The other night during my Oklahoma! rehearsal, I dealt with one of many incredible feats that performers endure: putting on a smile even when the day is not going my way.
As I stepped onto the lighted stage during “Farmer and the Cowman”, I realized that both of my shoes were untied, making it impossible for me to complete my tumbling pass occurring later in the number. I had to find a way to tie them before the big moment happened, and I was running out of time.
In a fret, I decided to kneel behind a fellow actor without her knowledge as there was a slight lull in the music. I managed to tie one shoe, but before attacking the other one, was knocked in the head with the actors behind, as she nearly tripped over my crouched body. Our actor instincts remained in tact, as we played it off like nothing happened.
I finally found a moment before a fence-crossing section to tie my other shoe, and breathed with relief. However, during my flip, I ended up falling forward onto my hands instead of sticking the landing. My actor instincts once again kicked in, and I landed as though it was the best flip I had ever done. Despite my anger and frustration, I plastered on a huge smile.
11:42 pm, and the director’s notes for Farmer and the Cowman were up next. Expecting a plethora of corrections, I peered down to my phone as my eyes glazed over, thinking how horribly I must have made it look. I couldn’t believe that when the director’s notes for the number finally began, the only words she said were, “Farmer and the Cowman looked FABULOUS!” I couldn’t believe it. The director, stage manager, choreographer, and music director didn’t notice any of my faux pas, despite my thought of a spotlight effect on my many mistakes. My continual portrayal of joy and energy helped to make the number fabulous, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have been trained to work through the pain and anguish and instead put on a happy face.
Once again, thanks theatre, for teaching me how to be an outstanding worker, even while I’m not having the best day.