Playing Martha

Yo-Yo and I were in a little drama this Sunday. He was Matthew and got to put his feet on the table, eat lots of dip, and pal around with Lazarus. I was Martha and I got to tell Matthew to take his feet off the table, screech at various people (a guest, Jesus) to try the dip, and hiss at Lazarus to sit up straight.

The five minute drama went off without a hitch. Yo-Yo had a great time; he said he only got nervous right before he walked on stage and then he was perfectly fine. I had a grand old time even though I had no idea what I was doing. I learned what “cheating” and “off-book” mean, and I stretched parts of my brain that I didn’t know I had. My lower back ached from the standing, stress, and nerves, and in the couple days leading up to the event, I developed an annoying habit of stomping around the house yelling about muffins, dip, and nard.

Now, our post-play dinnertime conversation revolves around me tossing out a line and letting the children finish it up. For example:

Me, “Caleb!” (Martha’s sous chef.)

The kids, “Yes Martha?”

The kids, “Where are the muffins?”

The kids, “Muffins?”

The kids, “Yes, muffins! Round, crumbs on top, moist, fig-laden muffins! WHERE are the muffins?”

The Baby Nickel crows, “I’m on it!”

And so it goes. As you can see, the kids don’t need much prompting. We can make our way through most of the ten page script without too many gaps.

Acting intrigues me. I’m drawn to it, for more reasons than just the glamour and adulation (though those are nice, too). The challenge of pretending to be someone else, stretching my mind to imagine life differently, using my whole body to express ideas and emotions—this is why acting appeals to me. The only problem is, I’ve never acted.

Well, that’s not quite true. In college I played an angry lover in a short Spanish play. I sat on a park bench and bickered about negro and blanco. But really, I’ve never auditioned for anything in my life. Auditioning scares me senseless, truth be told. As does acting. I’m not good at ad-libbing or anything impromptu. I’m calculated and methodical. The mere thought of getting up on stage and forgetting my lines makes my bowels quake.

(A side benefit of acting: weight loss.)

Volunteering to participate in Sunday’s drama was a big step. It helped that we were working with/under a pro or two, and it helped that the cast was intergenerational and that there were other newbies—I wasn’t the only one staggering into the unknown. But still, I was scared. I was putting myself Out There to be watched, examined, judged. The stage, it turns out, is a vulnerable place to be.

And I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Perhaps I should try out for a community play. But there’s the awkward audition and my fragile ego; I don’t know if I could handle being rejected. (Not that they have any reason not to reject me, considering I’ve had no training, no experience, and no idea what I’m doing.) In any case, in order to justify all the evenings spent away from home, I think at least two of the kids would have to also participate. It will be a long time till I have a second kid who wants to act with me and Yo-Yo (he’s already agreed), though—Miss Beccaboo shakes her head vigorously when I ask if she’d like to be in a play, and while Sweetsie has developed a gift for flaring her nostrils and reducing us all to tears of laughter, I don’t see her waltzing around on stage any time soon.

But never mind. All my life’s a stage, right?

Now tell me, have you taken any bold, bowel-quaking steps lately? Please share. I covet the company.

An insecure, vulnerable, hapless dreamer

P.S. I’ll stop signing off on my blog posts … eventually. Maybe. I think.

About one year ago: The winner. Oh goodness! Look at that, will you? The spending freeze finished up last year at this time, and this year it’s still going strong. Whee!


  • Kris

    You can read about my recent bowel-quaking venture here:

    Find the arrow in the Featured Articles picture to the right and click through the honey photo, then the potatoes, then….ME.

    Yes, I have agreed to submit recipes EVERY freakin' week ALL YEAR for food made from products currently available at market. YIKES!!! I know, it's what I do every day at home, but somehow it feels a little vulnerable to be cooking in front of, well, I don't even know who, since no one comments.

  • Mama Pea

    Several (many?) years ago, I got involved with our very active community theater and did a couple of plays. (Which in itself is quite remarkable and something I still don't understand because I'm very shy and do NOT like being the center of attention.) Anyway. One of the actors in one of the plays I did said something I think I'll always remember. He said: "Acting is like taking a vacation from yourself."

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    Oh, I wish I had been there to see the drama. I think you would be a natural (actor). And, if you think blogging is an outlet for you- acting would take things to a whole other level. I bet your bowels would settle down after a bit:-).

Leave a Comment