How to quell your inner diva

I didn't always have a diva.

I prided myself on being the calm one in shows. The one who followed instructions, knew her entrances, learned her lines early on. I was the one who rolled with the punches, leaned on the expertise of the music and tech crews, and all-around didn't fuss.

But then I joined Hexagon, at a time in my life when I had many other unusual stresses buffeting my ordered world. And amid the chaos, my inner diva made herself known.

I don't know if my castmates see her. I hope they don't; I'm trying to rein her in. But I know she's there. I feel her itching beneath the dance tights and clawing through my makeup, clamoring for attention.

The thing is, I can't -- won't -- indulge her. She doesn't seem to understand that this is a transition year for the theater troupe. The space, logistics, and schedules are new to everyone, even the diehard Hexagon vets. We're all feeling/singing/dancing our way through this strange new world. It is no time or place for divas.

I keep telling her this. Because I know that restraints can foster innovation, and we can get the same or better result if we accept our new parameters, stay flexible, and simply deal. Exhibits A, B, and C: the cool modular set design, portable dressing rooms, and base costumes.

I do recognize we can't replace certain elements, like having an orchestra pit, fly space, or permanent storage facilities. But though it's a shame not to have them this year, I say to her, look at all the cool ways we're solving the problems. Look how many people are putting extra time and effort into making this a success. What a testament to our organization's commitment!

She doesn't like that. She wants more dressing room space. Nor is she terribly fond of prancing around in skin-tight leotards for three big scenes, with thighs, rear, and other jiggly bits on display for 200 patrons every night for 23 shows.

Well, that's tough, inner diva. You were cast in these roles and others because the director believed you could sell it. For once in your life, you were considered cute enough -- dare I say, sexy enough -- to be a believable Kate Moss or Playboy Bunny. Suck it in up, and enjoy the exhibitionist ride!

Besides, all the acting, singing, dancing, and even handling some stage crew duties gives me a great appreciation for people who do any one of those really, really well. You've learned so much about what you can handle. After all, you've never been in a show where 17 cast members achieved a full-out, original musical. Look around you, I say to my diva -- this is creativity at its purest and finest!

I choose to regard her petulant silence as tacit agreement.

Because let's be honest. I don't care what she thinks. We're one night away from opening, and my excitement is through the roof. Soon we'll have an audience laughing at the jokes, absorbing the lyrics, appreciating all the hard work and time and energy our entire organization has poured into this production.

THIS is the right way to feed an ego, I tell my diva. It's not about dressing rooms or personal costuming. It's about sharing your talents with the world and bringing a little more laughter to these bleak days.

Hmm. The itching has gone down. Perhaps she was listening more closely than I thought. Good timing -- I have a show to do!

Photo by Kristi Lady