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My first memorable performance was in church. I was a baby. All I had to do was wave my frilly panties (from the diaper bag) in time to the organ music behind my parent’s back and I got big laughs from the rest of the congregation. The die was cast.

Later as a little girl with blonde ringlets and dressed in red velvet dress I sang and…. sang at a music festival. I sang even though the accompanist had stopped playing. When asked by the adjudicator why I sang the whole song over again I gave my reason based on my opinion of the notation of the music. I had no idea what I was talking about but it cracked the judges up. I was beginning to know the value of improvisation.

My big break came in Grade One when chosen to play Mary in the Christmas Nativity play at school. It was the part of a lifetime. I wore a white and silver shawl and was backlit with a gooseneck lamp from the teacher’s desk. I didn’t really notice how heavy it was snowing during the school day. When the call came that the play was cancelled due to the blizzard I couldn’t believe it. My hubris had gotten the better of me and I learned to suffer for my art.

As I went through school I enjoyed public speaking because of the reactions of the other students but I seemed to get a rise out of a few staff members. Being so quiet as a rule I enjoyed these moments of notoriety. However in university I didn’t sing,write, dance or crack jokes as I was trying to figure life out. Life can stop you in your tracks.

When I finally got in front of my own class I found my best audience. With the daily teaching responsibilities I also found a wonderful outlet for creative energy. My most memorable moment ever was during a spontaneous and goofy Halloween puppet show I was doing for my class. I was well into character channelling Vincent Price as a charming black bat when a little autistic boy in my class got the giggles and was rolling hysterically on the floor. It was like getting an academy award.

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Filed under humour, teaching, theatre, writing

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