RE(nt) – Cap (Arms Wide Open)

Posted: February 4, 2010 in Road to RENT

January 30, 2010 (Part 4)

As the lobby emptied and the cast scattered to their separate corners of the world, I found myself standing in the middle of an empting room wandering just what to do. I turned in an awkward circle and settled on going home for the night. The heavenly voice intercepted my plan:

“You want to go to Stanley’s?”

I shrugged my shoulders not knowing what Stanley’s was, mic check, the kind individual that holds my microphone waiting for me to exit the stage to apply it, asked:

“Have you ever been to Stanley’s?”

I shook my head no. Stanley’s outings had always escaped me as I made my way to work tormented by the fun my cast mates were having. Standing next to mic check was shoe and shirt application, she threw my decision at me:

“You are going to Stanley’s, you have to, you will love it!”

Due to my terrible lack of directions, I decided to follow the music director as he made a slight detour to pick up a friend. Winding through the snowy roads, I tried to give the heavenly voice the play by play of my whereabouts as I followed along, content in my anticipation of the night.

The music director stopped at a house as my life preserver waited patiently in the driveway. And what seemed like a normal sight to most, a friend picking up another, caused my heart to explode.

Love.

I could see it all around, pouring on heavier than the blanket of snow that caused my tires to spin. My mind traced back to the many individuals of my past, the love we professed to one another and the bonds that seemed indestructible. It touched up on the pain of losing someone dear to me, not to death, disease or distance, but to mere circumstances.

I rehearsed some bonds that are slowly mending, but not keeping in rhythmic time. My thoughts twanged:

Love is patient.

I inched into some instances that have found me wanting to sink my verbal and, at times, physical, teeth into someone, exposing their every wound. My mind thumped:

Love is kind.

I took a glance in my rear view mirror and brought to life situations that have weighed me down, counted me out, overlooked me, disgusted me and shook my foundation. My thoughts comforted:

[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never FAILS!

I sat quietly at the table that night contemplating the people and situations around me. Slight smiles interrupted my serene face and gentle head nods showed my attention was being paid; however, all I could really do was bask in new revelations and old situations, placing myself in the lap of understanding.

For something new, I was in love.

January 31, 2010

“Hello, Jeremy.”

I only heard a voice. I looked straight ahead of me and there was a coat rack in my sightline. My eyes dashed back and forth wondering if my lack of sleep was causing auditory hallucinations.

I inched my way in, weary that I would fall upon an empty station on the other side of the rack. I saw black hair. It was a woman, more specifically mom, the woman that touched my sweaty back proclaiming she had kids, my back was nothing. I pressed my lips together preparing to ask if she heard the voice too, another figure moved into focus. I breathed a sigh of relief.

It was mic tech (not mic check). He was busying himself with microphone preparations his head never taking a glance in my direction. Mom spoke:

“Uh, how did you know it was him?”

Mic tech, still with his head down, answered:

“I don’t know, I just did.”

I responded:

“Wow, do I have some sort of sound or something?”

Mic tech replied, as if it was something he had always known, a slight laugh escaping his lips:

“Yeah.”

I smiled and strutted forward thinking:

Oooo! I carry my own theme music, like Shaft or something. “Who is the man, with blisters on his hand/ JEREMY /Can you dig it?”

As I moved forward, taking notice to my limp, my mind rehearsed the other injuries plaguing my body.

My left thumb is stiff from slamming my weight into it. My ankle has swollen from kicking the wall and my toes throb every time they touch the top of my shoe. My throat is harboring a porcupine and my hip feels like someone is repeatedly stabbing me with the trident end of a hammer. I pulled it from over extending; i.e., kicking the wall.

I smile:

I feel like an athlete again.

I carefully take myself through the stretches, the fist pounder taking photos of my many awkward positions. I cheer in my head at the proclamation of her having a rock voice – a review in the paper praising her performance, me texting her as soon as I reach the last line to congratulate her. I then make my way, painfully through my routine; however, not a worry vexes me.

I realize that no matter how bad the pain is, or how tender my hip is to the touch, adrenaline is the performer’s natural anesthesia. As soon as the music starts, all thoughts of discomfort will be gone.

I also congratulate the dark-haired dude on his stellar performance, waiting until he is finished the article to embrace him with my appreciation.

And then I fall into position, wait for the music to start:

BROOKLYN!

The routine is feeling amazing. I am hamming it up a bit knowing the fist pounder is backstage trying to record it on her camera for memorabilia. I move into my head stand and the ice takes effect.

Not being able to find my other shirt, and the main director dismissing the e-mail contest holder’s notion to have me perform without one, I put together a new outfit. The new outfit calls for a new hat. A new hat I had never performed with.

As I move into my head trick, the protruding button at the top slams into the ground, causing a sharp pain in the top of my head. I reposition my head, only to slip, my body wobbling under the adjustments. I push my head back and the pain returns and for about ten seconds I am wobbling trying to gain and regain balance.

I laugh.

It’s a great feeling.

I toss myself back up, finish the dance in my routine, give the wall some extra sexual favors and move off the stage. I reach the black and realize something:

I’m not that tired.

I could breathe!

