Perhaps the performance will reflect the time and energy I've invested; perhaps it won't. After all, the final product requires more than just time and energy to be totally successful.
But the fact remains: the final product needs more than just raw talent if it is to be the "utmost best" that it might be. It will require lots of hard work and effort.
I tend to take things seriously, to throw myself into projects wholeheartedly. I'm going to do the best I can. I've been considered a bit overly zealous at times. But I think there is something scriptural about that tendency, so I don't find a need to adjust my natural inclinations in this area. (Whew... I've had plenty of adjusting to do in other things!)
The director is pushing me -- gently, because he is a thoughtful man who understands the human frame -- but I'm happy to be stretched. As he asks for a new approach to a song, a different interpretation of a line, or suggests a varied movement, I smile broadly and truthfully assure him that I am glad for instruction and challenge. What a marvelous opportunity to receive from a professional theater director!
Granted, my emotions don't fall in line immediately -- I struggle with concern that I'm disappointing him, that I may not be able to fulfill his expectations. But such feelings are quickly set aside. I must come to grips with the required change and grapple with understanding the character he is asking me to portray. There is no time to lose; he wants the change NOW. Flexibility, imagination, and response is to be "instant and cheerful and thorough". I can now, with absolute confidence, tell my children that learning to do any given task in such a way will serve them in any arena!
So the lessons are learned, the challenges accepted. I return home each night with written notes and mental notes. My ride home is filled with repeated phrases, trying a new inflection or emphasis. Or a song is sung while envisioning the newest step or turn. Over and over and over again the staging is run in my mind. This must become automatic; I must do them instinctively by the time opening night arrives. The time for remembering is over then -- the moves, the responses, the inflections must all "just happen" as real life just happens.
Last night we staged the schoolroom scene. Mrs. Anna breaks into song and tells them she is glad to be "Getting To Know You". Our director asked me to pick up the youngest child and dance with him, stepping out of my restricted British formality. This is Mrs. Anna's chance to express that she is getting comfortable with them.
"Yes," I chimed in, "she is beginning to feel at home with them. So I will twirl with this little guy - is that okay? Because that is what I would do at home."
He smiled as he commented, "I am sure you would -- and why am I not surprised by that?"
So for all you naysayers who contend that "musical theater is not real, so why should I work hard to make her real?"
Welcome to my world, folks, where people break into song all day long, and where it is not unusual for mothers to twirl with a child in hand.
Mrs. Anna is not so unlike me!