lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Turning a Corner May 2, 2019

I know it’s been a while, and I really am sorry.

Basically, maintaining my author work while choreographing and being in one show and then jumping right into rehearsals for another ate all my available brain cells.

Night of Never was released two weeks ago, and Son of Sun comes out next week, so it’s been a wild ride. It’s been a storm of editing, writing, and making big life decisions.

There’s a story that I’d love to tell you all, but I can’t because airing your grievances on a blog is unprofessional and immature, and I’m good enough at adulting to know that it would bite me in the butt.

So here’s a much longer story.

When I was in college, I was never what my professors wanted me to be. I was smart enough that they needed my GPA, driven enough that I always had theatre work, but they always placed me at the bottom of the list of those they deemed worthy of success.

I’ve spent my adult life as a female in musical theatre. I’ve been lucky enough to work a hell of a lot more than most and have had the pleasure of working for companies that I genuinely enjoy. Even still, as an actor, let alone a female actor, it is regularly implied (and sometimes outright stated) that you are disposable. If you’re lucky enough to have work, then you should take what you’re given because there are hundreds of other people who want to be sitting at your dressing room station. (more…)

 

A Personal Proposal March 9, 2019

At the theatre company I work for most often, we do a thing called a Curtain Speech. Basically, before the show starts, a couple of actors go out on stage, read a list of birthdays and anniversaries, talk about upcoming shows, and warn people against the evils of taking pictures during the show.

I’ve done a lot of curtain speeches, mostly because they don’t scare me and I don’t really mind doing the work. But there is one curtain speech that will forever live in infamy.

I was sitting backstage at my dressing room station when, of all people, the lighting guy came backstage to tell me there was a very special curtain speech announcement. He handed me a paper and told me to read it after the anniversaries.

I looked at the paper, thinking it was going to be like a retirement celebration or something, but the card said (something along the lines of):

“And Charlotte, Richard wants to know if you’ll marry him.”

What?! (more…)

 

A Little “Nighttide” Music December 11, 2018

I adore my husband. If you’ve visited this blog before, that much is probably clear.

Aside from our co-dependence as humans, we also work together as performers and have been known to collaborate on fun projects. Together, we created the music for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical and Princess Camp: The Musical.

Most recently, I decided to write a short story that includes music. Weird, I know. But think of it this way: there are books where people bake pies, and at the back of the book the author puts in the recipe for the pie you saw the characters baking. Only in this story there is no pie, there’s songs. And for those who are musically-inclined, there’s sheet music available to go with the songs.

Why, you may ask? Because I love collaborating on music with the husband, and no one would want to eat any pie I created the recipe for.

Will everyone who reads the story be interested in the sheet music, or be able to read or play music? Not at all. And the story doesn’t hinge on being able to hum the melody.

I just really like insider extras, and music is something unique I can offer my readers.

The story is titled Song of Nighttide and is available for free download here.

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And as for our little song, please enjoy this clip of the husband’s performance.

 

 

A Tale of Two Understudies December 4, 2018

Today, I offer you a tale of two understudies. Well, really it’s the story of two different leads who had to call out of shows. The leads were from two different titular-character driven productions. By that, I mean the show was about one character, and the rest of us were just there to dance around behind them.

The first who had to call out was a man. His voice went kaput, and he had to call out for a day. He was a great guy who knew how hard the job of his understudy was going to be. Rather than throw a tantrum about his understudy going on, he did everything he could to help his understudy succeed. Right down to being on vocal rest in the wings during the show to make sure all of the understudy’s quick changes went well. At the end of the performance, people congratulated the understudy on doing an amazing job. But they also thanked the lead for being such a gracious and wonderful person to help his understudy get through the show.

The second to call out was a woman. She waffled about calling out for several days, giving her understudy several mid-show heart attacks, then finally called out. (more…)

 

A “Real” Job November 27, 2018

I’m an actor and an author. Those are the two things I do with my life. They are both horribly time consuming, desperately competitive, bound to shatter your heart, and I would never give up either of them.

But a lot of people don’t consider either to be a real job.

I’m an adult. Not like just out of college and think I’m a grown up. I am actually a full-fledged adult who likes to gripe at youths who aren’t concerned with being politically active. But some people still somehow think that I’m going to outgrow these strange pursuits and choose something sensible to do with my life.

My favorite comments include:

  • If you keep practicing, you could really be an actor someday.

Counter balanced by

  • You’re so talented, have you considered acting professionally?

 

There’s also the gems of (accompanied by thoughts like):

  • So what do you do for money?
    I sacrifice goats to the gods. Would you like to come to the next ceremony?
  • What are you going to do—you know—when you’re old?
    Be a cooler person than you.
  • You should be on Broadway. Why don’t you live in New York?
    I like disposable income and hate the smell of pee on the sidewalk.
  • Don’t you want to do something more with your life?
    I tell stories and make people happy. I may not be curing cancer, but escape and joy are important, dammit.

(more…)

 

A Spark of Joy November 23, 2018

There are a lot of hard days in musical theatre.

I know. Crazy right?

I spend most of my time singing and dancing for a living. Most people barely consider what I do to be a job (I’ll go into more detail on this gem next time), but performing is hard. It’s tiring and repetitive. Not only are you asking your body to do strenuous physical activity, you have to sing and look like it’s easy too!

There are days—when you’re sore, and tired, and you’ve rammed your face into a set piece, and your fake eyelash is jabbing your eye, and you have a bobby pin that’s trying to impale your brain—when you’d really just rather not. Not go on stage, not have lights in your eyes, not try and entertain strangers.

We all have those days, and it’s okay. I’m constantly having to tell fresh performers that it’s okay. Having a day when you have to force the smile on your face while you tap dance on aching feet is okay. You’re not a terrible actor. You don’t need to quit. Our job is hard.

But every once in a while, a very special audience member comes along who makes the hard job a whole lot easier. (more…)

 

My Bio October 23, 2018

As an actor and author, I have to write a lot of bios.

Some, like for kid’s shows, are super easy.

Megan is thrilled to be on stage again. Her favorite animal is the narwhal, and her favorite food is ice cream.

Then there’s normal show bios where you have like two-hundred words to sound impressive so you go for:

Megan is thrilled to be a part of shmanky schmoo production. Previous credits include: Blah, blah, blah, blah. Am I impressive yet? Blah, blah. Love to my husband.

But the real kicker is the author bio. Sometimes you have about one-hundred words, so all you can do is list your books and say who your agent is and you’re done.

But sometimes they want you to fill a whole page so the reader can really get to know you. This, my friends, is dangerous. It’s all about balancing honesty with interest.

I’m going to list my books, that’s a given. I’ll put in a tagline about my work as a playwright and lyricist. I’ll probably toss in a bit about being a professional performer because, for some reason, people think that’s super cool and glamorous. (I agree with the cool, but the glamorous is a lie performers like to keep up. Really we’re just sweaty messes wondering when our costumes can be washed and where the nearest ice pack is, but whatever. It’s nice to believe that fake eyelashes and sequins really do make us fancy.) (more…)