I’ve been performing since I was three years old. Obviously, I was the cutest little munchkin to ever grace the stage and naturally felt at home under the spotlight. Or, you know, hid behind the curtains in a bright purple tutu, totally dismissing the dance I’d been learning for the past 10 weeks in favour of squinting into the audience in search of my mum.
Once I turned the big double digits, I trotted out of dance school and waltzed straight into a musical theatre company. For the past eight years my life has revolved around rehearsal schedules, where to find the cheapest false eyelashes (Daiso for $2.50, thank me later) and how many musicals I could possibly see without breaking my bank account.
But in all seriousness, I’ve never lived a life where I don’t have a dance/song/lines to learn. I’ve always wondered, what’s it like to live life as a normal person? As a person who wears civilian clothes ALL the time (that’s right, no more dressing up as a reindeer or a slutty showgirl folks), or a person who doesn’t have to touch up their makeup while simultaneously running through Southbank to Gardens Theatre five minutes past their call time.
Turns out it’s way less stressful, but also pretty sucky.
Sure, there are things that I don’t miss. Like auditioning and screwing up so bad you end up awkwardly apologising to the casting team for your general terribleness. I don’t miss the stress of learning a million song lyrics and then forgetting them on stage anyway. I don’t miss the underlying rivalry between friends, or wearing a second-hand costume so old it has more pins and dust-balls than fabric.
… Who am I kidding, I loved it all.
So, how am I coping? Basically, I spend my time pretending I do still live a performer’s life. When I’m not re-watching episodes of Smash, I’m blasting a playlist comprised of solely musical tunes, flicking through old programs or writing my acceptance speech for the Best Lead Actress Tony Award I was certain I would one day win.
Thank the heavens I’ve landed a spot as a backup dancer at Brisbane’s Paniyiri Greek Festival, so I’ve surfaced from my lost daze for the time being. After that curtain goes down, you’ll find me once again (not) coping without performing: lying face down on the floor with the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat.