The backseat was abuzz with the chatterings of my two divas-in-training. The discussion revolved around the upcoming auditions for the speaking lines and/or musical solos of their Musical Theatre Ministry that our homeschool group offers.
They were listing all the different roles available, and then they mentioned “The Parrot.”
My ears perked up.
“There’s a parrot part?”
“Well, you know that your mother played a parrot in a play once.” They leaned forward straining against their seatbelts. “Really Mom?”
Oh yeah. I went on to describe in limited detail how their mother assumed the identity of a parrot. And performed it, you know, in front of people. To thunderous applause.”
A hundred or so years ago, I was an actress living in Los Angeles. I performed in plays whenever anyone would be insane enough to hire me. I use the term “hire” loosely. Because I think I made at most $1.50 a show plus all the Doritos I could eat.
I loved the theatre most of all because of all the EXCITEMENT. And I grew to enjoy that feeling of extreme nausea that I would experience every single time I was about to go on.
In the early 90’s, I joined a theatre company. Some of my closest friendships were forged from that group. In fact, I even married one of them.
The first show that I was to perform in was “A Christmas Carol.” Fiddledaddy was cast as well. This particular adaptation centered around a band of circus performers who traveled from city to city mounting “A Christmas Carol.” The role I was cast in required me to roller skate, dance, sing (and don’t tell anyone, but for the good of the show, I perfected the lip-sync), and be a parrot.
I was really nervous about the parrot part. I didn’t learn that in Drama 101. As opening approached, I obsessed and whined enough about it that Fiddledaddy (who was just a “friend”) took it upon himself to encourage my inner parrot.
We rehearsed and rehearsed my voice. For hours. Until I was hoarse. And at last, the sound that spewed forth from my deepest innards, was so parrot-like, I should have been honored at the Tonys. And it was really really loud.
Fiddledaddy was so proud of me that he encouraged me to show off my parrot voice late one night in McDonald’s when we were sitting around with two of our closest friends, Keith and Karen.
Well. I was feeling a little cocky, as parrots often do, and I took a deep breath, and right there in a crowded McDonald’s, while sitting on hollow plastic, I let loose with my greatest Parrot rendition of my entire career. It was just building up in me dying to come out. Unfortunately, it was also followed with a round of flatulence, which as you may not know, reverberates and is amplified when sitting on hollow plastic.
I took my rightful place under the McDonald’s booth, and stayed there until everyone at that table swore to me they would never ever tell that story for the rest of our natural lives. Amen. The remainder of the restaurant, I had no control over.
Our friends Keith and Karen (who also ended up getting married) still, 16 years later, delight in torturing me with that story.
I stopped short of the McDonald’s booth when telling my daughters of my humble bird beginnings.
Even so, for a few moments, I was a rock star in their eyes. “Teach it to us Mommy!” And so I did. Even Jensen lets loose with a pretty good Parrot, if I do say so myself.
If you read my post “Life Upon the Wicked Stage”, you might think that I had a little problem with flatulence in front of an audience.
And you would be right.
Call it nerves. A bad diet. A sick need for attention.
If my children should embark on careers in the entertainment industry, I will not only
lock them in the house pray for them with great consistency, but I will encourage them to spread their wings and let it fly.
Figuratively speaking, of course.