All The World’s A Stage: Try Everything!
Published on: March 09, 2020
Being a mom of a little kid is not a reason to give up on something your heart desires. Hanae Matsumura is mom to a 2-year-old one and tells her story about how she is following her passion for performing.
By Hanae Matsumura
Last year, I auditioned for an English opera production by Bangkok Community Theatre, “The Essential Marriage of Figaro,” and fortunately I got a role in it.
Bangkok Community Theatre (BCT), is the largest English-language community theatre group in Thailand. BCT recruits cast members for every production through open auditions, regardless of the participant’s nationality or mother tongue.
I joined the audition, got a role, and worked hard by immersing myself in it. And things haven’t exactly gone smoothly as I have a son who is going through the “terrible twos.” The rehearsals are conducted on weekday evenings and on holidays, when nurseries are closed. For me, the first big challenge in joining this project was to find a nanny who could work during the rehearsals.
Fortunately, I found a nanny faster than I expected. It was largely due to receiving contacts for some nannies through my other activities in Bangkok. From this experience alone, I can say everything is connected!
However, I had to exert all my courage to send the audition application form because of my “mental barrier.” What was it? I think this is a concept that is shared by many mothers and our society at large. “Mothers should be good mothers – they should stay at home and be with their children in the evenings and on holidays. And it is normal for mothers to have some restrictions for doing what they like,” and so on.
Despite all those obstacles, however, I could not stop feeling that this was a big chance for me to jump into a new horizon for my singing and acting career. So far, I have only joined all-Japanese or mostly-Japanese groups. So, despite the hesitation, I stepped forward to follow my instinct.
Once the rehearsals commenced, the biggest challenge turned out to be the language.
“ What are you struggling with?”
“English, English, English.”
I answer with a Hamlet-like pondering face if anyone asks me. Most cast members are native English speakers and I cannot attain the same accuracy and speed of response (in response to instructions or to express my feelings) in English, let alone the pronunciation. I have to make efforts to improve my English on top of learning the music and words and approaching my character’s role. Plus, I am juggling other performances within my Japanese communities and other volunteer work.
And my son? Oh, he’s with the nanny, playing…But naturally, I love my son and want to spend as much time as possible with him. He is learning a lot of words these days. It’s a crucial time for his development and I want to be with him to provide learning and emotional support as much as possible.
There are times in our life when we need to deal with multiple tasks that are equally important at the same time. But we cannot wait for the perfect time to do something. Life is unpredictable. None of us is living the same way we had expected 10 years ago and no one can tell exactly how they will be living in 10 years time. We can only focus on what we can do and want to do now. Try everything and get the most out of the opportunities. This is my motto.
I am not a perfect person who can do everything with limitless energy and patience. Sometimes I get too tired to do anything or get upset because of my disorganized to-do list. If so, it’s time to put everything aside and just relax with a glass of wine or some chocolate…
Then I recharge my energy and serenity to get back to the rehearsals. I feel revitalized amongst the diversely talented team members. Meeting different talents is one of the reasons I continue to participate in theatre. Then I say to myself, “it’s not at all bad, joining this project is meaningful for me.”
So the rehearsals continue …and by the time you read this article, the performances will be underway. We will perform on 6, 7, 13 and 14 March 2020. It’s a casual version of the famous opera “The Marriage of Figaro (Il Nozze di Figaro)” composed by W.A. Mozart. All songs and dialogue are in English while the original is in Italian. (In the original opera, there is no dialogue but to make it short and simple, we inserted dialogue). The show is even accompanied by a buffet dinner at the British Club! It’s aimed at adults and teenagers but suits everyone including those who are not familiar with opera and classical music. If you come and experience this fun and feisty feast, I’m sure you will be freed from your earthly, daily duties with the help of Mozart’s heavenly music! I hope you can also find a moment to rediscover yourself.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players;” wrote Shakespeare. If we are all players, I’d like to play my life to the fullest and enjoy the stage from the start through to the final curtain.
Photo courtesy of Bangkok Community Theatre.
About the Author
Hanae is a genreless singer/actress and a mother of a 2-year-old son who moved to Bangkok from her home country of Japan in 2017. In Bangkok, she continues following her passion for singing and acting while volunteering for several community organizations, including BAMBI.
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