An Introverted Actress

The Magic of a Musical


As I stood on the platform, a gentleman inside a train looked at me in the eyes and did not look away. Filled with three double measures of gin on an empty growling belly, I did not anxiously, nervously, Britishly avert my gaze. Instead, drunk on a cocktail of confidence, laced with arrogance, a splash of self love and garnished with a cheeky sprig of “why the hell not?”…I stared back. I kept my eyes open and simply waited until he was done seeing in me whatever he was seeing. I had nothing to hide nor did I have anything to show and so if he was going to look, I was going to let him but I was going to look right back, if it was all the same to him. Safe to say, he averted his gaze after a healthy seven seconds but I continued to look. As the train pulled away, he glanced back to see that, yes, I was still staring and I was going to keep staring until he was well and truly through the Baker Street tunnel and out of sight. 

Mollie Melia Redgrave and I ready to see Sweet Charity

After my new found friend was gone, I stood with my legs hip-width apart, power-stanced on the platform, a filled rucksack on my shoulders, my favourite coat (that’s in need of a good dry-clean) swishing by my knees and a freshly opened Coke Zero in my hand. I felt that in that moment, I could do anything. I could conquer the world ten times over. I was a mystery with my heart on my sleeve. An understood enigma. A woman who knew no bounds and yet knew her limits. Completely ready to charge at a moments notice and yet as tranquil as a zen garden. The oncoming train felt like a royal carriage and although a little worried about the dwindling charge on my phone in my pocket, tonight the universe was on my side and I would certainly find a way home! 

And do you know where this had all come from? GIN!, you cry, GIN! And you may just be right. But I’m inclined to say it was because…I had just seen a musical. Tonight, as I write this, I went to see Sweet Charity at the Donmar but not just any performance. The final performance. Any musical has heightened emotions but the final night is not for the faint hearted. During the second act, I could feel my soul filling up to the brim and I knew it was only moments away from spilling over. I braced myself. Very quickly and very suddenly, the cocktail poured over like a chocolate fountain pours over strawberries and marshmallows. Not to mention, I had two friends in the cast who I was insanely proud of and could feel their sadness and mourning of the loss of another show, from my seat in the stalls. I felt everything and nothing all at once and I’ve floated on that feeling all the way home to where I sit now in bed with a portion of chips in a bowl on my lap (brilliant idea, Fletcher). 

Musicals are magic, I swear it. Whether you’re in one or see one, no matter what, you take a piece of it home with you and unwittingly share it with everyone you meet from then on. I come home and text my dearest friends and tell them all I miss them and what they mean to me. I text Oliver and tell him he's all I've ever wanted. I text my mum...mainly because she’ll kick my arse if I don’t tell her I’ve got home safely but mainly to say goodnight and that I love her (and dad, too, although he’ll be snoring very, really quite very loudly next to her). Nothing fills me up like a musical. It never has and it never will. It has been my first love since I was three and every time I go to the theatre it’s like I’m saying my vows all over again. It’s not a guilty pleasure. It’s a very loud and proud, shout it from the rooftops type of pleasure that I will never, never, never, ever have quite enough of. 








4 comments

  1. This was beautifully written, Carrie! And not for nothing, there is such power in staring down a man who thinks he's in charge when he's looking at you. We should all do it more often!

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  2. You put it into words Carrie 😭 Most of my colleagues can't understand for the life of them why theatre sets my soul alight the way it does but I'm so glad to have people like you to look up to who get it like I do 💛💛

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  3. Yes, yes, yes. That's exactly what musicals make me feel like to. Such a beautiful way to start and finish a post, it felt like a flash-fiction, that is what life is after all though, without the fiction part. Little snippets of our lives sometimes stick with us and stand out more than others, but they're all to be treasured.
    <3
    ~Lu D.

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