The Diva Doesn’t Do Dance…

Community theater is just chock full of human drama… who the hell knew?

We’re two weeks into rehearsals for the show.  Done with basic blocking, sing-throughs of almost all songs, and had our second choreography session last night.  My character is one of three trailer park women who serve as narrators throughout the show.  It’s me, The Diva (who got the role i wanted) and AU – a charming, adorable and smart 21 year old math education major at a local university. 

We tell the story through snarky commentary, challenging harmonies and complex rhythms, tossed lightly with some doo-wop girl dance moves!  Big, big fun!

The choreographer is good – creative and uses our bodies to tell the story, without being overly lame and cheesy.  She is also a good teacher, given that the three of us are not trained dancers, that’s pretty important!  On the first song we were learning last night, she had us doing some cool ‘doo wop’ girl stuff, shaking our butts and flapping our hands behind us – what AU called “the fart fan”). 

AU and i were having fun with it, trying to synchronize the hips and hands and see if we could get it working right at tempo.  The Diva?  Wasn’t even trying to get it.  She was just standing there, obviously irritated, the choreographer gave up, taking things down a bit – “forget the hands, let’s just do the hips…” 

After learning the first routine, our Diva bitched all the way through the break.  “This is hard”, “I can’t remember all this!”, “I was misinformed – I didn’t know there’d be this much dancing, i thought it was all music….” on and on and on…  My favorite?  “Why can’t we just stand and sing?”  The choreographer reminded her “that would be boring!”   The Diva said “I wouldn’t be bored!”  A smiling choreographer, holding her ground, said  “What about the audience?”  HA!

We made it through the two new dance routines, and since the one we’d learned last week was pretty complicated, we wanted to run it again.  AU and i were able to muddle through much of it.  We had been doing this crazy thing on our own time.  It’s called “practice”.  We had worked on the rough segments, one particularly vexing series of moves that have to take place really fast.  So we were able to actually DO that part last night! 

The Diva watched this, and became damn near inconsolable  “But I can’t even remember what we did last time!  I can’t practice it if I can’t remember it?”  [AU and daisyfae staring, blinking…]

So we went through the entire song again.  AU and i got most of it down.  The Diva picked up a few things, but got very frustrated and stopped trying.  Just stood there, completely pissed off.  Unable to take it any more, She blurted out “I can’t do these dances!  I wasn’t informed that this show would be so complicated – it was supposed to be just music!” 

AU told me later that little puffs of steam were coming out of my ears, and my jaw was locked and grinding. We then spent about 20 minutes reassuring Her that She could do it, that these were the tough songs, that She’d be fine, that muscle memory is what is required, that it’s only been two rehearsals and we’ve got lots of time to keep working on it and blah, blah, fucking blah, blah…

i felt compelled to say the following – which may have been the best acting performance of my life:  “Diva, i have absolutely no doubt You can do this, and You’re going to be fantastic!  i’ve seen You do amazing things, and there’s nothing here You can’t do!”

No.  i didn’t vomit.  Not even a little bit…

The mollycoddle session ended when The Diva left, nearly in tears.  The Director mentioned that he’s seen Her do this before.  “Everything comes so easily for Her.  EVERYTHING in Her life.  She’s not used to working for it…”.  Yep.  She’s married to a successful attorney, five lovely adult children, a ‘hobby’ job to keep Her busy…

On the way to the parking lot, AU said “wanna drink?”  Ummmm, let me think about that for a nanosecond… i introduced AU to my favorite biker bar, which just happens to be across the street from the theater.   Four cans of $1 beer and 4 cigarettes later?  We felt better.  Spleens vented, serious bonding over life, the universe – and our shared “trailer park” family histories….  

We’re going to have a blast with this show.  i’m working really hard on the choreography. Ain’t no doubt,  i’m kickin’ some freakin’ Diva Ass in the dance department…

20 thoughts on “The Diva Doesn’t Do Dance…

  1. i felt compelled to say the following – which may have been the best acting performance of my life: “Diva, i have absolutely no doubt You can do this, and You’re going to be fantastic! i’ve seen You do amazing things, and there’s nothing here You can’t do!”

    You’re going to hell for that daisyfae. Especially when The Diva tanks it. In. Front. Of. The. Audience.

    Kudos to you for doing this stuff, though. I never could.

