RE(nt) – Cap (Higher)

Posted: February 15, 2010 in Road to RENT

February 12, 2010

I am such a liar!

I respect humble honesty, thrive on realness and promote individuality bathed in truthfulness; yet, I have become a liar. Even worse, I lied to myself.

I told myself that I would play it cool, play it chill. I told myself that I would sit quietly and calm, as I did during auditions and the sing thru. I said I would be laidback.

It had been nearly two weeks sense I had seen these wonderful faces, the snowstorm causing the heart to palpitate irregularly, the longing to see the RENT crew offsetting the beats. I turned the corner and became the liar.

At the sight of the first face my mask shattered to the floor. I grabbed the nearest body and squeezed it tight. I ran through the stage and silenced voices with my strong embrace. I was like a dearly loved dog, in wait of his master. I could feel myself emotionally licking their faces as I showered them with love.

No one was disqualified from my grip; old, young, new and old all got a piece of my joy. Content and valiant in my efforts, I retreated into the business of the day:

My brother is coming!

He is a man!

He is the definition of Paul Bunyon without the ax, he has a chainsaw. He is sports and action. He is one of the many reasons I can take a punch.

While I see things for their abstract aesthetics, he is into the concrete mechanics.

He is one of my biggest supporters; however in a different way.

In the midst of praise, he brings about the logic. Never allowing me to settle for mediocrity, he continues to push, his words screaming:


When I ran track he was my coach, even from 1,100 miles away. When I cheered and danced, he analyzed every move, threatening to throw a football at me if I deviated from the plan. And as I knew he would be sitting in the audience, taking in my every gesture, I had to be on top of my game. I had to show him everything I had worked on. And if he liked what he saw, I anticipated his encouragement:


I texted him profusely, inquiring on his whereabouts. He responded:

“Me and Untle (my uncle, great nephew given name) are in the lobby. Mike and Tee are here too.”

My stomached knotted up:

“Oh no, they didn’t reserve tickets, and aren’t on the waiting list. We are all sold out.”

I ran to the directors, pleading for something to be done.


We were all booked and only a miracle could get them in. I prayed for a miracle. Seconds later my brother texted me back, after worrying myself to sweat:

“They got in.”

I tore to the back of the theatre, behind the black curtain, and sifted through the crowd:

Wow, they even got seats next to each other!

My audience was complete. My white brother Kyle was front row center with his girlfriend. My church brother Shawn was in front row left seat, my mechanical brother and Untle were seated and two others, not expected, had made it in. I made sure to put my finishing instructions on my entrance directions. I took my spot and waited to enter:


I tore the doors open, my attention going directly towards my brother:

He is watching, my Untle smiling from ear to ear next to him. They got the directions.

I moved down the aisle, and spotted Kyle:

Hahaha, look at his face.

I hit the stage and soaked in their support, readying myself to turn the world upside down. I caught a glimpse of Tee. In the midst of an ocean of still bodies, I saw arms. She flailed them from side to side, my attention going directly towards her. It lifted me. She was cheering me on even before my first trick.

It was just what I needed.

As I stood backstage, my lungs grabbing for air, mic check and shoes and shirt application readying me for my next scene, I calculated any mishaps:

I performed my heart out. I don’t think there is anything I needed to change. Maybe a longer stall in the hand stand. Hmmmm, I wonder what my brother will say.

Higher? Hopefully…

I gripped a bit of wind and made my way, successfully, through the first scene. As I collapsed over the stage, my arms dangling inches from the floor, the lights blackening, my body was suddenly being jolted.

My church brother Shawn was grabbing my right arm shaking it heavy and hard. All I could think was, I’m not gonna make it off stage in time. He released me. I ran off stage content in my efforts.

I was soaring high, each scene weaving itself flawlessly into the other. Then, La Vie Boheme happened.

My body became a seesaw, the left side heavier than the right, at times my head bearing a ton of weight.

I danced on the bench behind over the moon, the bench tipped forward. I caught myself just in time. I moved to jump off the stage into the crowd, the left side of my body dragging, almost hitting an audience member. I went to do an upside down split on the wall, my body toppling over to the left, catching myself just before I hit the floor.

I stood on a chair, tossing my left foot up to anchor it against the near wall. My toe caught it and began to slide down, I bust my shoulder into the concrete wall sending a cold pain into my collarbone. I pushed hard and I was finally upright.


I spun off, run towards the stage, did a handstand and went to walk up the steps. My foot twisted to the right and under me. My full weight went into it. A sharp pain invaded my ankle and I could feel myself loosing the fight against gravity.

I double turned and collapsed to the floor. My butt landed on my ankle sending the pain up my hamstring. My face is elated, laughing; my insides were trying to join in, wondering how bad it could be. I tried to anchor some weight on it, it wobbled. I thought:

I’m done.

The lights blackened and I scampered, on my hands and knees, off the stage, nervously laughing the entire way.

My cast mates displayed all signs of concern. The heavenly voice requesting ice, she breaks into her motherly compassion:

“Are you okay, honey?”

I laugh it off, claiming this stuff has always happened to me. The ice is applied to my ankle; she sees that I will make it through, the heavenly voice gets back to business:

“Give me your MIC!”

Due to technical difficulties her mic was surrendered to another. Season’s of Love was coming up and the world needed to hear the pleasures coming from her voice box. My mic was the one to go.

I laughed as I tore my pants open, retrieving the mic holder, and ripped hair out of my face to remove the ear piece, tape holding it in place.

The fist pounder hobbled in.

She had also twisted her ankle. I inquire about her injury. She doesn’t recall the moment. She leaned towards me, after seeing my ankle under ice, concluding the reason for my swollen ankle is of my doing:

“This is your fault. The note for our ankles!”

At the beginning of the day, after showering the cast with my love, I invaded the girl’s dressing room after announcing myself:

“GENITALIA!” (my entrance call before poking my head around the corner, warning anyone who is not totally dressed)

“Hey fist pounder, in Out Tonight I really want you to do this one note, for this one part.”

She leaned towards me. The look in her eyes told me she really cared to know, that she was willing to take tips from me. I was shocked.

I got in while the getting was good.

I sang through the beginning parts until I reached the note. I reached into my high pitched soprano and belted it for her. She looked me in the face:

“I have done it, but I get so tired that I don’t do it anymore. But I will see if I can tonight.”

She hit the note for me; flawlessly. I jumped up and down like a teenage girl meeting Johnny Depp for the first time.

And there we sat our ankles up, laughing at how to make it through the rest of the show.

We made it.

And as the final song came to an end, me forcing my church brother Shawn on stage, hitting the lobby and receiving love from my family, my mechanical brother more silent than the rest, yet hugging the breathe out of me, I waited for his verdict. He replied:

“Your flips are looking stronger.”

I perked up. I waited. I stared into his eyes. He then stared approval into mine, his gestures announcing his conclusion:


I smiled, mulling over the word:



“Taking an interest in what others are thinking and doing is often a much more powerful form of encouragement than praise”

~Robert Martin


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