I’ve read that the best way to re-integrate into your home culture is to get involved with your community.
What better way to do that than to get involved in community theater. You never know who you will meet, what you will learn, or what to expect. Performing in Shrek The Musical has allowed me to meet people that I would have probably never met.
It has also has really hit a nerve with me. There have been nights when after returning home from rehearsal I would just cry. I’m not angry at anyone. It’s just that the message of this play brings back bad memories.
Lesson one. Don’t be afraid to face your fears.
I suffer from psoriasis which is the accelerated shedding of skin. Normal human beings shed skin every thirty days. I can shed mine in three. (I think I got you beat…).
I am a freak.
I have been stared at many times over. I get children whispering behind my back asking their mommies what is wrong with my skin. I’ve even been kicked out of a public swimming pool because of a tiny blemish on my right ankle.
I keep reminding myself that people fear what they don’t know. So let me make it clear. Psoriasis is not contagious. You can’t get it from hugging me or swimming in the same pool with me. As a performer who is playing a freak I keep asking myself; how can I incorporate my own personal shortcomings into my character? How can I bring my freakiness into Fairy God Mother’s personality? If a musical like this can have such a profound effect on me as a performer then think of the message we present to the audience especially to the children of our community. Our job is to say to our keiki, “you may fear what is out there, but it’s going to be okay.”
My challenge to the cast is to think of a time when you were treated like a freak or when you treated someone else as a freak. Incorporate that into your characters. It will hurt. But if someone from the audience says “thank you” it will be worth it.