Mother Of A Theater Kid

Comfort Zone

I have totally been trying to redefine the boundaries of my comfort zone lately. And much to my pleasure, the process has not killed me. Nor has it driven me to drink. It hasn’t even done too much to my sleep patterns, but that may have more to do with the fact that my sleep patterns have been messed up for about a year now. Either way – Facing my Anxiety and KICKING IT’S ASS. That’s what I’ve been up to. How about you?

See..the thing about the hobby of “THEATER” is that it tends to be a family hobby. Whether because the parent’s involvement in theater spawned the child’s interest – or vice versa – if one person is involved in theater in some way or another? The whole family will eventually play a part. (No pun intended.)

The thing is, in most cases, it’s the parent’s interest that comes first. So, in terms of the group of kids involved in the Spring musical LilZ is currently in, the parents all know each other. I noticed this very early on as I would overhear parents discussing other productions in town and what their kids were doing in those. Or even what they were doing as some parents perform in community theater. And if the parents aren’t involved directly, they’ve become involved over the years of having kids involved. It’s a very tight-knit group of people who have fought battles on the stage together. Late night sewing sessions, painting sessions, and hours upon hours of reading lines with their kids. They all have the scars to prove their commitment and the bond those kind of experiences form seem to be very strong.

And I’m a new recruit. A recruit brought in by my son. Until this production, I had no prior experience with anything theater related. I had no idea what a “Strike Party” was (everyone helping tear down the set after the last performance) and I still don’t know the difference between “Stage Right” and “Stage Left.” I learned yesterday that a “Costume Parade” is not actually a parade. After LilZ finally stopped laughing at my assumption that the teenagers would be marching through the halls of their high school in their costumes, he explained to me that it’s essentially the final costume fitting. The kids line up on stage in their costumes (ideally with an almost complete set behind them) as the director and costumer and others look on and critique for final adjustments. Totally no where NEAR as much fun as my idea. For the record.

MrZ and I have been slowly but surely acclimating ourselves to this new tight-knit community. He’s done several set-build sessions and I’ve done a little bit of painting, hot-gluing and pinning. Every time, I step a little bit out of my social comfort zone and work to remember names and make friends. I do have quite a bit of social anxiety so I frantically worry every night before a session about whether or not I’ll remember names, or be able to strike up conversation. But every night? It’s gone great. I actually feel like I’m making friends with many of these parents and this is like A WHOLE NEW WORLD. I’m still very awkward but I’m feeling much better about it all.

And last night? I combined all of that with something else that is entirely new to me: MAKEUP.

I went to a Makeup lesson last night. ME. MAKEUP. One of the first things the lead Makeup Mom told me (she’s been doing this at the high school for 10 years now as she’s watched her own kids go through the program) was that, “Stage makeup is nothing like beauty makeup.” To which I replied, “Good. Because I know nothing about that either.” As I’m sure was evident since I was sitting there with NO MAKEUP ON. But the session? SO MUCH FUN. It was just an introduction to technique and equipment but we also discussed strategy and ideas with some of the characters. This is a musical revolving around Seuss characters, so it will involve some creativity. The Makeup Mom even sent me home with some of the foundation to practice with (“Oh, LilZ…”) so I’ll get a feel for how it goes on. Since I’ll have to be at all productions with NikkiZ anyway – she has a very small role in the first act thanks to her brother’s involvement – being on the hair/makeup crew seemed the best place for me. We’ll see how much I actually learn before we decide if this is a good fit for me in the theater family. I can’t sew, work with power tools, and I know nothing about stage management or production – so this seems like a good place for a beginner to start.

So look at me! Socializing AROUND MAKEUP. Two things set so far out of my comfort zone I didn’t even know they could exist together. But here I am…branching out for LilZ and his hobby.

But also for myself. It’s never too late to challenge yourself, I’m learning. You’re never too old to learn new tricks. And maybe, if NikkiZ decides to follow in LilZ’s footsteps, this will just be part of my routine. Nothing at all stressful.

Heh. Who am I kidding? It will most surely always increase my anxiety, but at least by that time I’ll have have learned enough of the vocabulary that NikkiZ won’t have quite as many opportunities to mock me as LilZ does.

The Girls
Never fear, there are plenty of other reasons I can be mocked.

10 thoughts on “Comfort Zone”

  1. Oh, I SO love theater communities. They’re so much fun! Is yours the kind that likes to have spontaneous sing-a-longs? 😉

  2. I had very small parts in two musicals (Gypsy and Anything Goes) during college and loved the instant camaraderie. Being involved as a first semester freshman was especially good for me, since I was much more reserved (read painfully shy) then. When our annual church dinner theater is in rehearsal, I’m always envious of those who are able to participate. I would encourage you to find your niche in the theater community, since you’ll be involved anyway because of the kids. Things get a little intense toward the end of any production, but the end result is well worth it.

  3. Or maybe your newfound makeup skills will come in handy when NikkiZ grows up. Based on her wardrobe (similar to my creative 4 y.o.) I think there is some blue eye shadow in her future.

  4. Good for you! I wish my mom had let me join clubs and do theater when I was in school. Actually, in hindsight I can see that it was partly because of her own social anxiety, so it’s great that you’re trying to work on your own. Even after LilZ’s out of high school, you’ll benefit from this.

  5. Branching out is a wonderful thing to do, and it may just help you with the anxiety issue. Either way, it is a good thing you are doing for your kids, working through your own issues and hang ups so that you can encourage them in branching out on their own interests. Well done!

  6. Go you! That’s really cool. I’ve been a part of a few productions over the years and it really is a ton of fun, and definitely a bonding experience! 🙂

  7. I think it’s so awesome that you’re stepping out side of your comfort zones…it’s good to push yourself. I’ve been looking for a way to push myself…and I’ve avoided it. But I need to – I need the thrill of doing something a little out there.

  8. It’s awesome that the parents are involved – when I was in high school theater, the kids did ALL the work and many parents had no idea how hard their kids had worked to get the show together.

    Costume parade? That one I’ve never heard – between 18 years of dance and 10 of theater. So…. I think you can be excused on that one!

    Although – if you’re using real stage makeup, locate some cold cream-type cleanser – Noxema or the like. That stuff is tough to get off!

    And congrats on stretching out. I’m still at the “learning to say hi at the playground” stage….

  9. This sounds like SO MUCH fun and, yeah, my kids have this way of making me redefine my comfort zone and…now, that two of ’em are teenagers…it’s becoming a “daily” routine.

    [one step, two step]

    Are we having fun, yet?

  10. Good for you! Theater communities become tight-knit quickly — it’s an effect of all those days in rehearsal together. So the good news is, it won’t take long for you to feel like you fit right in. Just give it another play or two, and you’ll be an old hand.

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