Like all 30-something women who are not dead, I am a fan of Glee. The music, the high-school hijinks, the whole thing just represents perfect television escapism. But something has bothered me from the very beginning. There are only a few stars on the Glee show choir. Rachel, Kurt, the loveable lunkhead whose name is totally escaping me. Even Puck, whose actor has a music career outside of the show, is generally relegated to chorus parts.
See, in life, I think part of me has always aspired to have the lead role. To be the top, to carry the show. But life's reality, as I've lamented about in my core story and perils of being a generalist posts, is often different than whatever my aspirations or expectations might have been. Not that this is a bad thing, because none of my whole parenting experience fit with my vision of my life as a parent, but my children changed me in beautiful ways and helped me become a different, better, more important me, I think. This is a very good thing. And I'm not a center-of-attention girl, I get self-conscious sometimes, I don't always want the pressure of having something interesting or important to say. I blush easily.
But for my kids? Don't I want them to shine? To be the star? To be the kids that everyone else is talking about? Their school is preparing a play for all kids in grades 4 and under. Each of my children has a role they'd like to have, they've been talking about it for days. Both have exceptionally good memories, so in my world this means they should aspire to have big parts, lots of speaking lines, because memorizing the lines will be cake to them. And then they can shine. And be the stars. Right?
Uh. They don't need to be the stars. We're not "starry" people, much. I mean, each has their moments of hamming it up with friends and family, and each has some comfort and confidence in a group - both are features I treasure because it took me quite a long time in my youth to come out of my shell enough to do either of those kinds of things. But they don't need to be the stars.
Because, you see, without the chorus, Rachel's notes just hang in the air. Kurt's voice is like nails on a chalkboard. And loveable lunkhead sounds thready and misty, one upper respiratory infection away from anihilation. The chorus rounds them out, fills up the sound, builds the background so that Rachel can break away with the melody and take our breath away.
And every so often, one of the other kids gets a solo.
I find myself wondering if in life, like musical-show-choir-based-television-shows, the role of the chorus is more than just the role of the background, but rather the build-up, the support, the structure of the whole. That was certainly the role of the Greek Chorus.
Among other things, the wikipedia article states:
In many of these plays, the chorus expressed to the audience what the main characters could not say, such as their hidden fears or secrets. The chorus often provided other characters with the insight they need.
So, shouldn't us backgrounders be satisfied with our roles in the background, with occasional forays into solo parts and center stage responsibility? What about you? Are you a member of the chorus, or do you play one of the leads? Are you comfortable in that role? Have you ever wondered if you were mis-cast?
Are we all waiting for our solos?