On Being in the Spotlight

Las Vegas – Circus Acts

I’ve been on stage many times, under various circumstances, and with varying results. I am now prepared to make my confessions.

The first time onstage was probably singing with my high school chorus. That really doesn’t count, because there were so many others onstage with me, except for the few times I was a soloist. I was nervous every time, but there’s one I’ll never forget. I can still feel my knees knocking against each other under my choral robe – yes, really, and thank God for that robe – during the introduction to my song. I wanted to disappear. Once I got started, however, the knocking stopped and the music took over.

I had fun in my school play, in which I played the blustery redneck owner of a saloon in the old West. The only thing I didn’t like about my role was that I didn’t get to wear the pretty dresses of the period the other girls got to wear. Instead, I wore work boots and a work-worn dress covered with a work-worn apron. I think I wasn’t nervous because I was playing a character instead of being myself.

Speaking of a character – I played the role of a prostitute in a local production of “J.B.”, by Archibald MacLeish. It was a 2-word part, which I did not get because of any acting talent. The producer/director of the play was also my boss, and cast me without a tryout, I suspect because he couldn’t find anyone else. Anyway, with my long, blonde hair, a gold lame dress, and spike heels, I looked the part. I remember my then-husband shrinking down into his seat, hand to his head, slack-jawed, the picture of embarrassment, when he saw me. Too funny.

The most awful stage experience of my life occurred when I had made up my mind I wanted to be a nightclub singer. I practiced and practiced, found an agent, and went to a club one night for a try-out appearance. It was a small, local club which had a regular singer/piano-player who was to accompany me. She was the ugliest, meanest-looking woman I had ever seen, and she gave me the evil eye. I was immediately intimidated, possibly more by her than by singing to a room full of deadpan faces who couldn’t care less about me. It was a nightmare. My voice trembled uncontrollably through the whole song, and I could hardly wait to slink off the stage at the first possible moment. I am laughing out loud as I write this, but it was gut-wrenching at the time. I learned that show business was not for me.

Who’d have thought that I would eventually find a stage-oriented activity I’d enjoy? Not me. However, I found that I loved public speaking. For several years I traveled semi-widely in the U.S. giving talks about spirituality and psychic ability in everyday life. I was scared much of the time (taking big risks, going where I had never gone before), but on stage all that went away and I had a blast. I loved doing interviews for the media, as well. I think it was probably because I was finally living my purpose.

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