This fall, the Harvard Law Drama society is putting on a musical, Kiss of the Spider Woman. If you have never read the book or play, I'll give you a quick synopsis: The story takes place in the 1970s, in an unidentified Latin American prison. Molina, the main character, is serving an eight year sentence for "corrupting a minor." But in essence, he is in prison because he is a homosexual. To escape the horrible prison conditions (including torture and general abuse from the guards), Molina fantasizes about being cared for by his favorite actress, Aurora, who starred in all of these fabulous productions when he was a child. One day, Molina gets a new cellmate, Valentin, who is a political prisoner. Valentin is being tortured so that he will surrender the names of his political accomplices. The story is about friendship, escapist fantasies, love, betrayal and death. So all in all, pretty heavy stuff, though there are some laugh-out-loud quips from Molina from time to time, and the writing is quickly paced and interesting.
I auditioned for said musical knowing there were only three female parts (all of which included much singing), but I was assured that there were very substantial prisoner guard and Warden roles which did not require solos and would not be limited to men. So I was hopeful to still get a meaty part, despite the fact that I do not have the strongest voice of the women I knew to be auditioning.
And then I was cast. Third dancing prisoner from the right. I may also double as another character for a tiny scene, although this will not be confirmed until this evening at the first read-through when they work out the doubles once and for all. I am disappointed, I won't lie. I don't even consider it bragging to say that I am a good actress. Objectively, I am a good actress, and I am disappointed that this is my last opportunity to really act while at Harvard (I will not take on a large role in the Spring Parody, because I am directing it and I do not think the role of the Director is to star in the production) and it is being used as a dancing prisoner.
But before I get too mopey, I must remember that a quick Google search of the prisoners in this production reveals that they have a song in the opening scene, and they double as orderlies in the prison infirmary and as servants in one of Molina's fantasies. And there are 9 prisoners in the original play, but only 5 cast in the Harvard version, so I am sure to have at least one line. And probably two or three. And when you take into account that I am going to double as an extra character, well, I'm up to ten lines.
So I will act my heart out as third dancing prisoner from the right. The world has never seen a dancing prisoner so convincing as I! My prisoner will evoke so much angst and heartbreak and hopefulness in the face of despair as to bring tears to your eyes, even if all I do is sit in the background and moan. My moans will be the moans of justice denied and faith abandoned!