LYTM - from my perspective

Last night was the inaugural performance of Listen To Your Mother - Chicago.  I was lucky enough to be accepted as a member of the cast.

To start, I had no nerves, although I could detect a potential issue in the fact that at audition, 1st rehearsal and 2nd rehearsal, I could not get through the last line or two without choking up.  But I have had a world of experience being in front of audiences - and I had never choked before.  So I saw no need to feel nervous.

Somewhere along the way, however, sometime during the backstage pacing going on before the show started, sometime during that time I began to realize that nerves had taken me over and I was in fear, almost panic, of being onstage in front of all those people.  And I began to understand why I was so unnerved.

This time was going to be different.  This time, it was going to be Me.

In years past, when I WAS onstage, it was always as someone else.  A character.  A pretense.  Not me.  Not my words.  And I never got nerves like I had last night, because it's easier to be out there, under the lights, when you're pretending to be someone else.  All you need to know are your lines, your cues, and your blocking.  The fear and/or nerves you WILL feel are related to screwing up one or more of those three aspects of your performance on stage.

This time was going to be different.  This time, it was going to be Me.

My body knew before my mind did.  My body started churning, heart pounding, breathing short and quick.  I began to wonder why, now?  Why was I getting nervous NOW?  And then, because I had asked the question, the answer came - hit me like a thunderclap.  "Because you're going to be YOU".

I looked around at my cast-mates.  Some looked so calm, so within themselves.  Others were talkative and outgoing.  None of them seemed changed from the people I had come to know, admire, respect and, yes, love.  Each of them came up to me, at one time or another, and said words of encouragement, expressions of support, or gave me a hug.  A much needed hug.

I can't begin to tell you what I feel about last night.  It is indelibly imprinted on my mind and memory.  The whole experience, from audition, to rehearsals, to performance - all guided to perfection by Melisa Wells and Tracey Becker.  The audience was amazing and receptive.  But the feelings about last night go way beyond descriptions of what happened.  Each story is a part of me, now.  Each of the women of the cast, all of whom were so nice to me, so genuine, so supportive,  are now friends - in every true and valuable meaning of the word.

This has rambled a bit.  But it's the best I can do as I still feel a tumult of emotion about the whole experience.

And what an experience it was.



Your Fan, Karen said...

You had that audience eating out of the palm of your Left Hand! From Spanx to Spanks - you have been a good sport and quick wit as our LTYM Boy Toy! xoxo

PattiKen said...

There is something about sharing an intense experience with other people. Somehow, that sharing is a shortcut to feelings it normally takes years to develop about each other.

I knew you would do well. And I guarantee that your emotion absolutely MADE it for your audience.

PattiKen said...

I just saw Karen's comment. "Boy toy"... Love it!

Melisa Wells said...

Love this, Lou. I agree: it's hard to put all of my feelings about the show into a neat little box, too. It was such a great experience, and the feeling that we were all in it together was overpowering in a really good way. I'm so glad you were a part of it.

Lisa Noel said...

As the mom of three boys your piece touched me in a totally different way then the ladies from the show. I really appreciated your perspective. And I TOTALLY get the fear. Although I wouldn't consider myself a seasoned speaker or actor at all. I can handle doing readings of other people's writiing. But the thought of sharing my words as you all did, terrifying. I can't even handle hearing people read my words aloud to me. You ALL were inspiring, for being brave enough to do and for the amazing pieces you shared!!!!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Lou, when you got choked up, you nearly did us in backstage. We all kinda quietly gasped like "What?!? Lou?" because you had been so smooth about it all before. It was really touching, though, because it was GENUINE and I think you really touched a lot of people's hearts.

Big Mark 243 said...

I really enjoyed reading the comments and I hope you feel richer for the experience... this is what I miss about boxing... it would not matter whether it was in a boxing mecca or some small town dot in the midwest, these feelings would always be apart of the scene... and those feelings played a big part in making boxing what it is to me...

Good on you Lou..!