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.