Well, well, well … did I have the experience of a lifetime or what? You know that two women show I was telling you about recently, the one that jumped directly off of my Bucket List? The one that’s comprised of a script and song lyrics I co-wrote? The one I was happy to perform June 29, as a fundraiser for one of my favorite organizations, OLLI ? Ha! What a night that turned out to be!
On Monday of performance week, I woke up feeling like I’d been hit with a truck. By Tuesday, I was losing my voice … by Wednesday, it was entirely gone! Knowing that Saturday’s performance was just a few days away, I went to heroic (!) measures to limit my talking. (This, in and of itself, was rather hysterical. My coaching clients were understanding. But imagine my frustration as I tried to make my way through ten hours of job interviews for a university search committee I was on!) But by Friday, there was no denying reality. While my basic speaking voice was slowly returning, my singing voice was not going make an appearance by showtime.
Here’s where, once again, the lessons that come with age proved to be my best ally. While a small part of me entertained the thought of sheer panic, my better self knew there had to be a solution to the situation. We could cancel and leave OLLI with expenses and no revenue, hardly the best option. No, it was time for Plan B! My writing partner/co-star and I put our heads together. Instead of having a polished, fluid, final dress rehearsal, we spent our time adapting our musical to accommodate one semi-verbal, non-singing actress and one full-voiced, seasoned singing/acting veteran. Oh, and one final challenge? We were having a heatwave and would be performing in an old theater without any cooling except one lone fan! (Speaking of challenges, did I mention that I also had a three hour class to teach Saturday morning? I asked the same, loyal friend to team-teach with me. Experienced teacher, and all around good soul that she is, our teaching experience went so well that the next time, I think we’ll do it again, by design, not default!)
Was it the show everything I wanted to give my audience? Hardly. But in the end, the show did go on. The audience was kind and understanding, even if they were watching theater in a sauna. I felt that, given the circumstances, we had done our best. In the end, could I have asked for anything more? I don’t think so. Well, a few more fans would have been nice but hey, it was time to make some lemonade out of our overflowing basket of lemons!