Personal Essay #7 — Asking for Autographs

Personal Essay Button I’ll be writing and posting Personal Essays on the last Tuesday of every month. They will be honest, sometimes vivid explorations of my life.

I’m writing them for two reasons: to help put my experiences in perspective and to purge myself of any residual compost.

Since it is good therapy, you are invited to join me, post your link in comments and I’ll be sure to drop by.

Let it begin:

banner wicked truck 1a

I’m looking back at an episode of extremes. I love live theater and have for years. So when Wicked, came to Vancouver my sister and I decided to go. While there my behavior did a quick flip—excited by the performance became too shy to approach the cast. I don’t expect to ever have a crowd of fans flocking around me, but if I ever do I hope I remember this moment.

My love of musical theater began long before I lived in Vancouver. I had seen The King and I on television several times throughout my life and never expected to see a live performance. But Yul Brynner came to the Queen Elizabeth Theater months before he died of cancer. The only sign of illness was his heaving chest after a lengthy song and dance. I still regret not trying to get his autograph.headshot anna 1a

No surprise then, when the musical, Wicked, came to Vancouver Queen Elizabeth Theater; my sister and I jumped at the chance to go. I decided before we took our seats that I was going to get autographs. So during intermission, I asked about what I needed to do. Full of bravado, I would have gone up on the stage and, chased the cast to the dressing rooms if that was what it took. As soon as the curtain calls were done, I did as I was told and rushed outside to the stage door pen and program in hand.

The first face I recognized I rushed toward; she smiled, signed and thanked me for coming. The next person that came out I’m not so sure of, my bravado slipping, and I asked them if they were in the performance, feeling quite rude. How could I not recognized them, but they were dancers that were in full flying monkey make-up and gladly signed. Another pair of women came out, looking very much like the two stars (but maybe not), and they asked us how we liked the performance because they were new to the troop. I still got their autographs, but was slowly losing my confidence which made no sense.

Days later and I’m haunted with the fact I was overwhelmed. I have always believed that anyone putting themselves out there deserves acknowledgment and we should never be afraid to share something positive with them. How would it have looked for them to come up to me asking me if I was waiting for an autograph—egomaniac on a stick—that’s how. I’m so glad I’ve had this moment of enlightenment; and I’ve promised myself if I ever go back to the theater to get autographs, I’ll be sure to ask everyone. Fan, headliner, supporting cast member and backstage grunt—I’m asking them all.

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14 responses to “Personal Essay #7 — Asking for Autographs

  1. I used to be one of those backstage grunts. Ask one of them for an autograph, and you will totally make their day.

  2. Good thinking! I’d love to see Wicked!

  3. I love that you are totally going to ask everyone, I am sure you will make their day, even week! It is a wonderful idea. 🙂

  4. sherry fundin

    Great post. I fell the same way. I am usually pretty aggressive about asking for autographs. I would think they would be flattered. I have been shot down more than once and I cannot understand why they said no. They want to be noticed and I am letting them know – I noticed you. lol
    sherry @ fundinmental

  5. I love the theater, and agree each cast member, crew, singer, make the magic happen! Get those autographs!

  6. I love your essays’. Thought provoking every one of them.

  7. I am not an autograph seeker, but I do like to tell the folks involved in the performance how I appreciate their talent and work. I haven’t been to a BIG theater in a big city in a long time,, so it may be easier to not to be shy when it’s no big names or faces involved. Loved your post.

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