I auditioned for our local community theater’s new musical, Twelfth Night. If ever you need a moment filled with laughtear, get on a stage, especially if you haven’t been on one before. Before I can get to auditions, let’s talk terminology. And as you will soon find out, laughtear is not a mispelling for laughter.
When the girls were young, we made up all kinds of new words as we marveled at all the ways they managed to do two things at the same time. For example, a fart and a burp was a furt.
But that led to other cool combinations like a fart and a cough. That was a fough.
It was so much fun why not just call a sneeze and a cough a snough?
So now you get the game? And there was that cute thing when they’d have one sock on and one sock off. The missing sock! Now if only we were creative enough to put a name to that. But, looking back, we could have just asked their non-respsonsive selves, “wha’d you do with your ock?”
Just because those days are long gone, when we multitask now it’s usually not connected to our body parts, unless, we just so happen to laugh until the tears come. Now that’s laughtear!
And we all need laughtear, it’s just how do we get some of that in our life?
So that’s where I come into the picture. I willingly sacrifice myself (and all that’s left of the respect people once might have had for me) for a good laugh. After all, I am middle-aged Mama leaping to the stage, take two. (Take one happened last November when I auditioned for Mamma Mia! with the girls for my very first stint with community theater). I’ve learned enough to be deadly with this axiom…if you want some more laughtear in your life, get on a stage. Any stage will do.
My platform just happens to be Jenkintown Music Theater where we have a dynamite director, Deb Schrager, my girls follow her where ever she directs, and the group at JMT is kind enough to take me.
But if only it were that simple. I do have to audition. And the girls make me go in there alone. They won’t do it for me (oh, payback)! Being jester doesn’t come easy to me and it’s not for the faint of heart. Even though I knew better, I tried so hard not to be nervous this time. It mattered so much that I treat this audition the way I would if I had to make dinner. I had prepared. I had played that cd so I knew every song until the girls would get in the car at pick up and say, “Not that again.” (Even though my tween isn’t accustomed to rolling her eyes just yet, she gave me the eye roll, too).
The day of the audition, it was snowing and raining at the same time ( a phenomenon we might call snaining for the sake of this post). But that was just a precursor of what was to come.
In all fairness, I only had to sing two lines. Yes. Two lines, that’s it. How hard could that be? No different than making dinner, I told myself. Plus I knew everybody at the audition. So when I walked down the firing squad, I mean the long table set up in front of the stage, I started to hug people, like the stage manager, Harvey, and Emily, the pianist and then I just gave up. My hellos were already way longer than my estimated stage time was going to be.
I got on stage and showed off my Mamma Mia! boots. The ones I wore to London. They were for old times sake. (Just to remind Deb, in case she had forgotten, that I had been on stage once before). Although she needed no reminding once the music started and I didn’t open my mouth.
How could I? Suddenly there was an introduction. It was the middle of the song! Since when does the middle of a song have a beginning? It was so simple with the cd, it always went like this, “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies.” That was my cue to sing. But without those words, I had nothing but a bunch of notes that I literally never heard before. Oh, how my meal had failed!
But there was always dessert. So Deb started singing for me. And I joined along for those last few words. Until she stopped. I had the sheet music in my hand. All I had to sing was, “Good friends laugh in derision to show you that they care.” So all I could do was hum. But even those notes were off key. I got back on track for the last word. Or did I?
It was all a bad blur. This was an epic fail. Sort of like this picture of my daughter taken right before I took the picture of her crying with her birthday hat on. She was all happy. Entertaining herself. So adorable really…
Until I put the hat on her, and bam, it was all over. The tears came forth as shown in the first picture. Just like me to come and screw everything up…
But, my laughtear moment didn’t come just then. I had to extricate myself (remove the evidence of the spoiled meal) and I did what any comic would do (and trust me I’m not trained in this, I was far from the class clown as a shy kid). I said, “That was horrible.” before I solemnly bowed with the whole arm to stomach and other arm in the air type of a thing. I was so bad, I didn’t even get a do-over.
So this is where it all comes together. I had my laughtear moment with my community theater friends. We had all been telling each other to break a leg at auditions and I came back to inform them that I really did break a leg, both legs, in fact, and I left two casts in the trophy case of the school lobby to prove it.
Everyone was telling me it couldn’t have been that bad, but that set me off to laughing. No, it was that bad. And then that’s when it came out. I said I was starting the bard arse club. So that got me laughing even harder. And then others started sharing their stories (and none of them held a candle to mine), but I wasn’t going to have bragging rights here, I just welcomed them to the club and told them they had rightfully gained admission.
I’m not sure when there was that tipping point where my laughter turned into crying and my crying turned into laughter, but there it was. My laughtear break! Now that was worth the admission price!
A Muse 4 You: when was the last time you had that epic laughtear moment?