Sunday, 31 October 2010

I was going to witter on about something else, but got completely taken aback by my wig for the latest production, and it started me thinking.  It was one of those moments where you see the future, and maybe, just maybe, it won't be too bad to go completely grey.  At the moment, my hair naturally sports a white streak amongst the darkness, and I love it (it suits so many of my roles, too, which is Not a Bad Thing).  However, as an opera singer, one must always be aware of the ageism within the industry (I find this idiotic - surely we are the ONE place where the only thing that matters is what you end up looking like on stage, rather than what age you actually ARE?), and so naturally I have always thought, hmmm, if that white streak decides to start expanding, I'm going to have to think about colouring my hair.

However this wig makes me think again!  And also makes me think, goodness, how LUCKY we are in the performing arts to be able to try on different looks, different ages, different personalities.  We can thereby explore the possibilities of different hairstyles without actually having our hair cut, of different make-up whilst reinforcing what suits our features, and of aspects of our personalities becoming something completely different.

This latter I have been working through via the (I have to admit, still utterly terrifying) scene where I have to interact with the public and improvise in German until rescued by the dialogue starting up again.  We had an open rehearsal last night which included this scene, which meant that I actually had the chance to practise for real.  And it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated!  OK, so I had to untangle myself from a conversation which had accidentally slipped into Russian.  And also greeted a few people who had absolutely nothing to do with the performance, having come for a wedding reception being held in the posh restaurant at the top of the theatre, but all in all, I am thrilled to realise that as an acting exercise, this is working.  Because it isn't really ME who is pouncing on all these unsuspecting members of the public, but my character, the nerves are coming back under control.  And this from someone whose hands, at the first proper run-through, shook so much that the apple juice in her glass leaped out onto the floor... (yes, YES, it should be champagne, I thought I had that in the bloody contract, seems not until actual performances, but at least they've now provided me with proper smoked salmon sandwiches...).

Really - is there a more interesting way to spend one's life? 

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