When putting together shows, Soirées in particular, the intention is to create something fuller, allow people to dig a little deeper, to be moved by a full experience where cast and audience bond in all possible variations of our shared humanity. "Expose" succeeded in that aim, where the journey was possible because of each and every performer's offering. It was such a ride that at the end of the show, instead of it being a rambunctious reception, the audience was soft and thoughtful and wanted to linger. We kept the curtain open and allowed everyone to come together and continue sharing. To quote a friend, "Amazing show! I'm wrung out, filled up, cried out, turned on! Thank you!" It took me a day to let it work through me, too. So thank you, Vivienne, for sharing this. And thank you all- Viv, Elizabeth, Jax, Trey, Desdamona, Sarah, Pedi, Colleen, Sheila & Victoria - for sharing yourselves. ♥
October 20, 2013 at 4:53pm
Sweetpea and I are at Birchwood. As we sip our coffees, she tells me to reserve the night of Oct. 19th. The show: Soiree. The theme: Expose.
My heart lights up and, I tell her of my ‘body’ act. She listens intently as I describe the act in which I bare myself to the audience. Of the act when I divulge my body dysmorphia. She is so excited and supportive, “..perfect. Do it.”
Fast forward to show night. I’m late-really late. And as I run towards the back door, I stop to take a centering breath, so I don’t completely blow crazy energy all around everyone backstage. As I enter, the energy is different than other shows, but I can’t quite put my finger on how just yet. Everyone is getting ready, doing pre-show rituals; stretching, strutting, and some even sitting in silence. This time just feels different; the air is a little heavier than usual, electric and calm.
We get the call: Show time in 5!! Things start to pick up, antsy feelings are all around! We pastie up, final check and up Pea goes to start the show. And boy, oh boy does it start. Gaining momentum as each performer electrifies the stage.
Taking the stage; Coleen, Desdamona, Pedi and, Trey all performed their own definition of the word: Expose. They took the audience on an unbelievable journey through their minds. Making this show not just one continuous thought but the kind where you stay seated until it ends and maybe just a little bit longer, in hopes that you can stay in this wonderful world that has been created before your eyes. Sweetpea performed two acts that were beautiful, full of power and just plain present. She performed the kind acts that allowed us a platform to jump off and free-fall, arms open into the audience, knowing they would catch us.
“Loophole!” Sheila exclaims in her thick East Coast accent as she pulls a toy out of her purse. The crowd roars. The crowd continues to scream and shout until after she exits the stage, wearing not much more than her habit made from a t-shirt. The truth behind this piece makes it all the more incredible and because of it, she not only exposed herself but also the audience (judging by the laughter that filled the theatre, we’ve all had a similar experience).
Watching The Glam King get ready in our cave-like dressing room was quite the experience. Seeing layer, upon layer of her performance armor getting laid down and strapped on was improved only by watching the act in which she bared it all. The Glam King has this remarkable stage presence that always leaves my jaw on the floor. She commands the stage in such well thought out acts. She bared herself in a way that was so brave, the audience could do nothing else but to cheer and hope for more.
For her first act, Jax used her hauntingly beautiful voice; the audience completely silent as the song ends. And that's jdut the first act. As the curtains open-for her second act, all you see is a blank screen. Up pops the video, in which you see a person dancing; smoothly gliding across the screen to the crooning of JT. Pops and locks keep your attention until a glamazon takes the stage. It takes a moment but the audience quickly realizes that the person on screen and stage are one in the same. Being witness to the juxtaposition of inner and outer personality, and getting the proof that there is always more than meets the eye. Screen Jax throws a jacket at the camera as stage Jax picks up the jacket to merge both personas into one.
As I take the stage, I take a deep breath. This piece takes the audience on a journey through the in between world of rehearsal and performance. They are there with me, they are sad with me and they cheer me on. They are supporting me when I tell them that I am not enough and they cheer for me when I say I’m beautiful. As I enter the humid, cave that is our dressing room, I feel proud, I feel honest but most of all, I feel relief. It’s the feeling that one by one, each performer coming off stage that night seems to feel.
Victoria takes the stage. She enters, looks at the audience with mischief in her eyes and right on cue to the music, she removes her dress. As she gazes upon the audience, she picks up a bottle and ever so seductively, pours its contents into her hand. Suddenly, you see her bring both hands to her face and apply this oil, starting the process of her burlesque. Her face glistens, as she looks out to us. Waiting with baited breath to see what comes off next. Bra, tights, pads, shoes and earrings fly off in such a way that the only thing we can do is cheer. Her back is to the audience as she pulls a shirt, slowly turning to face us. And to the guitar slide, she smears her face, becoming a blurred painting between stage and home. Finally, wiping off the rest of her makeup, she exits the stage to another round of roars from the crowd.
As I sit here recounting last night’s events, I still can’t fully take in what happened on that stage last night. I feel recharged and so happy to have taken part in it. The honesty and bravery is just so overwhelming that claiming it was ‘entertaining’ almost seems to belittle it. Thank you to cast and crew of this show, you all are an inspiration.