, "This is what I want and need to do." I had that burning passion that was telling me "Go out there and go be an actress." Whether it's film, Broadway, community theatre, or auditioning for years on end -- I want to be an actress. I'm going to take voice lessons and acting classes and participate in every show I can. I'm going to face my fear of "What if I'm not good enough?" and "I don't know these people..." and "It makes me feel nervous" and just go and do it.
#2 It's okay to move on. LYT will always hold a very special place in my heart. I would not be who I am today if it wasn't for them. Through them, as I have stated before, I have gained confidence that burning passion of wanting to take risks and face my fears. I thank them for that. They have made a true impact on my life. However, there comes a time in life where you just have to move on and bid your current circumstances a polite, "Adieu". I cannot remain with LYT. Though I've participated in shows, made connections, and thoroughly enjoyed being with them since I was 11 years old, I have to move on. If I stay with them for shows, I will remain feeling comfortable and settled. In acting and show business, you have to take risks and you can't expect to stay with one particular guild, theatre company or film company forever. You're constantly moving on and working with new people and new companies. I'm not saying that I will "never" participate in and LYT show again -- but I plan to audition and (God-willing) perform with HPCT this year. LYT is geared more to help you with your confidence and give you a sample of show business -- HPCT is professional and full force acting. Yes, I am nervous, but no, that will not stop me from taking a risk.
#3 Where you take drama, there will be "drama". That is almost a given. I'm not sure if it's just something about theatrical folks or if it's just that gossipy liars find theatre a good place to start "juicy", false news and act vulgar. 8th graders were flipping people off & dropping the "F" bomb every other minute, rumors were spread, innocent people were lied about and accused falsely, swearing and sex/grotesque conversations were the highlights, one minute someone's your "friend", the next minute they do what they can to go ignore and stray away from you. I was never lonely and do not think I was ever lied about (though I wouldn't be surprised......"idiots" will be idiots and "drama" will be drama). I learned to avoid the main drama (which is hard considering that's what surrounds you) and that it's okay just to step away for a few moments and chat elsewhere when gossip gets heated up.
#4 Come to realization that you don't really need those groups of people. I've learned that it's also okay to move on from those groups of people. They may be kind, but they are also full of nonsense. Part of you wants to cling and fit in with that group, but you quickly realize that you don't really need them because there's honestly just no reason. In the end, you will just end up being ignored, possibly glared at and not even spoken to (except for the quick "Hi." and rushing on of them). They will eventually become mere faded little memories and you can laugh at yourself a while later, "Ha! Why did I find that to be of such importance?" and move on.
Dear readers (if any), I am not writing this to be a post "all about me". It is a document containing words about myself, yes, for me to look back on someday -- but if you're reading this, it's also for you. Know that you are special and unique and "Fearfully and wonderfully made" by our Creator. Don't be afraid to move on from certain things and people. Don't let fear hold you back from your passions and your gifts -- push on and force yourself to conquer those fears. You can do it. I promise. Know that I'm cheering you on and I believe you can do it. With a positive mind and your head held high, you will indeed go far -- very, very far.