Camelot is one of my all-time favorite shows. The Lerner & Loewe score. The timeless story of people striving for an ideal that can't survive amid their messy, human lives. The love triangle. OH! That love triangle!!
I'm currently in rehearsals for Camelot at Lyric Stage in Irving, TX. It's my third time doing the show. My first Guenevere. Those who know me well, know that I have a list of "dream roles" that I started when I was a child: all the roles Julie Andrews has ever played on stage or screen. Period. Luckily for me, most of her musical films have been turned into stage musicals, so I don't have to be uber-famous and/or wait for someone to re-make a few iconic movies to accomplish this dream. (I hope). I got to check one off the list a few years ago, when I played Milie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie in California. That's one of those roles that, if someone would let me, I would play it for 10 years. I love it that much! I've had to let go of a few of her characters...I'm too old and too tall for The Boyfriend or Cinderella, unless it's at some huge outdoor venue where most of the audience can't tell the ingenue is pushing 40... Although I just read an article in the NYTimes where Melissa Errico talks about playing the ingenue at 46, and she reminds us (news to me, actually) that Mary Martin was 46 when she originated the role of Maria in The Sound of Music! Maybe I shouldn't count myself out just yet...
But Jenny (Guenevere)... We open next weekend, and I'm not very good, yet. I hope to be, but by my standards-what I expect from myself...I have a long way to go. How wonderfully complex she is! We see her go from 18 -- young, reckless, with all the trepidation of a young woman being sent into an arranged marriage, to 23 -- a young queen, who loves her husband dearly, but feels stifled in her everyday life, and falls passionately in love with someone else...but whose sense of duty and honor and, yes, love, prevents her from leaving her king to follow her heart... She chooses to live in torment, day in and day out, for years. Torn between her love of two men.
Strangely, I think I understood her better when I was a bit younger. A bit more reckless with my passion and less regard for the pain I caused others in pursuit of it. Finding a way to tap into that part of me, that part of my past, has led to copious amounts of weeping through scenes, singing through tears, and frustration with myself for doing so! I know I have to go through that to find the balance of believability and technique, but man! I have shed a lot of tears the past two weeks!!
I guess Lerner and Loewe knew that when they wrote "Before I gaze at you again, I'll need a time for tears..."