Like many high schools, mine put on a musical each year. During my junior year, it was The Sound of Music. I had watched a VHS copy of The Sound of Music with my Aunt Carole when I was a kid, but I didn’t pay attention. Instead, I was preoccupied by how while we were viewing that, my sister Julie was at Lambeau Field with Uncle Bill to see the Green Bay Packers play. These seemed to be very uneven activities, but I guess that’s what happens when you aren’t the athletic child.
When I was a sophomore, a weird burst of confidence had caused me to audition for a solo in choir. I didn’t get it, but my teacher approached me after class and told me he was mad that I had been hiding my voice. He kept encouraging me to do things and spent time working with me, but I kept bailing because I was shy and afraid of failure.
But back to my junior year. My choir teacher (who also directed the musical every year) approached me after auditions were announced and asked what part I was going to try out for. I told him I wasn’t trying out. He kept pestering me to do it, but I refused.
After the auditions were over, the list with the awarded parts was eventually posted. One of my friends who tried out was running her finger down one of the pages.
“I didn’t know you tried out!” she said. Confused, I replied that I didn’t.
“Well, you’re a nun!” She pointed to my name.
Fuming, I hunted down my choir teacher.
“WHY AM I A NUN???” I demanded.
“We need your voice! There are lots of nuns, you’d just be part of a group,” he argued. I disagreed and told him I refused to be on stage. He pointed out that I would be wearing a nun’s habit and would be almost completely obscured, so it was like I wasn’t even really on stage. I finally relented and soon was adding rehearsals to my schedule.
One night when I showed up at rehearsal, there was a lady next to a rack filled with ballgowns who announced that all of the nuns needed to be fitted for dresses for the scene where we are needed to be dancing at a party.
Fuming again, I hunted down my choir teacher.
“I AM NOT WEARING A DRESS! I AM NOT DANCING! I WILL QUIT!”
This was actually probably the most adamant and fierce I’ve been in my life. I was strong, I was confident! I think that being such a whiny diva eliminated anything positive about that though.
But I was able to go back to being just a nun, getting to hide in my habit in a sea of black and white. I would not draw attention to myself, I’d just be able to cruise along and get to participate while also basically hiding. Clever, clever girl.
Soon our rehearsals became dress rehearsals, and I got to learn the huge downside of wearing a nun’s habit onstage: IT IS FREAKING HOT. Oh, man. That heavy fabric, those hot lights. Of course, there were several other girls in the same position as I was, but clearly you’ve been able to ascertain by now that I was (am) a bit of a delicate flower. One night, our rehearsal was running really late. We were all whining to each other, but there was no sign of this rehearsal ending anytime soon. My body finally just said nuts to everything and gave out.
I was fine and woke back up fairly fast, I was just so hot and so tired. Regardless, my little episode signaled the end of that night’s rehearsal.
At the next night’s rehearsal, I was greeted warmly by the rest of the cast, as they were all so happy that I was able to finally end the previous rehearsal. People were acting like I was a hero! I was asked to do it again if rehearsal ran too long that night. I’d never felt more appreciated by my classmates.
I remained upright for all future rehearsals and performances, and I had a brief glimpse of what popularity felt like, so I deemed the overall experience a huge success.