We started rehearsals for Carrie at La Mirada a year ago. It blows my damn mind.
Over the past couple of weeks I've been thinking a lot about my inspirations, my initial gut reactions to the theatre and what sucked me in. I remember having a family in community theatre. I remember exactly who I looked up to and why I wanted to be like them. I remember studying the Mama Rose, The Giant and the Sweeney Todd. It was an electric time of my life. It was a place where anything was possible and everything was attainable. You begin to build up this courage and sense of awareness. You realize that you have a power in you and you feel like you're on top of the world. And you just fucking love what you do. You're staying at the lodge until 2 in the morning blocking a scene and assisting the crew in putting the finishing touches on the sets and costumes. You're not getting paid, you're not networking, you're not necessarily "moving up" in the world... you just whole-heartedly love what you do.
I miss it.
It was during this time, in middle school and high school, that I truly began my journey in discovering who I was and what I wanted to do in life. It was simple. It was SO simple. And sure, no production is complete without a little drama. The director's daughter got the lead. The adults were getting plastered in the dressing rooms. We had two full dance numbers to choreograph and the curtain was going up in an hour. But instead of sparking world wars and turning people against each other, it did the exact opposite. It brought everyone together in the most epic of ways. The shit that went down in community theatre became the fondest memories I have of being a performer. You know that if you could get through this absurdity, you could get through anything. I keep this close to my heart.
Grease was a crazy one. I remember watching the film on repeat as a kid and thinking to myself, "I want to do THAT." There were no other options. And 20 or so years down the line, I was walking in between cameras with a giant silver curler hat thing-ama-bobber on my head, staring across the room at Didi Conn, who started tearing up at the sight of all of these "drop-outs." It was magical. And it made me so proud. We gotta keep passing it down.
Some other Carrie cast members and I visited a school doing a student production of Carrie. We sat in on their rehearsal and enjoyed the ride. It was thrilling. It hit me across the face. I miss this mindset. I miss this passion and energy and courage. I want more of it back in my life.