We are about to start rehearsals in the theatre and the reality that we need to perform this in front of an actual audience is sinking in. I must say, this is the first show where I feel I still need the script in my hands. Usually I am pretty good about remembering lines and blocking, but there are so many one liners from the studio audience that it's difficult to keep them straight, not to mention I completely forget how long to hold a lot of the notes.
I am thinking about my character and who she is. I am basing her off of a co-worker back in my younger days. This girl was beautiful, strong, and an excellent leader. She was a bit exotic with an unique likability, and trust me, you would not want to get on her bad side. Her personal choices did not reflect the amazing person she truly was. She was with a man who did not respect her, they lived in questionable cleanliness, she surrounded herself with individuals who used drugs to make their way through their chosen existence and who did not care to educate or better themselves in any capacity. It was frustrating to hear her talk about the world she had made and even the world that brought her to her current place in life. She suffered from panic attacks that could be triggered at any moment and she shared secrets with me that would shock a lot of people. However, she had great support from us co-workers and we were not afraid to tell her that she was better. I like to think that we created a support for each other during this time and we all turned out to be better people because of it.
Scott told us that we need to connect with one of the stories that is presented on stage with the Jerry Springer guests. Based upon this character I am developing, and the reality I am drawing from, I really think Shawntel and Chucky's story resonates. Chucky is a man that does not respect his woman, he demeans her, leaves her alone at night, and yet she is expected to be there waiting to care for his needs. Shawntel sings about looking out for other people for her whole life and never really focusing on herself. This is oddly close to the story of this girl I am talking about.
Now that years have passed, this girl has since moved back home and started a healthy marriage with a beautiful family. I feel she has found "her dreams again." Luckily she is a success story of what a good heart can bring to deserving people.
I am choosing to play this character who is starting to question her place in life with the people she has chosen to surround herself with. This character is tough, feminine, a bit immature, and who is somewhat ignorant to her own self worth. She thinks she is happy but Shawntel's song is going to make her truly contemplate her situation. What I am struggling with is that I am this character for Act One and then I am a nurse for the entire rest of the show. I know it's just new clothing but when we sing to Jerry at the end, I wish I could be transformed back into this girl who needs the guidance. I want her to be the one who learns the lesson at the end; that's what will bring meaning for me.
Alas, make it work.