I started a bucket list and landed on stage

Do you have a bucket list? I have one. I even started a Facebook group, 30 by 30 – the account is closed now. It started as a group page opened primarily to people in my inner circle. Members were privy to post their to-do lists before they’re next big birthday arrived or before they “kicked the bucket” or whatever came first. It was created as a motivational tool to inspire us to achieve whatever our hearts desired. Whether it was to write a book, join a Zumba class or zipline, the objective was to put it on the list and do it.

I was fast approaching my 30s, and as a result, I had fallen into a slump.  In response, I had decided that I would accomplish 30 feats (no matter how big or small) before my 30th birthday. Fast forward a few more years and I’m at the midpoint in my 30s. Currently, my bucket list looks more like a what-I-want-for-Christmas list.

One item stood out among the pack; goal number 31: be an actress. That’s right. I wanted to try my hand at acting. But, the closest thing to getting on stage was volunteering with the Board of Directors for a local community theatre group. At the time, I just wanted to be an advocate for continued education of the arts.

Pictured with my DST line sisters after my stage debut alongside two acting veterans (all white attire). #Keen18

And, then…an audition opened welcoming new talent for an independent stage play. At first, I was fearful and nervous. But, I nailed it! I landed the role of Katherine, a good friend and support system to the church’s first lady and someone who despises messy people. Was I playing a character or was that my life? The director pointed out to each of my cast mates and I that we were “to eat, sleep and breathe” our new roles. I was determined to be the best Katherine this community would ever witness.

Just to be clear, acting isn’t all lights, camera, action, especially in the small theatre world. There are no production assistants, the crew and cast come with a set of multiple personalities (in addition to the characters’ personalities)  as well as a host of stage cues to memorize in addition to your lines. But it wasn’t all bad; there were perks too: a horde of laughs, snapshots and selfies to remember our experience with one another, snacks and surprise dinners for those late nights.

After two months of rehearsals, it was showtime. Time to break a leg! I stepped onto the stage under those piercing, bright lights in the company of hundreds of people eager to identify the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s). The bulk of my performance was in a salon AKA gossip central. We were the supportive cast and offered loads of ad lib attributing to our comic relief. The plot revolved around lust, love, who-done-it and drama taking place in a church. Sound familiar? I mean, sound interesting?

By the end of the show, we were a hit with the crowd. Just as soon as the curtains closed, social media was buzzing with compliments, photos and videos. My acting debut, my bucket list item number 31, was fulfilled and it was satisfying. Who would have thought it? Me. An actor.

But, the part of the story that makes this extra special for me is that throughout the rehearsal dates, memorizing lines and getting to know my cast mates, I was undergoing a personal battle; a financial struggle. During this time, I was running my own one-man show;  renovating my home, making a major home appliance purchase, paying credit card and home bills and dishing out exorbitant payments on vehicle repairs. It was a struggle balancing work and rehearsal. But, it was by way of my faith, love and support of family and friends and my personal determination that carried me through this hardship. Bucket list number 31…#ibedamned

So, what’s next? I don’t know. Maybe a hot air balloon ride.

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