Welcome back to the theatre.

If waiting twelve years to come back to theatre meant I’d get to meet everyone who I met, it was well worth the wait. I fully believe that timing is everything, and everything happens for a reason. 

I attempted to come back to the theatre about 3 years ago, but I ended up being way too busy. However, this year I decided it was time. I was on the search for something that was missing from my life. I went to the auditions, stuck around even when I wasn’t required to be there, worked when I needed to and stuck it out every single rehearsal and every single performance. This was certainly the missing piece to my life’s puzzle.

Working with the Gulfport Community Players has easily become one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, especially when a passion so deep has become ignited once again with the most desirable fire. I was a little afraid in the beginning that I wasn’t going to be good enough to help (because of my long absence) but that was far from the truth. I even ended up being the announcer for the cast calls at the end of each act. Saying “Thank you and a final good night” had a deeper meaning than anyone could imagine. I blew out my candle (thank you) / until next time (final good night). 

Everything came back to me from the days in my junior year when I was in Bye-Bye Birdie and helping behind the scenes with The Real Inspector Hound in my senior year. The inside jokes, the whispers behind stage when something doesn’t go right, the little things that tickled our funny bone during the performances, the hard work that goes into making something so wonderful, the crazy cast parties that automatically come with the ending of a show, and last but not least, the family you become during the process.

My heart was porcelain yesterday for the last performance. The sound was like antique tea cups accidentally being dropped after cleaning them. 

All of these years I’ve been sticking with real life because I’ve believe the truth of it being stranger than fiction. But there’s something important that I had forgotten—with “fiction” you can write anything you want. Being in such a creative setting around some amazing positive energy from everyone has inspired me to pick up a pen once again, and I am writing. Hallelujah! The “everyone from my past has called me a writer but I’m still not sure about that” is actually writing.  

A few comments about the plays…

For Catatonic, the cat had two names, and finally, ended up being called Cat. I once adopted an outdoor cat, striped her of her previous names and called her Cat.

Home Again reminded me of when my parents and I went to my grandma’s old town and to see her house years later after she passed away. My mom asked to see the house, but after seeing it the first time when it was changed, I refused to go back in because I didn’t want my memories of the way my grandma had her house to be erased.

Confession time: Immersion Therapy No one knows this, but I don’t really like clowns, either. and NOT for the reason in the play (hahaha)… The only clown I ever liked was Stitches from Halloween in Gulfport. However, Dropo was an amazing clown, FUNNY(!!!) and I give him two thumbs up for a great performance…..and for also not scaring me.

I might be biased, I might not, and I also might be giving a compliment that’ll make someone’s head not be able to fit through the door, but…. I will publicly display my love over and over for Retired Life. Here’s why: it was intelligently written with subtle hints. Point blank.

When I was watching the plays all the way through for the first time, for the ones that weren’t straight forward, I guessed all the way through the plot and at least half the ending. But Retired Life? Oh no. There are very few and far between stories that I don’t guess (also another reason I have stayed away from fiction for many years), and this was definitely one of them.

I was literally screaming in my mind, “Oh. Wow. I can’t. I just can’t. What the hell just happened here?!?! That was so unexpected. I didn’t guess that one. A writer who stumped me AND one who drops hints in things like I do….” 

So, yeah. There you have it. Over as quickly as it began. There’s no business like show business….

I want to say a big huge thank you to everyone for the cards/gifts, for the hugs, for sharing the wing with [us], for the smiles, for pretending to be shocked when you found out I’m almost 30 (ha!), for writing in my dream journal and giving me lots of hope for tomorrow. For everything. And, for making me really, really stable at the cast party—hahahah! 

I love this world, and I cannot believe I left it. I cannot believe that I walked out on something I loved for so much and for so long those twelve years ago. If there was ever a first dream—it would be to be a writer (then music and theatre)—and I’ve given up so much to put myself in another dream bubble for what I thought I needed or wanted, when all along all I had to do to make this move. This weekend I finally burst that bubble, crawled outside it, and I’m peeking in my own window. I’m wondering what took me so long, how much work it’s going to be and what I’ve got to do to stick to my dreams… because I’ve spoken to a lot of you who said you wish you did this earlier.

From someone who has always followed her own path, the road less traveled, I am ready to succeed in this. I am ready for this thing we call show business. I am ready to be a show girl.

Joining the theatre was my last real achievable goal before I turned 30. If I get nothing else, I will still be completely satisfied. 

Love always & forever,
Karen Maeby 

PS if you didn’t read my poem about the Summer One Acts click here.