I’d Like To Thank the Academy

Poor Unfortunate Souls!

Poor Unfortunate Souls!

Every once in a while I get these “only funny to me” two second memories that take me back to a time in my life when I find myself wondering “what in the world was I thinking?” When I make the decision to do whatever it is I am about to do, it’s like my confidence gets an unwarranted boost (a surge if you will) – and then within seconds of that boost, self-awareness comes flooding back in and I find my fourteen year old self awkwardly moving across the cafeteria stage of my high school gesturing my hands dramatically and singing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid for my Theater class (it was an elective!).

Yeah, let’s talk about that word. Elective. I, shy, awkward and introverted fourteen year old who skipped a grade in elementary school and is now two years younger than everyone in her class and fancies herself some Morrissey and Erasure, elect to take Theater and Speech instead of what I should have taken Philosophy and Geography (hindsight is 20/20).

After my less then convincing “mime” performance a few weeks earlier (I decided to be a mime stuck in a bubble rather than a box because I was obviously exhausted by being sooo popular), I decided to tackle the role of Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid. My brother and I (apologies, Joe) used to watch it all the time and I knew every word to every song and pretty much the rest of the script including the foley’s unsung work which included a little “ticky tack” sounding noise every time Sebastian the crab was heard walking across the sea floor. I figured it was a safe bet to perform this song because I knew all the words and Ursula’s voice was low enough to suit my alto pipes. I practiced a lot.

I mentioned that sometimes I get surges of confidence in areas where I probably shouldn’t. Singing and acting are two of these areas. Incidentally, singing and acting are two of the very things necessary for me to perform my “Song from a movie” project and I had gotten one of my surges when I chose the song for my project. In my own home you literally cannot shut me up. I sing opera songs, speak in British accents, imitate Louis Armstrong and Max and Ruby’s Grandmother and my all time favorite? I do a really great Cher. In public, I am not like that. In theater class, I most certainly am not.

By the time I am to perform my song, the surge of confidence has worn off and my brother and sister are not in the same room egging me on and making me laugh. It is me, a boom box in the corner for my music, the teacher and this big empty stage. Do you know what? As soon as that music started, I could not remember one single word to that song. I remember walking slowly across the stage in my baggy Girbaud jeans and Doc Marten shoes spurting out words as they flashed intermittently across my consciousness – mostly talking those words and not singing. At all. The horror! When I was finished, my teacher looked at me with what I can only interpret as awe (and not the kind of awe you might be thinking). Somehow, I ended up getting a “B” for that project. A grade I can only interpret as pity.

It’s okay to laugh.


Categories: All The Rest

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