On wrapping up the show

Copacabana is over.  Our last show was Sunday afternoon.  By 10 PM Sunday night, the set had been struck.  It was sad to see it end so quickly.  While we were all exhausted and my voice still needs a little more time to fully recover from the late nights, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little teary-eyed to see it all come down.

I auditioned for the show to knock something off of my bucket list.  It was to right a decision I had regretted – pretty much the only one I regretted – since college.  I expected to get a minor role at best when I walked into the audition.  After the audition, I didn’t expect to be much more than human scenery and an extra voice for the chorus.  Instead, I landed a major role.  Over the next nine and a half weeks, I went from being terrified about the work it would take to bring about the role and only knowing one other person there to feeling insecure about my abilities and having gotten to know a half-dozen people to feeling confident and having lots of new friends.  All of the performances were great with the possible exception of one that was a bit sketchy.  Even that one was fun because all of us had to be on our toes the entire time.  Doing Copacabana also reminded me of how much I love performing for people.  Fine.  I’m an exhibitionist.  There!  I said it.

What I loved the most about the show were the wonderful people I got to spend all those nights with.  There were late rehearsals and then there were rehearsals when we stayed late just so we could stand around and talk.  There were very few nights when I was home before 10 PM, and there were many when I was not home until well after midnight.  Yes.  That is with work the next day so I never quite got enough sleep.  As Heather noted about a month into rehearsals, I was a bit – or quite on the evening she brought it up –  irritable from the lack of sleep.  Still, to be with these people was entirely worth it.

Lindsay is the person who told me I should come and audition for Copacabana.  Actually, she wanted me to audition for A Christmas Carol, but I had WAY to much going on at church to do that show.  Before I digress further, Lindsay and I went to high school together.  We were in band together for a couple of years and reconnected on facebook in the fall.  That’s how I heard about the college theater having been restarted after an unfortunate incident a several years ago and about Blood Brothers, the play she was in.  I saw it on the last night, and thought it was a great production.  After talking to her about it, she told me that I should audition for future shows.  That’s how I ended up going out for auditions.  Lindsay was one of the people that I spent many of the late nights talking to.

While Lindsay was someone I could talk to from the first day, Allie was not.  On the night of read-through, Allie sat beside me and gave me all sorts of crap.  Granted, I dished it back out from time to time.  It didn’t get better through the first music rehearsals either.  I thought he was abrasive and rude, and I generally avoided him as much as possible.  Over the course of the production, I realized that – like another friend of mine – this was his way of being friendly.  If he didn’t like me, he either would have ignored me or been quite hateful instead of abrasive.  One of Allie’s best features is his honesty.  While most people will respond to a question like “How am I doing?” with simple praise, Allie will give an honest and straight-forward answer, and he’ll follow it with advice on how to improve what you’re working on.  Although most people can’t handle an Allie, he’s somebody that I’ll take on my side any day of the week and twice on Sundays.  (Those matinees can be killers!)

Brian reminds me a lot of me.  He’s laid back.  He stays on top of gossip and drama but he doesn’t seek out opportunities to spread it.  Brian has a great sense of humor.  He can hit you on the side of the face with a joke or he can subtly insert humor into almost any situation.  Despite this ability, he is someone who can sit down and have a serious conversation about nearly anything.  He is one of the few people who never lost control over their emotions through the entire run.  (I’ve learned that there’s a lot of drama in theater.)

Tiffany – like Brian – was one of the younger adults in the cast.  She nearly always had a smile on her face and felt at home with her youthful side.  Tiffany was always there for the kids in the show, whether they needed a ride somewhere or wanted to talk to someone.  Tiffany is also a huge UK fan, so in a cast of people who largely didn’t care about sports, it was great to have someone to talk to about the tournament.

Greg amazed me with his dedication to the performance.  While scenes were being blocked, he could be seen standing to the side diagramming everything that was happening.  If he was in the scene, as soon as he went off stage, he had his notebook out writing down what just happened.  Even after everybody else had set their books aside, Greg continued to go over his lines and notes.  Despite the fact that he must have known it by heart for weeks, even during the final shows, he could still be found in the dressing room leafing through the script or blocking.  Greg was a great reminder to keep my head in the show even while there was chaos and revelry backstage.

Lauren genuinely cared about what was going on with people – not in a wanting gossip way but rather in a how-are-you-really-doing kind of way.  She is immensely talented as well.  In fact even at just 15 years of age, I think she was one of the most talented people in the show.  She can get in touch with her sensitive side and her fears, but she also knows how to pour on the comedy when the time comes for it.  There were several times she almost had me laughing on stage during performances.  Lauren also did an excellent job doing my eye makeup for about half the shows.

Caroline and Haley are two of the most outgoing, friendly young women I’ve ever met.  From day one, they were welcoming to the ensemble.  They possessed a genuine excitedness that was easy to feed off of, and they made me feel a part of the group faster than anyone else.  Caroline’s talent rivals that of Lauren, and she never let show if she was disappointed to not get a leading role.  Haley is no slouch herself when it comes to talent, and I’m certain her abilities will blossom in future shows as she gets more time on stage.

Andrew and Blaine always looked to make things a game.  They might be making up dance moves or competing to see who could drop the fewest screws during work call, but there was always something going on with them.  They also had a way of drawing in others to their entertainment, which made some of the long days and nights much more enjoyable.

One of the names that never appeared in the program is that of Kelsey.  Kelsey is another of the young ladies from the production who really stands out from her peers.  While she possesses the youthful qualities of her age of 16 when it comes to joy and curiosity, she also shares the maturity and interest of a woman twice her age at times.  Kelsey is wicked awesome with an eyeliner pencil, too, being the only person who could use it on me without bringing tears to my eyes.  (Hey!  It’s not like I use those things a whole lot, here!)

I’ve only scratched the surface of how amazing these people have been over the past two and a half months.  I’ve also not even mentioned so many people from the cast, who I have grown close to – and if you’re reading this, your exclusion should not be taken personally.  I’m sure I’ve already lost the attention of the few people who normally read this blog! – through the production.  I also never mentioned Paula, who did amazing things with the costumes for the show, or Ed, who was like the circus master, turning three rings of absolute madness into the vision portrayed on stage, or the many, many other people who made Copacabana happen.  I have a special place in my heart for each and every one of them, even if they were not mentioned specifically here.

Now that the show has been over for five days, I find that I miss it so much.  I miss the fun.  I miss the performing.  Mostly though, I miss the people.  I was lucky enough to get to see several of them last night when I went to see another play featuring a couple of them.  It was amazing.  As great as the performance was, the best part was still seeing and talking to my new friends, even if we did end up out until after 1 in the morning.  Now, I’ll just wait until the banquet in a month to see everyone again and find out what next year may hold in store.  Until the fall, I’ll have my memories of the work, the lost sleep, the pain, the joy, the friendships that were and will forever be to me…

Copacabana.

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