When Your Whole World Is Actually A Stage #scintilla

Sally Brown

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I spent the great bulk of my childhood and early adulthood as a stage actor. Musicals and Pantomimes to be precise. If I wasn’t performing in a show, then I was rehearsing for one.  Nearly all of my school holidays were spent doing 8 shows a week and I couldn’t have been happier.  I never fitted in at school.  I was the butt of all the bullies jokes, but all that melted away on the stage.  I was comfortable there.  I knew precisely what I was doing.

I can listen to a showtune and I’m immediately swamped by memories of performing in that musical and the going ons in my life at the time.  This is why today’s prompt is very meaningful for me:

Talk about a memory triggered by a particular song.

The song below takes me back to my early adulthood.  When I was 20 to be precise.  I was studying at University, teaching drama and of course performing. The cast for Snoopy was selected, we didn’t have to audition (a first!). We were deemed to be the most talented bunch to perform this musical. This musical was not like all the ones we had done previously.  We were experienced enough to work with the director on all aspects of the show, rather than to be told what to do. Our first taste of being adult professional actors.

The time spent off stage was just as exciting as the time spent on stage.  A time of house parties, never going home and lots and lots of confusion. I was still struggling with my sexuality. Something I would struggle with for a further 5 years before feeling safe enough to come out. Gay men did musical theatre, but lesbians most certainly didn’t. I grew up in a culture where it was perfectly okay for guys to be gay but not for women. Therefore, I didn’t know what to do about the crush I had on the girl playing Peppermint Pattie and this was further compounded by the crush I had on the guy playing Linus. Since I was playing Sally Brown, it was easier for me to work on that crush on Linus, in fact it was method acting. The fact that crush was in some way reciprocated made it easier again to forget about that troublesome same-sex crush.

Linus & I never got it together to start a relationship but the sexual tension caused us to part on bad terms two years later. Pattie never knew about my feelings for her. I kept that well hidden.

But this song takes me back to this time in a heartbeat.  Standing on chairs, being seen on the outside as belonging to this amazing talented group and on the inside being confused and scared that someone will find out my secret.

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6 thoughts on “When Your Whole World Is Actually A Stage #scintilla

  1. 20 is such a stressful age, I think. Trying to figure out where you want to go and who you want to be. Throw into the middle of that questions over your sexuality must have made things even more difficult. Glad you’ve found who you are. :)

    Oh and thanks for the ear-worm! ;)

  2. Right now, my daughter is finding her way after coming out last year. It’s hard to explain to any kid that, though the emotions & the feelings that you have for people now are powerful, they do change. It’s rare that people end up with their first crush or their first love. Though she feels secure in her preferences, others may not yet.

    I appreciate reading this, as it is easy to recognize some of my daughter’s friends in this post.

  3. When I read this prompt, a million showtunes popped into my head – so, so many memories attached to show’s I’ve done. Takes me right back to the moment, on stage or backstage or whatever, and who I was crushing on at the moment (gotta love showmances). Love this.

  4. “Standing on chairs, being seen on the outside as belonging to this amazing talented group and on the inside being confused and scared that someone will find out my secret.”

    Ah. Yes. I remember it well.

  5. I have only recently found this out about you through your tweets and I am glad that this prompt was something of a comfort to you; taking you back to a time when you were doing something you loved almost every day.

    I’m trying to imagine you at 20 and this post helps.

    PS.Snoopy is a don.

  6. Performing is such a joy! We have this in common.

    I remember those confusing college days, everyone exploring this and that. Several of my close friends experimented with bi-sexuality, but only one remained a staunch lesbian (as for the male dancers, they were all gay!) I’m sorry your culture was less tolerant for women.

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