So most of us have seen The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson or have at least heard the term to understand what it is. I have a journal in a dresser drawer that holds a few of my Bucket List wishes. The rest are in my mind for long car rides to and from children’s sporting events.
Bucket List Item: Audition for Community Theatre……….Check
Get called back (wasn’t even on the list)……………. Check
As I broke the good news of being cast as the eldest sister in Close Ties by Elizabeth Diggs, everyone was shocked but happy for me. Well, almost everyone. The Husband was not impressed but it is important to remember he tolerates my venture into the Art world only in hopes of it being something that will one day contribute to the monthly income. This is the burden he carries as head of the house, the bottom dollar. Everyone’s shock came from the fact that I am a busy Mom of a total of 8 children. I am starting a business from home for my Art work, mostly reborn dolls for now, and I have never been involved or even hinted to friends that I was interested in becoming involved.
Last night during our final dress rehearsal I was thinking about my husband and I, vocationally over the course of our relationship. He has had the same job, the steady one, the backbone of our income. He has had side job ideas like lawn care, rebuilding cars, and a bait shop. Then there is me. Not the reliable income by any means. I was in college when we married, then was a correctional officer (a “where did that come from?” move), then factory work before finally starting in my degree field of teaching kindergarten. Only a few months into that and the universe threw us a curveball. I’ve been home with little ones ever since. I have so many ideas that go through my mind that it surprised me that a man like my husband can follow. In my defense, he was warned. I only have one tattoo and its meaning is that I’m sweet and unpredictable.
I was most excited to call and tell my Grandmother who has always enjoyed live performances. She thought I was calling to tell her I was pregnant again. Uh, NO, six kids in the house is enough. That night I got the script and as we did our first read thru I found words like dildo, hell, and asshole. My character was to say that D word in the first scene! So I put out feelers to my Aunt and Dad to see if Grandma would pass out. Last Friday, a week before the show, she called to give me love and apologize that she wouldn’t come. I accepted gracefully, hung up the phone, and cried.
This is the first time in my adult life I am doing something just for me. It feels AMAZING! I have never done any acting aside from my back-up dancer during the High School musical Oklahoma. I have learned about theatre and myself over the last 6 weeks of preparing. I wish I could let go and really become Anna. There is a shyness within me that holds me back from going complete Chris Farley. We are a small cast which is nice because it means I only have about a dozen people giving me advice instead of 30! I love feedback, it’s what helps me fine tune. It has been entertaining watching the different personalities of our motley crew, a truly refreshing change from my normal stay-at home life with small children. Someone told me after the birth of my second child, everyone will give you advice on how to raise kids, just smile politely and file it away because you never know when that tip may work for you someday even if not today. I have held that tip in every aspect of my life whether it be working at a factory, raising kids, or now, being an actress. Did I just say that? Well, it IS what I’m doing.
I find it ironic that a good portion of my role is about sister relationships. This of course makes me think of and miss my own sister. Six years now that she wrote the letter saying her religion would dissolve our sisterhood; Years of babies being born, loved ones being buried, ups and downs of one week to the next. Now this, my theatrical debut will be without my sister’s presence. However, our brother will be there. The man I love most in this world just past Husband.
My Thank you’s
To the Terre Haute Community Theatre, where adults go to play, thank you for this opportunity! I’m waiting until after the show to ask why me.
The Cast: Jack Ciancone, Kendall Murphy, Pam Virpilio, Linda Green, Matt Schludecker, Mick Mack, and Mikaela Fish have all been so supportive and understanding of my learning curve. Thank you!
Sonni Crawford and Doug Lunn as our Director team has been the bomb! I have learned so much from both of you!
Amber Parker has been my greatest supporter from the beginning. Being back-up Mom on my rehearsal nights has made my load so much easier. I would have been driving girls to Mom or Brooke every night and these last couple weeks would have been awful without you! I am so proud of you for the changes you have made in the last year, I love you!
Husband, thank you for not complaining too much about all the housework I have got behind on, and thank you for giving me a head cold the week we open. Haha
Jennifer Parker is debuting as Anna in CT’s Close Ties. A wife and mother of 8 she feels blessed to have a husband who provides for their large, blended family so she can pursue her love of being an Artist. She operates Jennifer Parker’s Art Shed from her home where she creates an eclectic array of original pieces. Jennifer also writes an online blog under the same name. The late David Bowie was quoted as saying he never saw himself as a Singer but as an Artist. Jennifer feels the same way; she auditioned for CT to open the door to performing as a way of expressing her inner creativity. It has proven to be a wonderful experience!
I dedicate the show too…..
John R Parker
There have been so many nights I drove home thinking of you and how you won’t be in the audience.
I am taking care of the boys as best I can, like I promised.
They miss you everyday.
And so do I.
Words for you, Dear Reader
Make a list of wild things, from when you were 9 years old that you daydreamed about: being an actress, a roller derby girl, a singer, an artist, whatever. Then look at your life and carve out time just for that daydream. I’m 37 and I just got started on my impossible dreams.