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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Using Sickness as Role Study for Opera

Have you ever coughed so hard that it felt like your brain was going to shoot out of every orifice in your head? I mean, really. If my skullcap were not made of bone, I think my brain would have just shot through the top of my head. It is the most unpleasant feeling. It's like falling down the initial drop of a roller coaster where all your body's organs want to stay a few feet above where your body actually is, except that feeling comes from a cough. Well, several coughs- Okay, okay. Maybe I coughed at least 50 times today. Ask my brain and it'll say it was more. I've given up on avoiding the throat irritation from coughing. I've been trying to protect my vocal cords from slamming together incessently, but I figured I may as well cough with gusto. After all, my lungs are taking a swim in the pool. Really. It feels like I inhaled some water except without the burning sensation of chlorinated water, although chlorine would help kill the germs. I do try to have fun with the coughs. Some bring me to tears, some make me want to scream with pain and discomfort, while others make me whimper like a child. It makes me want to name them after people or maybe even bad movies I've seen. Maybe I cough and say the names simultaneously for emotionally dramatic release. It's a golden opportunity to work on my acting skills. What if I ever get to play Mimi in La Boheme or the whore from La Traviata? Sure, they were coughing up blood, but I could inhale a little bit of ketchup for the sake of my art. And even though I'm a tenor and would never get cast in those roles (unless it was some drag queen production), I could put it on my resume under special skills. I think that would give new meaning to the words "role study". But as a Rodolfo or an Alfredo, I could TRULY understand what Mimi and the whore are going through. Except a soprano would NEVER give a full-on throat slamming, brain splattering, blood (ketchup) producing cough in a production, and she would resent anyone critiquing her little puny "a-hem". So I'll have to "act" and make-believe that the hell-gates of all things respirationally grotesque just swung open during those moments on stage. I mean, come on. It's art. It's supposed to be messy.

I think being prepared for the roles from real life experience is what makes art thrive. So, if any of you sopranos out there get pneumonia or TB, cough it UP! I actually believe my throat muscles are strengthening. I know my rib muscles have. They aren't sore anymore from the extreme contractions which have squeezed my lungs like fists around a sponge. I'll probably be a better singer for it all. I don't need my brain anyway, because I'm a tenor, right? And you don't need yours because you are a soprano.

So, what's the moral of the story, kids? If you want to be a better singer and actor, you should get pneumonia. And apparently, it's not easy to catch, so come on over, and we can make out for 15 minutes. Half an hour if you're a good kisser. In return, when you get cast as a Mimi, the whore, or the countless other opera divas who die from respiratory illnesses, you can recommend ME to sing along side you as your tenor counterpart.

1 comment:

Crash 'n' Burn Bethie said...

How DID you get this dread disease, anyway? If it makes you feel any better, I have tendonitis in my wrist.... Hmm, maybe that's not the same.
Well, I'm chalking this one up to role study for - um -...? What role involves the lead (or anyone) running around with an injured arm and spending 2&1/2 hours at Kaiser to find out she should buy a $7 wrist brace at Long's? Read my blog - you'll see...

Wherefore art thou...?