This is Catherine Segars, That Drama Girl, and today I want to tell you a story about how God loves to take those dreams that we thought were dead and buried and breathe life into them again.
That Drama Girl.
I fell in love with acting in college. It was an accident, really. An elaborate practical joke that lasted far longer than I ever thought it would.
God saw fit to put me in a shoe-box of a dorm room with Beth Grabensteddar, a true kindred-spirit if ever there was. We were yin and yang, Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro, or more like a couple of bumbling Brits galloping across the countryside clumping coconuts together, if you want to be really specific.
We were an eccentric comedic duo that made a lot of people scratch their heads. Because of our passion for Monty Python, Beth and I quickly discovered that we could both do a pretty plausible British accent, at least for a Christian college in the foothills of East Tennessee. Not a high bar there. Huh-uh.
So that first week of school we told everyone we met that we were exchange students from across the big pond. Two weeks later, we were still carrying on the ruse, and feeling just a bit guilty. We never thought it would last that long. Seriously, we thought for sure someone would figure us out. But they didn’t. We were better than we thought.
When exactly does a practical joke become a lie? I’m not sure, but we might have been flirting with that line. Hard. The irony and ethical implications of fibbing to every person you meet, on a Christian campus no less, did not escape us.
Finally, one day some guy asked, “So what is God doing in the English church?”
Oh, good gravy! Which, by the way, is a food group where we actually come from. Hellfire and damnation were certainly awaiting us if we answered that question with anything other than the God’s honest truth. I’m talkin’ about a Numbers 26 kind of earthquake that parts the terra firma and swallows us whole. Mmm-hmm.
That . . . is when we came clean and told everybody that it was all a big hoax. We were southerners through and through, born and bred on collard greens and corn fritters. Yes sir’ee.
There were some gasps. Lots of “No ways!” followed by some genuine laughter. Thankfully.
Then one dude pipes up: “You guys should try out for the play!”
“The play. What play?” I asked in my real accent.
Apparently, the college had just acquired a new theater professor and auditions were being held for the fall production.
And just like that, the trajectory of my entire life changed with a single suggestion from a complete stranger. I don’t know why I had never considered the theater before. It was so obvious, and yet I hadn’t. That moment is enshrined in my memory in surreal slow motion. It was just like one of those old, technicolor movies where somebody says, “Hey everybody, we’ve got a barn out back. Let’s put on a play!”
And they do. And I did, try out for the play, that is.
Oh my stars! That first taste of adrenaline from a live audience was all it took and I was hooked. I became infatuated with all things theatrical. Spent every spare minute I could find on the stage and earned the nickname “that drama girl” on my college campus. Not everyone knew my name, but they knew I had a dramatic flair.
After college I went on to graduate school and studied performing arts, and I spent a dozen years acting, writing, singing, and improvising professionally in theaters all over Hampton Roads, VA.
And then . . .
I moved to New York and I won a Tony Award for my refreshing portrayal of Millie Dillmount in the Broadway hit show Thoroughly Modern Millie. Uh-huh, and I wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning play entitled, The Dream that Never Was.
Yeah. That never happened. The part about New York, the Tony Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. The other stuff did. Totally legit.
Actually, I did perform on Broadway, though. Once. But I found the oncoming traffic to be incredibly distracting, and more than one taxi driver was flat out rude. Apparently New Yorkers prefer their theater inthe theater, not on the street. Like I was supposed to know that. Whatever.
No . . . I never did fulfill some of my theatrical dreams, the ones that take place in the Big Apple under the big lights. Instead, God called me to form my own acting troupe, creating five little productions who look a lot like my husband and me. Yeah, God called me to motherhood. Full-time. Now most of the drama in my life takes place in the context of my maternal journal.
But . . . I still love to act, love to write, love to sing, and love to improvise.
So, I’ve created this blogcast, a hybrid of a blog and podcast, where I dip my toes back in the performance world from the comfort of my own home, while my young-uns paint graffiti art on each other’s appendages and set off homemade explosives in the background.
My stories have to do with faith and family, creativity and culture, laughter, loss, and most of all, doing what you were put on this planet to do. Some of my stories are serious. Some are sweet and silly. Some are in-between. So put your Goldilocks on and check them out, cuz somethin’s bound to fit.
I’d love to share my stories with you.
I’d love to join you while you wash some dishes, take a jog, drive to work, or just kick back with a cup of coffee and listen to a friend tell you about a wacky journey that ended up taking her where she never wanted to go, a place far more domesticated than she ever imagined. And yet, there’s no place she’d rather be.
That doesn’t mean my girlish aspirations are dead. Nope. They’ve just been dormant for a decade and a half while I birthed some other incredible dreams.
Do you have any latent dreams that linger still in the recesses of your heart and mind? Maybe it’s time to resurrect them. Maybe it’s time to do something crazy with late-late nights or the wee hours of your morning. Maybe it’s time to be that someone you were always meant to be. Might not come to pass the way you thought it would, but I’m betting, if you give it a go, it will be even better.
Sometimes life takes place on a different stage than the one we envisioned, but it will exceed our wildest expectations if, in the words of one of Nashville’s finest theologians, we let Jesus take the wheel.
There’s still plenty of drama in my life. I’m still That Drama Girl, mmm-hmmm. Only with a few more lbs. and laugh lines. But my dreams are as young as they ever were.
So, pull up a chair and let me tell you about the time I . . .
Tune in next week to hear the rest of that story.
Until then this is Catherine Segars, That Drama Girl, signing off for now.
Never. Stop. Dreaming.
Special thanks to Paul Secord, my old acting chum, for creating this incredible theme music for me. You’re the best, Mr. Green. Love always, Miss Scarlett.