I'm up much earlier than I need to be this morning. I don't know that it is completely out of excitement or completely out of anxiety and nerves. I wish that I could pin my inability to sleep of late on one thing or another.
This morning we open with a school show of Nutcracker. The house will be completely packed with kids from local schools. This is traditionally the most enthusiastic crowd we will have the whole run. I get the ball rolling with Drosselmeyer. As it turns out, I open and close the run with the same part! Perhaps I'll never know if they planned it this way or if I simply got "lucky." I'm happy it turned out this way.
This evening will be our official public opening of the show. I always get a thrill from an opening night. Regardless of the show or role, I love knowing that there are finally people who have paid, sitting in the audience expecting a good show. What a privilege and a duty to serve them. Who cares about nerves, who cares about sore muscles at that point? I have to muster all of my energy and give it my all as if it's my last one.
Of course, that last statement rings a bit more true for me this year as each one really is my last Nutcracker opening. I feel as if I'm trying to inhale the whole experience and hold my breath for fear that if I exhale, it will all be gone.
How did my career go by so quickly? Around every corner backstage I run into some ghostlike memory from Nutcrackers past. Stories pop into my brain that I had forgotten. In the eyes of the little soldiers, angels, party and Mother Ginger children, there is no way of knowing that behind the mask of this goofy Mouse King who is playfully harassing them or the Drosselmeyer who they ask to do magic tricks for them (even offstage,) is a man who is sad and feels that a part of him is dying.
Even in my sadness, I feel that I am ready for this. I am excited, and by golly, I will-I repeat WILL find a way to live for every moment my feet step onto that stage.