Send in the Clowns

May 22, 2012

in Blame The Sudafed, OldSchool

I was a wannabe theater geek in High School. I took drama my freshman year, and caught the bug big time. Sure, my brand of theater was more of an “ad lib,” “fake-it-till-ya-make-it-’cause-you-can’t-remember-a-line-to-save-your-life” technique, but even the best actors have their moments. Mine were just all the freakin’ time.

Which may explain why my drama teacher didn’t put up much of an objection when my parents decided that my extracurricular time might be better used in classes such as “Debate” and “Art History.”

Which did come in useful. Especially once I was able to use my debating skills to talk the Art History teacher into letting me skip class to go hang out with my friends down the hall in the theatre.

So it didn’t shock anyone when I decided to try-out for the Spring Musical: Barnum. It’s not like I wanted to be a lead or anything. Just a clown. Or maybe a circus-goer. Or part of the tech crew. An usher. If it meant I could gain enough cred to call myself a theater geek? I’d have been the freaking valet.

The singing portion of the auditions went as well as could be expected.

Mercifully, the director determined that if you had a near-certain future on American Idol’s blooper reel, then the speaking portion of the auditions probably wasn’t for you either. Since anyone who spoke, usually sang. In harmony. It being a musical and all.

There were, however, still PLENTY of clowns to cast.

I know. It’s like the play was written just for me.

So, in the spirit of a true open call, he invited anyone who had any gymnastic abilities what-so-ever to come to the front of the auditorium and demonstrate their skills.

Any. Abilities. What. So. Ever.

You may not know this, but in my youth? I was a gymnast. At least until I discovered ballet. At which point, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer-doctor-princess-ballerina when I grew up. At least until puberty hit. There’s a reason you don’t see many busty ballerinas twirling out of their leotards mid-Nutcracker.

But I could still do a forward roll. Possible a backwards one to, if I got enough momentum going.

So up I sprang, eagerly joining the throng of girls already waiting patiently to demonstrate their own array of gymnastic skills.

Sadly, I did not pause to wonder why none of the rest of my theater-geek friends, with whom I’d been sitting, had joined me.

It did not, however, take me quite as long to realize that, while I may have been standing in front of a good third of the student population, I was also standing in line behind the school’s entire state-championship winning cheerleading squad.

yup.

Had I not been doing my best deer-in-the-headlights impression, I might have had the ability to utilize the nearest exit. That, however, would have required I retain the mental capacity to do more than gawk at the girl ahead of me, who’d just done a series of physics-defying flips, handsprings, splits, and landings that I’d only ever seen in the Summer Olympics.

And then it was my turn.

At which point, I probably should have excused myself. Or thrown up.

But instead, I clearly¬†enunciated, and spelled, my full name for the director, and announced that I? Would be doing a Forward Roll. I’d decided to play it by ear on the Backwards Roll. But if the Forward Roll went well, then I’d pull out the big guns….

I assumed what I remembered to be proper position – feet in First, hands in the air, head up. And, as soon as I’d gained everyone’s attention, I tucked, ducked, and rolled.

And executed a perfect Half Forward Roll.

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