Tuesday, October 12, 2010
JUDGE--The Song of Devora
Opening night of JUDGE--The Song of Devora is a week from Sunday. My nervous system is starting to take in the nearness of the event, just kind of humming in the background as I go about the daily acts of work, housework, parenting, and being myself.
I still feel a bit of a tingle when I remember the last time I was on a stage. I think it was three years ago. This was during the time I was singing bass in an a cappella choir called Shir A Cappella. The moment that stands out for me at that last performance was the way one woman made her way to me, singling me out of a choir consisting of 13 women to ask, "You're a tenor, right?"
I just looked at her. I was in a kind of stupor, and I couldn't grasp her meaning at the time. Yudit, who sang bass with me, realized I was tongue-tied, so she threw her arm around my shoulder and said, "We're the bass. We BE the bass."
Bass is the lowest of the five voices comprising an a cappella group.
Only later did I manage to process the meaning of what that woman had asked. She was commenting on the fact that my voice is so low that it is even lower than the lowest woman's vocal range, the alto. My voice falls into the male tenor range. This woman noticed the rarity of my range and had sought me out to compliment me.
Wow. I had a groupie!
The thought of that woman sometimes pops into my head at odd moments. It's a nourishing image for me. When I feel filled with self-doubt and insecurity, I rerun that event to give myself a boost. That's not so terrible, is it? I hope I'm not a total narcissist for liking that image of the woman and remembering what she said to me.
I confess that I am in love with performance. I adore getting up on a stage. It feeds my soul in a way that nothing else quite matches.
The day before a performance I'm a wreck and cannot eat. If I try to eat something light, it turns out to be a mistake. It won't stay down. I feel like a zombie or an emptied-out shell, and it's hard to believe that I will be able to do anything on stage except to stand, vacant-eyed and silent, shivering under the lights.
But the moment I am onstage, there is a transformation. I feel filled with electricity and power. There is this superhighway of information flowing between me and the audience. Synchronization is complete. They are mine and I am theirs and nothing else exists. I am flying high, way above the world and my everyday life.
Even later, when the show is over, the makeup is removed and the costume hung with loving hands, I am still feeling the thrill, still feeling high and somehow more alive.
The high lasts for about three days.
As I feel the adrenaline ebb away, something else creeps in and I feel sad and wistful. Almost empty. It's over.
What's great about JUDGE is that it's not a one-time thing. There will be at least nine performances. Maybe more if they like us. We'll see.
I'm ridiculous to think of it, but I can't help but feel sad thinking about the end of this wonderful experience. I don't know why I have to think about that now. I try not to think about it and just enjoy the moments as they arrive--but can you tell--I'm a bit of a junkie when it comes to performance and that includes performance of any kind. Doesn't matter what it is. I like the camaraderie between the performers, stage makeup, the lights, the applause--the whole shebang. It will be so hard to say goodbye.
Photo credits: Sharon Katz.