Buddy and I are going to audition for Camelot together. When I saw the post for the show it did not appear that there were any interesting parts in it for me. It’s a male heavy show and I would need to be about 10 years younger for the lead female. When I read that there was a need for a scrawny 10-year-old boy though…my interest was piqued. How fun would it be to perform with Buddy?
When I proposed the idea to him he seemed a little hesitant. Though in his “younger day” he had commanded lead roles in several shows he had never had to audition before (a fact that annoyed me to no end. Such a crucial skill to learn!)
“Would I have to sing a solo?”
“You will at the audition. The actual role is small and at the very end of the show.”
“Then why do I have to sing at the audition?”
“Because they would have you sing with the ensemble the rest of the show.”
“Oh. Well I can do that. I’m really not comfortable singing solos in front of other people though.”
“Since when? You were Winthrop in The Music Man and sang several solos!”
“Yeah, but I think we get more sensitive as we get older.”
How true. I laughed.
“Well, Baby, I don’t want you to do this if you don’t want to. I want it to be something fun for the both of us. So, I am wanting you to be honest with yourself right now and decide if this is something that you are doing for Buddy or for Mommy.”
Buddy is a people pleaser to a fault. He will eat things he doesn’t like because he thinks that will make me happy. Wear clothes he hates because he thinks it will make me happy. Play sports or participate in other activities because he thinks this will make me happy. It’s nice sometimes because then I have a very obedient and compliant child but when I look to the future and see that sort of behavior in a teenager or a grown man I do not see good things.
“I want to do it,” he said.
“Because….it’s been a long time since I’ve done a show and I’ve sort of forgotten that feeling.”
“I know exactly what you are talking about.”
“Mom, just one more question please…”
“I heard you tell Dad that if I don’t get the part but that you get one that you will probably not do the show.”
“What if I get a part and YOU don’t?”
“Then I will just come to see YOU perform!” I laughed.
Buddy smiled with relief and that confirmed for me that he was in it for himself. JOY!
I decided he could re-learn “Gary, Indiana” from The Music Man. We got out the music and set to work at the piano. The high notes have become harder to hit now that he is older.
“Make your sounds rounder and that will help the note to come out better.”
He would sing the note again and it was still flat.
“No, Bud. Your mouth is in a straight line.”
“I just…it’s too embarrassing to sing in front of you by myself.”
“If you can’t sing for me you will not be able to audition. The more you sing for me the easier it will be to sing in front of other people. That’s why we practice. We practice until the fear goes away. When Mommy auditions she is pretty darn scared but remember how you said you miss that feeling of being on stage? It’s so worth going through the scary part! Now try to make your mouth round like a donut.”
He cupped his hands around his mouth and tried the note again. I stifled my laughter.
“Look at my mouth,” I made a very round “O” shape and sang the note.
“This is too frustrating!”
“Well, we don’t want that. It’s not supposed to be frustrating. Challenging and fun…yes! Hm…I know. All acting is is playing ‘pretend.’ I hear you do it all the time. When you are Obi Wan you talk with a British accent. That accent is very open and the O’s are very round. Sing it again like you are Obi Wan.”
He did and it was better. Not great but…
“Now, we are going to get a little silly. Let’s sing some songs like we are opera singers. Have you ever seen the Bugs Bunny when they sing Figaro? Let’s sing Figaro and be really silly and act like an opera singer.”
He did and we laughed.
“Now, sing ‘Gary, Indiana’ like an opera singer.”
Buddy sang and it was loud and it was round and he hit the high notes! When he was done he knew that it had been good. He just stood there with this big goofy grin on his face. I can tell he is feeling more confident already!
My husband’s response to nearly everything I do is, “nice.”
“Honey, I’ve lost 5 pounds.”
“How do I look?” I’ll ask, all decked out for a date.
“How was my performance?”
A photo shoot of me in my wedding dress for our ten-year wedding anniversary.
“I wrecked the car.”
“Nice.” Though this is said with an exasperated tone.
So when I was rehearsing for an audition last night and I asked him, “Please be honest with me. Should I drop that last note or sing it high as it is written?” and he turned away from the computer looked me in the eye and said, “Sing the high note. You definitely hit it!” I could have cried. As I sang that song over and over I imagined him in the office secretly cringing but that wasn’t the case at all. He thought it was good! It was better than “nice” and that speaks volumes!
Buddy and Mommy are hitting the high notes!