Bonjour, mon cheris, bonjour and Happy 4th of July if you live in America!
I have made it back to this blog of song, dance, overly loud voices, New York accents, and questionable fashion choices, my darling people! This past week has been very painful for me because my long-time choir was disbanded due to lack of funding and I feel like I’ve lost twenty seven pieces of myself in losing my co-choirers. This should just be a reminder of how important funding for the arts is.
But as theatre people, and human beans, I know that we all have had the experience of having to say goodbye to people dear to us. Ah, the trials of the theatrical life.
*sobs for seven hours*
I am not really okay, as demonstrated by the facts that I am not only wearing a bathrobe at 5:57 in the afternoon, but also using my piano as a desk.
We have to take life in strides, friends, we really just do.
Anyway, this past week, prompted in part, by my loss of people who have shaped so much of who I am, I have been contemplating what makes a person, and more importantly, what makes a theatre geek.
Anyone who knows anything knows that this is an extremely deeply important question that every top scientist on the planet should be extensively researching. Unfortunately, even after much internet sleuthing, I could not find one article on the theatre geek condition or, even more importantly, any articles covering that world-wide question: are theatre geeks born or made? Thank gosh I am also a top scientist and researcher in addition to being a theatre geek and wearer of black turtlenecks. In my quest for The Truth I analyzed (secretly, like a stalker which I totally am not. At all.) the personality traits of the many theatre geeks whom I have been friends and yes, enemies, with during my long theatrical career. I also extensively cited my own trials and tribulations in the world of musical theatre to create a well-rounded and ground-breaking review of the theatre geek condition. I know I might win the Nobel Prize for science after this publication, but I won’t forget you all, because I could never find a group of people who are more theatrical and gol-blasted amahzing! (Obviously.)
I decided to number each thing that I have found to be (at least in study) necessary and universal to becoming a theatre geek. But we must also ask ourselves, are theatre geeks born? No one knows for sure.
Let me start on the scientific research now.
The Theatre Geek Condition: Are Theatre Geeks Made or Born? (The world-wide question)
1. (first seemingly necessary step to becoming a theatre geek)
Wearing a costume (and liking it)
The first, the really first thing that seems to inject the theatre into a potential geek’s blood is known as a costume. Costumes come in many forms, but my first theatrical costume came in the form of a pair of Minnie Mouse ears in a ballet recital. As a side note, I no longer possess any of my fabulous ballet skills, and am, in fact, unable to walk for long periods of time without hitting my head on either a post or another person. It is quite disturbing how little of my early-learned theatrics I have retained. The Minnie Mouse ears were, as I recall, quite flattering. Minnie Mouse ears are pretty universally flattering, but I didn’t know that at the age of three. I just thought the Minnie Mouse ears were Destined to clasp snuggly around my small, pale head, and more than that, I thought that I was destined to wear them fabulously. I have very little memory of my ballet recital, but from what I hear, the Minnie Mouse ears were a smashing success. And even more than that, I know that I had never felt better than when I was wearing tights and soft shoes and making people clap for me and my mediocre ballerina technique (it just occured to me that I was probably playing one of the rats in The Nutcracker. In fact, now I remember a horrible little boy named Simon who was always pretending to be a jaguar (he probably wasn’t horrible but I have some real bad memories of him trying to attack people) wearing a crown over his mouse ears. As the rat king. Wow. That explains a lot.)
This tells me that theatre geeks are made, since many of us are born without clothing and only find costumes later in life. But let me ask a most reliable source. A real theatre geek.
Real Conversations With Real Actual Theatre Geeks Who Are Not Even Me Pretending To Be Someone Else I Swear To Gosh (am I an authentic scientist or what?)
Broadway Lil: What was the first costume you remember wearing?
Real Actual Theatre Geek: Well, there was this pink dress that I wore in a play that my older sister and I put on. She played my husband in the play and it was just about our homelife and she wore a plastic bag on her head as a hat, which was, come to think of it, quite dangerous. But [the dress] was pink and it had white lace around the collar.
Broadway Lil: How much do think wearing a costume influences becoming a theatre geek?
Real Actual Theatre Geek: I think that you don’t quite need a costume to become a theatre geek exactly, but if you are in a musical or a play it does make it a better experience for the audience [to wear a costume] if you have a very boring story-line and they need to focus on something else.
BL: So you don’t think wearing a costume necessarily makes one into a theatre geek?
BL: Thank you for your time.
RATG: Wait, that’s all?
BL: No, I’m going to ask you more things later.
2. Hearing The Sound of Your Voice (and liking it) (a lot)
One of the best known stereotypes of theatre geekdom is the loudness thing. The loudness thing is actually a real challenge to live with. While normal people can go gallivanting around the world and even talk in restaurants, Theatre Geeks have something much more difficult to deal with. For me, my habit of speaking loudly was never something I noticed, until I got old and started Analyzing Myself (much in the same way I’m analyzing the Theatre Geek Condition) and I realized that when I talked to people in what I thought was a whisper they could hear me just was well as when I was talking in my normal voice. A whisper! What the frak? That was my question. Now, lowering your volume of speech is simple enough and can easily be achieved by even the possessor of the most thundering voice on earth, but one of the little-known side effects of having deafening vocal chords is the side effect of not being able to hear anything. If you are used to the blasting tone of your voice and are subject to having to listen to others with softer voices speak, you will not be able to hear them at all and this is a problem. I have contemplated the reasons for the loudness thing, and I think people might be born with it. This would constitute that theatre geeks are born. Hrm.
