More big words. En français, even. I had need of these words today when I commented on a post this morning. But was I using the term properly I wondered?
De rigueur: adjective – necessary if you want to be fashionable, popular, socially acceptable
Yup, apparently I was.
It has been 30 years since I trod the boards in the community theater playhouse. It started as a lark. One day, when “The Performer” and I were passing by the theater, we saw that auditions were underway that very moment. He had considerable amateur and professional experience. I had a few high school productions under my belt. Why not?
I don’t know if it’s the same elsewhere, but in this town male talent was in short supply. When my boyfriend walked in, it was as if the Messiah had returned. He was cast as the romantic lead on the spot. I worked backstage as dresser.
And thus began my education of the life of a thespian. I learned about “that Scottish play” and “break a leg” and “rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb.” All very quaint and delightful lore to the outsider looking in, but fiercely held beliefs and practice to those of us in league.
Equally as important, de rigueur, were the after-rehearsal or after-show drinks. Here we held post mortems. We discussed our technique, our boneheaded mistakes, our brilliant interpretation of the script. Essentially, the pub was another stage upon which we bit players acted out our stress, anxiety, and fear.
Much one-upmanship. Much “Oh yeah? Well, we lived in a cardboard box!” Occasionally snide comments and outright malicious gossip about absent friends. As the night wore on, a song or two. “Knees up, Mother Brown.” (A good portion of our troupe was from Great Britain. Long may she reign.)
I recall having fun, I recall taking part in the conversation. Mostly, though, I recall performance anxiety. Greater anxiety than what I felt on the “real” stage. Was I witty, pithy,fun? Should I speak? Dare I speak? Damn, why did I say that?
My favourite part of theater process was the audition and, of course, being awarded a role. I was cast in three or four shows and worked backstage in three or four more. Mostly, it was alright. But in the main, I decided to leave theater. Too many egos. The biggest was mine.
Inspired by Alienora’s Post Social Insecurity
“I am a good listener, but have never mastered the art of effective social intercourse.” Alienora Taylor
Categories: Personal Growth