You know, it's funny. I grew up practically in a performing arts group, whether it was me bossing around my friends into putting on costumes and performing for our parents, dancing with Hawaii State Ballet for eight years, or performing with Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus (HYOC) for eight or nine years. Through HYOC I have been in three Hawaii Opera Theater operas, each time as a sort of street or peasant ragamuffin, twice I believe as a boy; I have been in two OPERAtunities operas in various chorus and ensemble roles. Through the choir, we also sang, danced, signed (sign language), and even sometimes acted. I also participated in youth summer theater programs. I was basically raised on performance.
But I was also shy. So it never ever occurred to me to study anything in the performing arts because doing so might require me to, uhh, well, perform. To this day I never ever like to be the soloist or even the member of a very small ensemble--be it dancing, singing, what have you. The irony is that I do love the act of singing and dancing (ehh on acting), but I hate the performance aspect of it. If it were up to me, I'd sing and dance my little heart out in a never-ending series of rehearsals, always a part of the crowd but never the solo individual. Yet the lives of my closest friends here in New York revolve around the performing arts: Wife (playwright, scene-stealing actress, and general manager/intern/money manager/producer/possible founder of a ton of non-profit theaters in New York); Delia (improv and comedy); Androoo (actor, director, filmwriter, filmmaker, etc.); Luke (sometime stage manager or something while he painted on the side); Eric (performance arts marketing something-something I forgot his degree); Lady Meredith Ribbons (dramaturge and grant writer); Kate (actress, puppeteer, and amazing prop-maker); Amanda (actress, puppeteer, amazing prop-maker, and cabaret drag king). I could go on, but I might look even more like an asshole for not knowing exactly what all my friends do, and that list was starting to get a little vague there.
But it is kind of hilarious, if you think about it.
Q: What does a 18-year-old very shy and terrified girl do when she gets to the Big Bad Apple and scary Sarah Lawrence?
A: Befriend the extroverts.
Of course I haven't gotten completely away from the performing arts. I did write a libretto for a Hawaiian opera, Ka'ililauokekoa, back in 2006, which got performed summer of 2007. Also I am overdue to commence writing another, which will probably be about paniolo, Hawaiian cowboys. (Actually, cowboy operas are HOT right now: Brokeback Mountain is being made into an opera. And for that matter opera in general is becoming much more popular.) And I totally still sing in the shower.
Anyway, the unfortunate part is that most of my friends who, post-SLC grad, toiled away for pennies at non-profit theaters have moved on to bigger and better (and their own) creative endeavors. This is great for them--FRIENDS! HOW PROUD I AM FOR YOU, AND HOW GLAD!--but it sucks for me, because it means less free tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway. And because they aren't living and breathing theater company office drama, it means I don't have to sit through it when we're at happy hour, or dinner, or a party, or a bar. I thought I'd be glad for this day, but honestly I kind of miss the overinformation. Left to my own devices, I might accidentally end up at, like, The Little Mermaid or something, and then my friends would have to disown me.
I will say this with confidence: I really wish I could see this play and this play. And I really wish I had seen this opera. And I am really glad I saw this play, this play, and this play. Oh, and this one was so bad it was almost good.
And now, since I'm rambling, I'm going to sign off. But I would WELCOME comments about life-changing theater in New York right now, because well now I have to pay to view so I will have to learn to be more discerning.