Real Conversations With Real Actual Theatre Geeks
BL: Do you think theatre geeks are born with loud voices?
RATG: Lilly, you’re yelling.
BL: Don’t call Lilly, I’m Lil, Broadway Lil.
RATG: I didn’t know you had anything against it.
BL: Against what?
RATG: Me calling you “Lilly”
BL: Whatever. So do you think theatre geeks are born with loud voices?
RATG: No, I do not think that. I, for one, am not a loud person at all unless I am onstage, and even then the director is always saying, “speak up, speak up,” and putting their hands to their ears in passive aggressive ways.
BL: That’s sort of rude.
BL: Of the directors.
3. Strong in Constitution and an Emotional Disaster
I have thought a great deal about my own emotional state of being over the past year or so and have come to several startling conclusions. One of the most prominent of these startling conclusions is that I have nerves of steel and the heartbeat of a squirrel.
This analysis I find, sums up all that it is to be a theatre geek. Having the ability to stay calm in trying situations onstage (when you fall on your face while performing a tap dance which you are very incapable of achieving), and off ( realizing that you will never win the Hamilton lottery) but at the same time being emotionally present, and being also, unable to keep certain things inside you, such as songs (Defying Gravity), thoughts (Jonathan Groff is the most adorable person ever) and feelings (I love Lin-Manuel Miranda), are both things I have found in the personalities of almost every theatre geek I have ever known. But in thinking this over, I really wonder if this emotional state is something one is born with or something one develops. In some respects, I would have to say both. I have always been fairly dependable in trying situations, but it took some really boisterously theatrical people to let me know that it is accepted and in fact, encouraged, to scream every time you hear Audra McDonald’s voice or see a photo of the cast of Dear Evan Hansen. Thus, my heartbeat of a squirrel was born. In reading this over I realize that this blog post could be construed as having been written by an overeager 4th of July beer drinker. I have to let you know that not only am I very young and disgusted by alcohol, I also do not approve of the drinking of beer. I only approve of the drinking of champagne. Preferably whilst wearing a stole.
Drink whatever you want to drink. I have no alcohol credentials. I only drink hot chocolate.
One Last Real Conversation With Real Actual Theatre Geeks and Conclusions
Broadway Lil: Do you as a theatre geek, agree with the phrase, “I have nerves of steel and the heartbeat of a squirrel”?
Real Actual Theatre Geek: Is that actually a term?
BL: I made it up. I mean, yes.
RATG: Oh. Cool.
BL: So what are your thoughts on it?
RATG: I would say that’s the opposite.
BL: Theatre geeks are the opposite?
RATG: Theatre geeks don’t have nerves of steel but they never get scared onstage.
BL: I would think that constitutes as nerves of steel.
RATG: I don’t know what nerves of steel means.
BL: Well, then do you think theatre geeks are over excitable?
BL: And one last thing. Are theatre geeks born or made?
RATG: Depends on the geek.
BL: Explain that statement
RATG: Well, my sister, for one, was born a drama queen, not a theatre geek. She became a theatre geek when she became lonely.
BL: Your poor sister.
RATG: You can say that again. But my guinea pig on the other hand. Now there is a true born theatre geek.
BL: Don’t make this into an advertisement for your guinea pig.
RATG: It’s not.
BL: Okay. Well do you think some theatre geeks are born?
BL: But you can’t generalize them?
RATG: No. Well, Liza Minnelli was born.
BL: A Theatre Geek?
BL: So it’s subjective?
RATG: I guess. I don’t know what that means.
BL: Oh. it depends on the theatre geek?
BL: The born or made thing? It depends?
RATG: I already said that.
BL: Oh. Thank you for your time.
RATG: But can I say one more thing, Lil?
BL: Okay, I guess so.
RATG: I am making a film.
BL: Oh here we go.
RATG: I’ll be directing it. And I was wondering if any of the readers of this…”blog” would be interested in acting in it. If so, please let Lil know in the comments down below.
BL: Who said you could that?
RATG: No one. But you’re typing it.
BL: Oh. dang it.
RATG: The film is an adaptation of The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan.
BL: Oh. Well you heard the woman. Let her know. Audition.
RATG: And it’s going to be Akland.
BL: Whatever that means.
So there we have it. But what do we think? Are theatre geeks born or are theatre geeks made? It’s sort of difficult to be sure. I received some contrasting opinions from my own and there’s a lot to sort out. Unfortunately I have to watch the fireworks now, but I think I can conclude, from all the data meticulously gathered by me, that theatre geeks being born or made is purely subjective. And that’s a good lesson I have learned: people cannot and should not be generalized.
I love you all and I will see you next week for more Broadway and Yelling! Would you be interested in hearing about the best theatrical things to do this summer, or how Lin-Manuel Miranda changed Broadway (and my heart) (it used to be whole) forever? Or something completely different? Please let me know in the comments below!
For more information regarding this wonderful new film The Lost Hero, please contact Carolyn through her instagram account a link to which I have attached right here:
Love and butterflies!