adventures
Comments 61

Oh how I hate learning lines! But it’s still the best job in the world

This is a stressful week for me: we’re opening a new show on Friday morning. It’s our fourth version of it, and at last, it feels like we’re getting it right.

I actually pulled out of it before we began, due to the stresses of dealing with my Mum, and concerns I may have to fly over to England right in the middle of rehearsals.

But she’s getting two visits a day from the community nurse, and my brother is visiting her for 4 days tomorrow, so that feels sorted; the show’s director rang me the morning after I resigned to check that I really didn’t want to do it before she offered it to someone else.

Which was very sweet. And smart. Plus exactly what I needed to hear. So I said yes again.

I do make a really good Red.

Children's immersive theatre show, by Roundabout Theatre in Australia

Children’s immersive theatre show, by Roundabout Theatre in Australia #roundabouttheatre #immersivetheatre @roundabouttheatre @mongrelmouth

But that means I have to learn lines, WHICH I HATE. And to be honest, I’m not very good at it either; it also gets harder as you get older. *sigh.

I’ve looked up the Top Ten ways… recorded them onto my voice memos on my phone… played them over and over in my head while driving (I hope that’s not illegal??)… read them as I eat my lunch… paced the garden reciting them to myself… looked at them last thing before sleep, and as soon as I open my eyes… handwritten them out… dreamt about them…

Yet still I fumbled them in the first dress rehearsal yesterday! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Children's immersive theatre show, by Roundabout Theatre in Australia

Children’s immersive theatre show, by Roundabout Theatre in Australia #roundabouttheatre #immersivetheatre @roundabouttheatre @mongrelmouth

It’s hard not to be tough on yourself isn’t it? I know some of you out there are teachers/executives/writers/business owners & managers/regular office workers/retired folk, but it still feels bad when you let both your team and yourself down doesn’t it? What do you hate about your job? And what’s the best bit?

I know it’s not exactly life-saving work I’m doing: an immersive theatre show for 5-8 year olds, trying to get them to protect the last rainbow.

But still.

I hate learning lines, and I’m not very good at it (although I’ll own that I’m awesome at all visual/physical/musical cues), but this is still THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD, and I am incredibly grateful every single day that I get to do this.

I just had to have a little procrastinating blog whinge, to partly explain my absence this week in commenting and reading everyone’s posts, and let off steam, while also being thankful.

Right, got that off my chest, now back to the script:

“… Redness Red, I’ve come to collect, It’s all for ME, the big Red effect!”

In gratitude for creativity, G xOΒ 

61 Comments

  1. Break a leg! I’m grateful that I don’t have to learn lines, I’ve found that for stuff like that I blow hot and cold. There are times when I “get it” and it goes very smoothly, and then (more often) are the other times when it is just such a struggle: lines, footwork when skating, molecular structures, reactions in the Krebs cycle, All variations on learning.

    Sounds like a fun play–enjoy, RED!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Steph- I’m sure it’s good for my brain in the long run, but oh boy it hurts right now- and I don’t even have half as many lines as the lead (thank GOODNESS). “Reactions in the Kreb cycle…”? Sounds like you’d better get that right!

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  2. Random thought: the best thing about improv comedy/theatre (which I have not done…yet) is that there are no lines to memorize.

    Thought-out thought: While I have yet to make a dime as a “writer” (I should probably get on that soon), I love it. Of course, the isolation, the lack of externally-imposed structure and, at times, the tedium of some research, are drawbacks. For now, though, they are more nuisance than “OhmyGodIcan’ttakeanotherminuteofhis!!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, so so true! I’m actually a really good Improvisor, and used to teach it in fact (I can make stuff up in the moment till the cows come home), but the discipline & challenge of both acting or writing regularly at a desk are big changes for me. Still, aren’t we incredibly lucky to be able to indulge, explore, & express our creativity?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to hate learning song lyrics … which changed when we started writing our own stuff. πŸ˜€ … I guess it depends on what emotions and memories we can hang on them doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t. And it’s not the lines that would worry me, it’s the terror.
    I got myself involved in a theatre performance in Cherbourg, France a few years ago. This came about because my girlfriend’s sister is a professional performer. She has a little company and they do Object Theatre. Said sister, Collette, was asked to do a one-off performance during the town’s Irish Festival. (I have no idea why they have such a thing but there you are). Colette lives and performs in France and she thought it would be a great idea to ask Angela (girlfriend) and me to be part of the act.
    Long story short, I was tasked with reading an emigration ship’s passenger list from the nineteenth century. That’s all I had to do. Angela played her uke in the background and I read. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I have never been so nervous in all of my life.
    On the day of the performance, Angela and I went out to see the town in the afternoon. I remember visiting the Titanic Museum and a first generation nuclear submarine. It was so surreal. Making my way through the cramped passageways and round steel doors of a nuclear submarine in France, thinking, I’m performing in a theatre tonight. I will never forget how nervous I felt. It was all-consuming.
    The show went off very well. I read my passenger list, the audience didn’t walk out, Collette was brilliant. But I will never, ever do anything like it again. Having said that, the day stands out vivid in my memory. My recollection of Cherbourg are sharp, I remember streets, shop windows, the little sick bay on the sub, the harbour. I can still feel the electric energy of the actors as they prepared, I remember the texture of the red velvet seats and the light reflecting on the impressive gilded interior of the theatre. I couldn’t tell you anything I did the day before or the day after and we were in France for a week.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes, it can be a terror-striking activity! I can’t believe you got such a big performance gig when it’s not your fortΓ©- are you crazy?? Even I would be terrified, & I am seasoned 😬🀑
      I love your comments- they’re like a mini blog post- thank you so much for sharing xO

