Monday, April 18, 2011

Greasepaint in the Veins

Age 5: Small child in Curious Savage.

Be it good or bad, my son grew up with greasepaint in his veins. We spent hours on the stage at the local high school. My children grew up with young actors and actresses, painting scenery, building sets and endless rehearsals and shows. After homework, the kids joined in making the stage their home.

They really couldn't get away from it. I was writing and producing social dramas working with the schools and community. The kids both acted in the shows. When my children were older, I was acting and teaching as well. They were raised in a different type of home.

My son had theatre in his blood from childhood on. His grandfathers singing voice was handed on to him. James went on from Northwestern to perform, living the ups and downs of an actor. He curses his life and loved it as well. Finally, he landed an national tour and met his bride.

Tonight is the first onstage workshop reading of a musical he has written called The Dance. Once more he is putting himself out there to experience acceptance or criticism. I am in awe of my son and his silent strength.

His struggles have been mine as well. I have had to be the silent strength that has followed his career. My fears have were pushed aside and the strength of a mother taking its place. From early on, I sat through vocal contests, watching my son share his voice with an audience. Often I was so nervous I thought I would be sick, but I thrilled at his courage and his voice that always amazes me.
Over the years, he has become a survivor of the disappointments and has found his successes. His voice has lured many to his shows. He has become a name known in the area for his talent. The silent strength is now the silent support. Not as easy as it might sound. I'm a parent. Parents protect. Being silent has not always been my forte. If he fails, if he stumbles, I can no longer make it better with a mother's kiss. I can no longer pick up the child, hug him and give him an ice cream cone to make the owie better. He is an adult.

Tonight my son will present a show he has written. The music and lyrics are those of a talent from Chicago. This is her debut as well. As I did many years before, I will sit in an audience watching the faces of those around me, silently praying that all goes well. I will be his silent support.

Tonight is not just a show. No, it is a gift that has been handed down from generations before. It is a song that must be sung. It is the greasepaint in the veins.


  1. Is the meaning of greasepaint in the veins the same as say showbiz in the blood?

  2. It is indeed! There is something that flows within us that perhaps has many names, but we cannot deny it for it sings to be free. Lucky are those who sing the song. Thank you for your comment. Made me smile.

  3. I appreciate your response. I recently was a part of a musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, and that was one of the lines I did not understand, but after reading your article it made a lot more sense.

  4. Keep up pursuing your dream. There is nothing like standing on a stage in front of an audience and feeling that energy pass through you. Embrace your dreams.