Last night's performance in The Barn was really magical. As I sat backstage, before the show, I was sure that this would be the last time I would do this piece. I developed it in Martha Rynberg's Solo Performance Workshop earlier this year; at the time, it didn't have a title. Then I performed it again for Solo Sundays at Stage Werx, under the title "If Anything, Karaoke Will Betray You." I'm grateful to Solo Sundays producer Bruce Pachtman for encouraging me to give the piece a proper title. A title makes a thing feel real, you know? Like a blog post. Or a kitten.
Anyway, I thought that last night would be the last time I'd do this piece. I mean, it's about when I hit bottom, and that was so long ago. Actually, it's just to the right of when I hit bottom. It's still too painful to look directly at that time in my life. Or maybe I still can't see it clearly. One or the other. My point is, this piece is about the time just after I hit bottom, but I was still stuck, swirling around in the holding-pattern of self-doubt and hiding myself from myself. This story is very much about my dark time, but the exact flavor of that dark time was artificially sweetened by the recent move back to San Francisco, the saccharine taste of a prestigious job, and the aroma of karmic balance. But just the aroma. I caught my first whiff of it back then, back when this story takes place, but it would be still many more years until I would actually have that lovely stuff on my tongue for reals.
So there I was, sitting backstage, pretty darn sure that this would be my last time doing this piece. I could hear the crowd getting rowdy out front, which is always exciting. The Barn really knows how to throw a good party. And you know what? I wasn't nervous at all. I did feel a little disembodied though. I don't know if that had more to do with the blood loss of a first day menstrual cycle, or the calm that comes with the surety that I have found my purpose in life. They're probably related.
Anyway, like I keep saying, I had this idea that this would be my last time conjuring up the sweet, sweet revenge exacted by a single, excruciating Karaoke selection.
And then, I stepped out in front of that generous, warm, receptive audience. They got into my little rollercoaster of delights and horrors. Together, we remembered the times we made choices that we thought were healthy, and they turned out to be toxic. Life threatening even. Together, we found some new, interesting pockets to my story. Tasty pockets. We discovered and savored them together, like the first time we tried olive oil on ice cream. And these new pockets were pretty delectable. Even tastier than perceived karmic balance, I'd say.
So, I'll probably keep doing that piece, is my point.
Sarah Elovich is a writer and performer based in Oakland, CA.