Forget the stage fright, your show must go on

May 28, 2018

Cartoon courtesy of Jess Rae of Doodley Squat.

THE life of a thespian is not easy.
It is filled with late nights, manic moments, high tension, criticism and letdowns.
And limited sleep.
Not unlike living with a new baby (or wannabe teenage daughters).
But, there is no rest for the wicked as they say.
The past week for those of us involved in Echuca-Moama Theatre Company’s Phantom of the Opera has involved finishing work, rushing home (without speeding but cursing the painfully slow driver in front of me), shovelling down dinner as fast as possible, showering like a wild monkey and plastering on my make-up base before jumping in the car to make it to the theatre by 6pm.
Once arriving at the Paramount there is no time for catching your breath as we all madly change into our costumes, get our microphones fitted, have our make-up done and wigs anchored securely before the all-important vocal warm-ups, in time for the curtains to open at 7.30pm.
Backstage is a hive of activity as the crew manage the very large sets, prepare for scene changes and ensure all the right props are where they’re supposed to be when they are needed.
The costume ladies are busily fixing and sewing costumes that have come undone, the make-up artists are transforming 40 faces as quickly as possible, one after the other, while the hairdressers are fitting up to 25 wigs and braiding and French rolling others.
The air is filled with nerves and excitement.
The smell of hairspray wafts through the corridors and our shrill howls of laughter are met with an even louder ‘shush’ because “the audience can hear you!”
And then the hardest part of all – waiting.
The waiting game in the wings is painstaking for someone such as me who has been blessed with very little patience.
But it’s all part of it.
And so worth it, when you finally take to the stage and those curtains open and you look out to the sea of faces waiting with anticipation.
Your body becomes electric and you are no longer yourself because if you have got it right after those months of rehearsals you immediately lose yourself in your character — and that’s when the magic happens.
This is theatre life. The life I love. And there is nothing quite like it.
Yes, the life of a thespian is not easy, but it’s a hell of an adrenaline rush.

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