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for being so kind. I didn’t mean to go on for so long and was a tad shocked to see such a block of words. About being crazy, possibly. But not crazy enough to do anything like it again. Cudos to you and your fellow performers for doing that stuff all the time.!

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  5. What a delight to meet a fellow line-flubber. Just once, well twice, was enough to make me retire from the stage and run away to Alaska (where I met my mate). Then we moved to the midwest, and finally to the Colorado Rockies. I missed the cultural arts, at last!
    Now spend most of my time writing and working in photography.
    I am going to TRY to connect your page with a page or a thread or a url or whatever I need to do (but I warn you I am computer ignorant). They are a community theatre in Cameron, Missouri who have created a dinner theatre out in the middle of a cow pasture. Operated by a VERY creative family of dance instructors and staging artists, located in an old livestock exchange barn.
    Very best wishes to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Atwood- yes, it’s pretty stressful… until the audience claps, & you know you’ve made magic- then it’s all worth it. Kinda like photography, but without the greasy make up & hot lights? πŸ˜ƒ

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  6. Pretenders Playhouse is the name of this theatre group. Original musicals written, produced and choreographed by five daughters and one son of the creative director. Every kid in ultra-rural Cameron should get involved in this rich experience. Fun, fun, fun!
    I hope I can get you two introduced.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Those costumes are magnificent!!
    I cannot help you with the lines, now if it was a song, not problem, I have an uncanny ability to remember lyrics!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It looks amazing! I used to be in an Am-Dram group and absolutely loved it. I found no problem with learning lines, but that was 25 years ago… I’d probably struggle hugely with it now as I can’t even remember words in the middle of my sentences!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is SO different at age 51… Plus it’s a properly funded show, and we’re all professionals, even if only part time. I really have to produce the goods…

      Like

  9. Trace-Blogs says

    I think I can do things like that and then I get to the actual event and freeze. I once did pole dancing for a term and almost had a panic attack at the end of term show as I could not remember the F-ing steps!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. look at those costumes!! I’m sure the kids will LOVE it! And the best thing about a children’s audience is that they probably will never know if you muss up a line or two.

    Break a leg!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks T- imagine if you could bring your youngest kids- that would be so cool!?
      I must admit, it’s looking good now- opening this morning- thanks for the encouragement β€πŸ˜ƒπŸ™πŸΌ

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think it’s so cool and every job has it’s up and down sides. I can agree that learning becomes harder as we age, but what stands out here the most is “That it is still the best job in the world” and that you love what you do. I think it’s nothing short of amazing my dear and you are perrrrrfect. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Charis says

    Oh what I wouldn’t give to be on stage! I haven’t performed since I was in high school, always wanted to join a local theatre but just never made it a priority, maybe when my kids are bigger? Sounds like fun, I bet you’ll have the lines down packed in no time! Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh i would love your job, when i was young i wanted to be an actress when i grew up. Try putting your lines to music, just start singing the lines, that may help you to remember them. You make a fabulous Red!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am sure it went beautifully!! I love that you are an actress β€” our lives seem to have several parallels. As for memorizing lines, I have often gotten very tense around this part of any job, telling myself I am not good at it, hate it etc. Someone suggested I start changing my thoughts around it: using β€œliving mantras” such as β€œWhen did I get so great at memorizing lines?” β€œWhen did memorizing lines become so easy and fun?” It has shifted something – I have to consciously catch myself sometimes, but it has made a big difference. I think the negative expectation created more mental tension, which made it even harder, if that makes sense. Thems my two cents. Can’t wait for the update. Amazing looking show!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that’s SUCH a great idea, I never even thought of that! I’ve heard myself telling everyone over & over (including my blog tribe) that I am crap at learning lines… and yet I did it in the end. I was very tense about it though… next time I am definitely going to try your awesome suggestion, thanks so much πŸ™πŸΌπŸ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

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