Tales from the Stage: The Grand Exit of Princess Grace

I have a reputation for being somewhat- how shall I say it?…okay, klutzy. Ridiculously so at times. It’s not something I’m proud of, and the older I get the more I seem to be refining my ‘graceful’ skills. My clumsiness has manifested itself as everything from a simple trip-over-nothing to a full-blown broken ankle; it doesn’t help that I have large Tennessee mountain feet, nor that I wear my reading glasses most of the time. Normally these moments go unnoticed by the world, but sometimes…well, sometimes I make a big, emotionally scarring splash. My motto? You might as well laugh at yourself.

The most epic moments have happened on stage, some in the relative obscurity of rehearsals, but others have been epic moments in front of large audiences- such as the mortifying time when I attempted to quietly exit the stage carrying a bass clarinet, clarinet, and instrument stands during the conductors comments and accidentally bumped into the chimes. Chimes are so not quiet. Or the time when I tried to quickly leave the stage at a huge outdoor concert and nearly took down the French horn section’s music stands. My stomach still contracts and nervous giggles bubble up when I think of that one…It’s always safer when I’m seated…

There was the time when I made my first entrance at my faculty recital in beautiful new tapestry heels. I was so proud of those shoes, especially as I so rarely wear anything above a ballet flat (for obvious reasons). I even practiced walking in them. Three steps onto the stage with the audience applauding loudly and I stepped right out of one of the shoes. <huge eye roll>

I made it two hours in these babies before abandoning them for my Sketchers the other day…

I’ve tripped over the hems of long evening gowns walking on stage (I’m still in awe that I didn’t trip over the train of my wedding gown when I was young- a major victory), and knocked music off of the stand as I walked by. I’ve tripped over invisible obstacles on carpet and have walked into walls while carrying on a conversation with someone…unfortunately one of those times took place during my interview visit to UAB. I guess they went ahead and hired me as comic relief.With my Amicitia Duo partner and BFF, Diane.

The latest experience happened at a recent symphony rehearsal. I only played the first piece, and as I attempted to quickly leave the crowded stage (the only one who had to leave), I tripped over my heavy metal clarinet peg, making a huge kerthunk! There were giggles around me and the conductor looked tickled and told me to take my time. Nothing like holding up rehearsal and feeling the eye rolls from the brass section. Lord. The harpist and the percussion section looked panicked as I headed their way to the stage door and cleared a path for me. I turned the deepest shade of red…

I try so hard to be careful, to be graceful and lady-like. I remind myself to slow down and savor the moment, to watch where- and how- I’m stepping. None of it seems to matter, though. I suppose I might as well embrace my Princess Grace-ness and wear it proudly. And, hey- as long as I can laugh at myself and make others laugh a bit, what’s a little emotional scarring?

6 thoughts on “Tales from the Stage: The Grand Exit of Princess Grace

  1. Such a charming way you have of expressing your adorable “human-ness”! Your ability to balance humor with things that can seem so traumatic at the time is such a talent! I so enjoy your chronicles that express the gamut of emotions as your writings continue to unfold. Thank you again for sharing the “moments of your life” that make us feel. This blog post is a great blend of “been there, felt that, wasn’t pleasant at the time” with comic hilarity! Heartfelt literary masterpieces!

  2. This reminded of my sister. She could trip over air! We all took ballet lessons in an effort to be more graceful and coordinated. It didn’t work… I don’t think she owns any heels any more!!

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