Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Photo A Day, Day 8: Hobby

I’ve had quite a few hobbies over the course of my life. My first real hobby was probably decorating my Barbie Town House in elementary school. I designed furniture by stapling fabric remnants from my mom’s sewing projects onto scraps of wood left over from my dad’s projects; I drew pictures and taped them to the walls as artwork; I fringed the edges of scraps of wrapping paper to make area rugs. When I hit junior high, my design hobby gave way to my musical hobbies: I sang in the choir, I doodled around on the piano, I took up the flute and later the French horn. In high school and college, I took up various types of needlework, from sewing to quilting to embroidery to counted cross-stitch. I even tried my hand (somewhat unsuccessfully) at knitting, crochet, and trapunto. But although all those hobbies have waxed and waned through the years, one hobby has persisted throughout my life since childhood: theatre.

For someone who considers myself an introvert, I have never had a fear of performing. One of my earliest memories is from the age of about 3, performing as one of the littlest angels in the church Christmas pageant (the specific memory is of getting yelled at by my big sister for dropping the back of my robe in the toilet, but that’s beside the point). My first “big” role was playing Mabel in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance in sixth grade. Since then, I’ve played every character from an amnesiac nun to a Nazi-sympathizing prostitute to a grumpy stepsister to a tomboyish princess to an Irish mum to a feisty union rep. I’ve made entrances posed on a bed in my underwear, through a gym locker, and dripping wet. I’ve been hit on by puppets and sailors, I’ve had knives thrown at me, I’ve been tossed in the air by a bunch of teenage boys. Over the course of time, I’ve expanded into backstage and production work as well, designing costumes, running crew, assisting with set design, dressing actors, selling tickets. And I’ve loved it all. 

Doing theatre, for me, is a source of satisfaction and relaxation. And isn’t that the whole reason to have a hobby?

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