I have been an actress at the Little Theatre of NSB since 1987. I was a young, fit, energetic woman when I made my debut on this stage.
I have been in numerous plays throughout the years, playing lead roles and memorizing tons of lines with little effort.
As the years go by, I find acting roles for my age group become more challenging. I am sure it doesn’t help that I am in denial, most of the time, of what that age is.
This 2020 actress now takes way more time to memorize lines. I used to write a line or two on my hand, so I could glance down and see it if I forgot. Now I need “cheaters” so I can see what and where I wrote it in the first place.
Before I step on stage, I pause and breathe in all the wonderful smells and memories of the old theatre. I pray that my lines come into my mind and out of my mouth at the right times. I have always silently thanked everyone looking down on me from heaven, the support of my family, and a talented cast and crew. Now, I also thank the people who invented Spanx and energy drinks.
Aging on stage is a process of personal growth. An ongoing journey. Hard work. I am trying now to remember not only my lines, but other things as well. Holding my head up to eliminate a second chin, and to pee before I put on my costume and body microphone are just a few items on my to-dos list for every show.
I find my attention span shrinking. If I have too much time in between my lines, my mind starts to wander. What am I making for dinner? Did I put the laundry in the dryer? Then I am brought back to the show with that deafening silence and cast members looking my way. Crap. I must work on my focusing skills.
On the other hand, one of the most wonderful things that can only happen to an aging actress or actor is a lifetime of experiences to draw from. Younger performers can’t deliver the whole package yet. Their lives and experiences have just begun.
This month, the Tennessee Williams production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” will be playing in our town April 17 – 26 at The Little Theatre. I auditioned for a role that I knew I was probably too old for, but I had the life experiences. The character is a wife, mother, sister-in-law and scheming witch. I just had to channel my old Aunt Betty and the role of “Sister Woman” was mine. Don’t miss the show! Visit NSBPlayers.org for tickets and showtimes.