Monday, March 25, 2013

Old Red Hills of Home

For a while I'd write half of a post, then circumstances would pop up and say "haha- you're not going to finish this right now" and then I'd save a half finished post, and forget about my blog for another week and a half.

However, this time I know that I want to finish this post before I do anything else.

When I auditioned for Parade, I had little idea of what the show was about. I listened to the soundtrack once or twice before auditions, but with the stress of auditioning, I listened only for the parts that I could possibly be called back for.
I didn't get a call back, and I got ensemble, and that was okay. Right from the start I was okay with being ensemble. After all, this was my first stage show outside of the theater group I performed in while growing up. I was just happy that I made the cut into a cast of 36 people.

I only knew a handful of people in the cast, and the first few rehearsals felt awkward because many of the cast member knew each other already and I was sure I was intruding on already developed social circles and inside jokes. As time went on though, I found myself developing inside jokes and being included. Everyone in the cast is so kind and wonderful. I've been blessed to spend time among such talented people.

I think a show like Parade, which deals with heavy material and a lot hatred on the part of the characters, needs a cast who really care about each other offstage as much as on. I had a very hard time coming to terms with the character I was playing. I was playing an anti-Semitic southern teenager who wanted an innocent man to die. Except, as time went on through the show, I realized that although that was one look at the character I was playing, Bettie-Jean had more to her than that.

Bettie-Jean is a sixteen year old girl from Gerogia, proud of her state and her heritage. She loves her family and loves her friends as if they were her family. She likes teasing and flirting with the boy she has a crush on who works at the police station. When her best friend, Mary, dies, the only information Bettie Jean has to make sense of the situation are the newspapers that paint a picture of a northern Jewish man who came into Atlanta with the intent of killing Mary. So, in Bettie-Jean's mind, it's almost like another Civil War. The north is trying to take over and abuse the south again, and this time, she swears that they won't get away with it. In the end, Bettie-Jean just wants the nightmare of all of the events surrounding Mary's death to be over so that her family and friends can have some peace. The only way for it to be over is for Leo Frank to hang.

I think it's safe to say that I learned a lot about motive and objectives and perspectives this show. It took me more than half the show to figure Bettie Jean out and understand where she was coming from. There's a lot of pain for each character in this show. There are a lot of flaws in each character. That's part of what makes the show so amazing. Even with all of the struggles I had in the beginning with the show, I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. I've had the best re-introduction to stage performance and I don't think I could have chosen a better show or cast. I've made some amazing, hysterical, mind-blowingly talented friends who I hope to stay in touch with.   

So this is my "thank you" note to the whole cast. Thank you all for making me apart of the Parade cast and family. Thank you all for this experience. I love you all and will miss seeing your faces every week. Thank you- Kevin, for casting me in this show. It's been an honor to work under your direction.

I will miss all of you. I will miss the pre-show hilarity in the make-up room while curling my hair (and other people's hair). I will miss the heart to heart conversations I've had with a few of you, and the general conversations I always seemed to stumble in on (at the WRONG times). I will miss the laughter and the quips and the blunders backstage. I will miss the warm ups and looking like an Easter egg.  I will miss my wig for the Governor's Ball. I'll just simply miss everything.

I know I'll be singing "Old Red Hills of Home" for weeks to come. I'll probably have a few tears this week too when it hits me that I won't be coming back to perform this show again. However, I think it's time to find the next adventure. We closed on a fantastic note, and it's better to leave this particular production that way.

Trying to figure out a way to end this post isn't working, so I'm just going to have to stop writing before I start crying.

1 comment:

  1. It is such an amazing show and beautifully done! Suzann and I were SO impressed- the cast, staging, costumes, direction & sets were all superb!