Back to a life upon the wicked stage

Last week, I was surfing through theater reviews in The Washington Post and came across a glowing review for a community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.  That’s a play I particularly like – I saw an amazing production of it in Dublin a couple years ago – so I decided to click through to the website of the McLean Community Players, who were putting it on.

Julie, Kate, and I went to see it last Friday, and it was quite good, but that’s not the point of this post.  You see, when I stopped by the McLean Community Players site, I noticed that there was a big link at the top for auditions.  So I clicked it.

I did a lot of theater back in high school and college.  In my last two years at UVA, I was in a total of nine plays.  That’s not counting all of the theater classes (I could almost have been a drama major, but couldn’t see how that would impress employers looking for computer programmers).  And I enjoyed being on stage.  A lot.

But life has a way of filling up.  I spent my twenties working full time and raising a family and going to grad school at night, and there really wasn’t time for rehearsals in there.  My thirties weren’t quite so busy, but the closest I got to acting was reading bedtime stories to the kids and telling campfire stories to Girl Scouts.  So adding it up, twenty-five years of my life have passed without a chance to take a bow to thunderous applause.  And I missed it.  A lot.

So when I clicked through and discovered that the McLean Community Players were holding auditions that very evening for the It’s a Wonderful Life Live Radio Play, I decided why not, I’ve got a little free time (don’t tell my boss that – he’ll find ways to fill it!), might as well give it a shot.

The concept of the show is that five voice actors are putting on a radio version of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life sometime in the 1950’s.  The experience for the audience is like watching a live broadcast in an NBC studio back in the heyday of radio, complete with live commercials, visible sound effects, and even an “Applause” sign.

Of course, the heart of the show is the story from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. If you haven’t seen it go do so now.  I’ll wait.  Or look it up on Wikipedia.  Or something.  It is well worth watching – a Christmas classic.  (But there’s nothing particularly religious about it, except for a couple of angels that show up.  Strictly non-denominational angels.)

There are five actors in the play who join to voice all of the roles in the movies.  One actor plays George Bailey, the central character, and two play the various men of Bedford Falls.  One actress plays Mary, George’s wife, the other plays all the other women.  I figured that one of those multi-voice roles would be perfect.  I like doing the multiple personality thing, and I got quite used to it reading those bedtime stories.  Besides, they seem tailor-made for hamming it up.

To cut to the chase: I got a part.

But it wasn’t one of those multi-voice parts.

I’m going to be George Bailey.

Yup, the lead of the show.  (Well, not necessarily by lines, once you add up all the lines given to some of those voice actors.  But certainly the central character of the story.)

This is going to be loads of fun.

And oh – a link to the show’s site, because I just know you’re going to want to come see it: The McLean Community Players doing It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

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