Friday, June 22, 2007

It's been exactly a year since I stepped on stage as Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, a completely unexpected, life changing adventure--one I never in a million years could have anticipated. This post on feels like a good way to mark the occasion--Kristin Hersch, formerly of the band Throwing Muses, talks about how the late Betty Hutton, who played Annie Oakley in the film version of the musical, was her best friend in college (another thing I never could have anticipated, given their multiple-decade age difference!)
"Why do we entertain?" [Betty] would ask — and then answer herself — "to make people happy!" She said this all the time. I didn't think I made anyone very happy by playing and I told her that. "Well, you do scream a great deal don't you? Which isn't very nice. But that's the style these days. And they jump around when you play. I think that means they're happy. So you gotta show them that you love them back. You gotta earn their love."

I couldn't tell her that I wasn't trying to earn love, that I was trying to own violence. I couldn't tell her this because it would have sounded as pretentious then as it does now. So I said, "I play to make the math work".

"Oh! Like tap dancing!" Betty was so beautiful.
Being in Annie Get Your Gun helped me own so many parts of myself (including the violent part, since I had to wield rifles and push people around. I finally have a dvd of the show; if I can find a way to do so, I'll post a little snippet of it.)

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