When was the last time you did something for the joy of it? Not because you had to, not because someone dragged you into it, not because it was your kids’ activity, but because you wanted to do something for the fun of it? When was the last time you did that?
I did exactly that when I performed in the Kiwanis show this month. I performed for the fun of it – for the joy of it. I’ve known about this show for about 10 years but I’ve never been in it. The auditions were always when I was traveling or busy at work and the thought of doing one more thing would, no doubt, send me over the edge. But this time around, I auditioned at the urging of a friend, who didn’t end up auditioning with me!
I was glad to be cast in two dance numbers even though I was secretly disappointed not to be cast in what I would call a “sexy” dance number, like All That Jazz or Razzle Dazzle. I can’t be disappointed by not being cast in a singing number because I didn’t do a solo singing audition and there wasn’t a group singing audition that I recalled.
Now, why do this? Why subject yourself to 12 weeks of rehearsals, endless nights of tech rehearsal, dress rehearsal and 6 performances? Why subject yourself to crazy costumes and the costs associated with such performances?
For me, I love entertaining and performing. Long ago, I remember performing in pre-school and being a little shy, but also little excited about standing up in front of my parents and everyone else’s parents to say/sing my lines. I held up a sign with a giant letter T on it (apparently the sign was upside down, but that didn’t deter me), and I stepped forward to say “Tis the Season” loud and clear.
From there, I remember performing in orchestras, bands, chorus, in the pit orchestra for musicals, and acting school plays (who remembers Bartholomew J. Harding). I remember the stress inducing auditions for band and orchestras. But I also remember the joy of performing and entertaining people. Now, I mostly perform on the trombone, but occasionally I sing or dance. I do it because it is fun and I enjoy it. Counter-intuitively, I think it is a good stress-reliever from day to day life.
I do it because:
- I love being on stage; for some reason that “Look at me, ma” feeling has never gone away!
- I love performing, singing and dancing, acting, and playing an instrument (although not all at the same time)
- I love connecting with an audience
- I love entertaining people
- I love making people laugh; after all, laughter is the best medicine!
- I love the camaraderie that is formed among a show cast for the fleeting time that we are rehearsing and performing.
From the most recent show, I can’t remember a time for our “Make ‘Em Laugh” number that I didn’t come home from a rehearsal in a better mood than I went in. I went in with an attitude of having fun, and doing so with joy. I went in with an attitude of knowing my lines and dance moves and with an attitude of enjoying performing. I stopped worrying about being perfect and just had fun learning. I learned everything well enough to connect with other performers and really have fun on stage. I was practically moved to tears each time we sang “For Good” because the two main singers were so fantastic.
After a show like the Kiwanis Show, there is always a let down and withdrawal period. You become close with people and make new friends and rekindle “performance” friendships with people you only know and see through this avenue. You spend a lot of time together over the 12 weeks and even more time together during all the dress rehearsals and performances. There is a true sense of loss and melancholy afterwards. And then you look around and wonder what you are going to do with all that time now that you won’t be in rehearsals!
I do these performances for the joy of entertaining people. What do you do for the pure joy of it!
Pictures by Chet Moore, Karen Pratt, Nicole Bachelor, and Sonya Sigler.