It was glorious. My body was finally growing accustomed to the new routine causing me to contemplate upping the difficulty level. I scold myself:

You still haven’t landed the aerial the way you want.

I retreat into my character and feel the smooth sailing until the fist pounder’s strip tease.

I grab my camera vowing to return the favor of recording my performance. Half way through the first part of her song, I realize that I have been jumping up and down dancing with her, forgetting about my camera. I grab it, set it to video and push the start button.

A flash goes off.

I gasp. My Season’s of Love partner looks at me:

“Way to go Jeremy!”

I chuckle, realizing that I still don’t know how to use my own camera. I find the correct setting and begin recording.

As if the positive review had reignited her soul, she adds moves and takes her sexuality to a whole new level. I can feel the crowd loving it, taking it all in. I anticipate the bellows, whistles and screams as she finishes.

The fist pounder hops on the table, grabs one song glory and belts her last note:

“TONIGHT!”

I try to steady my hand as my emotions are applauding her. I wait for the crowd to join in on my excitement. I tune my ears towards the auditorium.

I can literally hear the woman digging in her ear in the front row.

My mood plummets. A heat showers over me.

I’m no longer ready to make nice:

HOW COULD THEY NOT APPLAUD!

I vow to defend the fist pounder.

I gear my revenge towards La Vie Boheme, knowing it would be my chance to jump into the crowd and go crazy, scolding them for not appreciating the fist pounder’s hard work. And when it came around I dance on and around anything I can.

I do splits against the walls, and turn upside down in people’s faces. I am determined to get them to love her. And, in a move of anger, I move towards the ear wax grabber and dance. I try to wake her up.

As we retreat backstage, preparing for ACT II, I run towards the heavenly voice:

“You have go to wake them up in Season’s of Love. You guys are working yall back out. I need them to see that!”

Suddenly, the main director and life preserver interrupt us:

“They are loving you guys. We can hear them talking and whispering about the show. Don’t think they don’t love you.”

Someone interrupted the proclamation, sounding as respectable as possible:

“Well, can they, like, um clap?”

I break in, apologizing for setting the tone of the day:

“Well, guys, I guess I have to apologize for the t-shirt I wore. I guess I am to blame sense I am the first person they see.”

My new blue t-shirt read:

I’D RATHER BE NAKED!

We laughed and prepared for ACT II.

The heavenly voice killed it. And by the end of ACT II tears filled the eyes of many, and with the final bow a standing ovation was given. I grinned from ear to ear, ashamed of myself and coming to a new knowledge of the theatre world:

Every crowd is different. And you simply have to perform from the heart knowing that the crowd will eventually find their way into it.

Being from a world of cheer and dance, the crowd was the greatest indication of how you did. If they sat back bored, you knew you were the equivalent to a lump on a log. If they cheered, clapped and stood to their feet even before the last note blared, you knew you were a hit. However, in theatre, one may never know until it is all said and done.

As everyone poured into the lobby, their loved ones waiting to shower them with praise, I took my time getting dressed.

I didn’t know anyone in particular that would be there so I didn’t want to get in the way of suspecting family members and friends. My mind was already geared on who I would directly go towards because I knew she would be waiting there with arms wide open.

I finished getting dressed and set my sights on finding her in the crowd. Along the way people stopped me.

“You were amazing!”

“Where did you come from?”

“Whoa, where did they find you?”

“You did awesome!”

I turned around to see whom they were speaking to, no one was there. My thought vibrated:

They are talking to me. Oh wow, they are talking to me.

A lady commented on how she wanted to just crawl into the fetal position as I gave my last glance towards the crowd, whisking Mimi off into my cave of deception.

...i'm cool...

I laughed.

My heart thumped with humility and appreciation.

Some gave me hugs and prolonged smiles. I danced in the sparkles of their eyes. And finally, I found her, the main director’s mother, and she filled me up with love. She grabbed me:

“You are just so wonderful. You are great.”

I smiled as I swam in her eyes. She continued:

“You know, I feel sorry for people who only see this once. There are just so many stories they miss in the beginning.”

I stared in wonder: She moved on:

“Today, I decided to not watch the leads and watch you guys in the background, and you are just great. You are amazing up there. I could totally read your story and feel everything you were going through.”

I beamed, her words lighting me, the main director’s dad holding up the power in the distance, his face glowing.

I moved through the doors glowing as well. I waved at audience members and thanked them for coming. I honked my horn at the main director’s mom and dad, thanking them for all they have done for me, are doing for me.

I wave one last time, and disappear into the joy of the day.

I am thankful that they have taken the time out to lift me, an unknown character. They didn’t have to, nor are they obligated to, but they choose to. I didn’t know it was what I needed at the time, but somehow, someway, they did. And I truly appreciate it.

I don’t plan on over taxing them with my presence. However, as the theme song from Cheers depicts:

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came…

And sometimes, as you embark on new journey’s taking on new bodies of water, you have to secure your floaties to ensure that you will not drown. Nevertheless, someday, as your courage reaches new levels and familiarity calms the fears, you must take them off, admiring their support and learn to swim on your own, knowing and comforted that they will always be there when you need them…

…with arms wide open!

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