My second Road Show, at least the second one I remember, was a spoof on the Snow White story. Once again, this Road Show took place when there was still a strong adult influence on its production. That meant there would be a script writer, choreographer, and lyricist. It also meant there were going to be auditions.
Once I heard there were auditions, I knew my role in that Road Show would be limited. I was too young and way too awkward for a speaking part. I couldn't sing, so any part that required a solo, duet, or any amount of people singing was going to be way outside not only my comfort zone, but my talent zone as well. There was dancing again, but our cast was to be a lot smaller than the Monopoly Road Show, so I did all I could to shy away from any part that required dancing.
I cannot dance!
I cannot dance!
So, all that was left was to be Dopey. I don’t recall if we had all seven dwarves in the show. But I do recall that David Harris and I were two of the dwarves. My costume was a red flannel shirt, a Dopey hat, and suspenders holding up my brown baggy pants.
I didn't even have a line.
All I had to do was follow David on stage as he said his one line and then follow him off-stage. Remember, part of the scoring for these Road Shows was youth participation. I was given a part simply to let the stake know we involved everyone – even those with no talent.
Don’t get me wrong. I was fine with this part. I got to be at all the practices and hang out with my friends, the older youth, and the adults. I had no stress about remembering my line or whether or not my voice could reach a high or low note. This was the perfect part for me.
Yet, week after week, as I practiced my part, which consisted of walking on stage and walking off stage, I felt I could contribute more to the success of this show. But what? By the time we were ready to perform the on the first night, I had thought of nothing I could do to bring life to my part.
On the first performance of the first night, it came time for me to follow David on stage. My mind was racing about what I could do to make this a memorable moment. We entered stage left and had to stand on stage as Snow White finished her song.
I looked out at the audience and all I could see were the bright stage lights and a handful of people sitting on the front row. Then it hit me. I had the perfect way to enhance my theatrical debut. Rather than stare at David’s back as I followed him to the center of the stage, I looked straight at the audience, pretended to be struck with stage fright, and pointed my finger at the onlookers.
David, unaware of what I was doing, walked towards Snow White as scripted. I and just stood there and pointed. I could hear fellow ward members on stage whispering to each other wondering what was wrong with me. My impromptu actions distracted Snow White so much that she forgot her line as just started at me. Then, the audience roared with laughter.
I was a hit!!!
David, hearing the laughter, and likely bored with his small part of the show, played it perfectly. He delivered his line, walked back to where I was standing, waved his hands in front of my eyes, (to which I did not respond), and then very carefully dragged me off the stage. I was as stiff as a board.
The audience roared with laughter until I was off stage.
But, now we had to face Sister Harris, David’s Mom, who was the director of the play. She was also my piano teacher, so we knew each other well. I was a little nervous that she would be mad at my improvisation. But the audience did laugh, so at least I had that on my side.
Much to my surprise, Sister Harris ran towards me a gave me a big hug. She said I was the highlight of the Road Show and asked me to do my stage fright act at all future performances.
I am not sure how our Road Show did that year as far as placing. But I had made my mark in the world of drama. All it took was some pretended stage fright, a hand pointing towards and audience, and my fellow actor pulling me off stage.
I knew that my future as an actor was limitless….