    It occurred to me that, if you want the diva to at least try to learn, you could videotape your rehearsals and then she can practice the moves at home while watching on her tv. Plus, she’ll be able to see how shitty she looks compared to you and AU. Might be enough to either suck it up, buttercup, or quit the show entirely. The latter, of course, providing an opportunity for ……

  2. rob – yeah. lying is a sin *snort*. but i really do think she’ll be fine… we suggested MANY things, including video, audio recordings with the choreographer talking through it, etc. She rejected EVERY idea – “i don’t have a DVD player, How would i listen? I don’t have a tape player!”. i suggested a small digital audio recorder and she simply stared at me blankly… clearly, she just doesn’t know how to WORK at it. Discussed the prospect of The Diva bailing with AU over beer… and my current part simply has funnier lines! i’m ok with staying with it…

  3. Reminds me of some of the political little tizzies we have in our two-community-theatre little town…. here’s a toast to your ability to be the Better Woman, all round.

    And really, being some attorney’s trophy spouse is considered an official accomplishment? I’ll have to tell the Cabana Boy he’d better polish up his…um….accomplishments. Yes indeed.

  4. Have you tried threats of physical violence? “You get your shit together and put forth some fucking effort or I’m calling over my friends from the biker bar and they’re going to pull your liver out of your ass.”

  5. I am so impressed! Good for you for stepping out and having a ball with this. Wish I was close enough to come out and see you shine on the stage with HER!

    Dare you to get her to fly her inner freak flag at your fave biker bar! Maybe after the premier?

  6. Ditto what Nurse Myra said. We demand You Tube. Personally, I think it really sucks that she waltzed in and got the part, and now it’s “too hard.” But if you’re happy with your part, let her end up on FAILblog on her own.

  7. awalkabout – you know community theater! shame it’s so damned addictive! You’re right about that ‘attorney’s spouse’ thing… he should be out tormenting the locals somewhere!

    anniegirl – reported today: director hinted that if she quits, he’ll let her. also reported today: she won’t quit because she desperately wants to be in his next show. yeah. i’m tired…

    renalfailure – you know? that might be effective… i get the sense that i either irritate, or scare her just a little… a visit from Mr. Sock-Full-O-Quarters might just straighten her out….

    fragrant liar – take her to the biker bar? she likes to pretend that she’s a ‘good ol’ girl’, and boasts about drinking beer from the bottle (rather than from a glass). “Honey, we don’t have any fuckin’ bottles here. Bud Light or Pabst Blue Ribbon in a can” would have her screaming…

    jimmy – thanks! but i’m not being cunning to entice readers… at the moment, i’m trying to keep the writing habit until i’ve got time to get back to my ‘therapy in the ether’. after a long weekend with my family? oh, here comes the therapy folks… stand by for more trailer park tomfoolery…

    nursemyra – unlikely. you’ll just have to get your hot little dimpled ass over here to see it in September!

    silverstar – she’ll end up pulling it out… i think some of this is a tactic to ‘lower the bar’ so whatever she accomplishes in the dance department is lauded for all to hear…

    Bb – ultimately, i’m hoping she gets it together so the show doesn’t suck the big wilbur… but if i get written up for a spectacular performance by the local theater critics? i wouldn’t be horrified…

    paisley – exactly! she can do it, but it remains to be seen just how painful it is for the rest of us…

  8. It’s amazing how well beer and theater go together. Beer just got me through Sweeney Todd, well beer and ativan.

    Our choreographer, B*, would not put up with it. Somebody would have gotten cussed out!

  9. archie – that’s part of the thrill! somehow pulling together an entertaining show, staffed with people who are inherently broken in a broad spectrum of different, and often incompatible, ways… w00t!

    unclekeith – there will be lots of beer. and between the theater crap, and my latest round of family entertainment? i’m already jonesin’ for a pack of marlboro light 100’s just to get through the week. if i could get some ativan? that’d be even better…

    rassles – i’m sucking it so hard that the fucking award trophy is going to leave a spooge trail to the podium….

  10. Kapow – Take her out at the knees Tonya Harding style, drag her off stage left and the show must go on. That whole “Break a leg thing” … take it literally instead of figuratively.

  11. squirrel queen – that was my son’s suggestion. he even offered up a few of his thug friends to do the deed… but i’m trying to keep the ‘greater good’ in mind. She whined less last night…. but we weren’t dancing…

  12. Pingback: Mid-week roundup « Trailer Park Refugee

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