Die, Vampire, Die!
This is blog post #6 from me so by now I’d like to think we’re all good friends and we’re at that point in our relationship where we have a sleepover and tell each other secrets all night. So I’m going to level with you guys. I have had a rough couple of days. Nothing crazy, I’m totally fine, just a combination of an incredible amount of schoolwork combined with some personal drama – and on top of all of that, I find that every day, someone is asking me my plans for when I graduate college in May. No pressure or anything, just saying “I really want to work in theatre, either in a marketing, PR, or producing role, but I won’t know who’s hiring for a while,” tends to terrify me more every time I say it, especially as I watch friends apply to graduate schools that often come with a set-for-life guarantee. It’s all really knocked me down emotionally, mentally, and a little bit physically.
Does it ever blow your mind how healing musical theatre can be?
I immersed myself in [title of show] today and something clicked. Someone’s there. I’m going to pull myself together and be okay. I really think a cast album can cure you if you let it. When you’re listening to a score you love so much, it’s yours. Sure, that’s possessive and creepy if you overthink it, but I think it rings true. I’ve been feeling lost and hurt and it’s so tempting to throw myself a pity party and downward spiral into those thoughts, but then on a whim I started listening to “Die, Vampire, Die!”
It’s a song I’ve listened to about a hundred times. It describes how to handle personal demons (here called vampires) while trying to find yourself and express yourself creatively. All of a sudden, lines resonated with me in a way they hadn’t before.
“Shakespeare, Sondheim, and Sedaris did it before you and better than you. Or they [the vampires] might say you cannot sing good enough to be in musical…to keep that song from you! Just tell them: die, vampire, die!”
Yes. That’s exactly how I feel. What if I don’t achieve my dreams? Why can’t I be someone who’s better, more naturally gifted, who finds their place in the world of theatre sooner? Sure, logically I understand that everyone has their own pace, that everyone is at one point the newbie, as Jennifer Ashley Tepper so eloquently wrote about. Yet there’s something more inspiring about hearing Susan Blackwell lead a storm against thinking this way in song. The four people singing are on Broadway. They created this show, they had these fears, but they made something of their own, something that was brilliant and important and special—both as characters and in reality. Why not me?
A few hundred listens later, there was a moment of “Die, Vampire, Die!” that finally helped me stop crying and achieve peace (is this what fancy people call an “aha!” moment?).
“The last vampire is the mother of all vampires, and that is the vampire of despair. It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like, ‘Who do you think you’re kidding?’ ‘You look like a fool.’ ‘No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough.’
Why is it that if some dude walked up to me on the subway platform and said these things, I’d think he was a mentally ill asshole, but if the vampire inside my head says it, it’s the voice of reason?”
Damn. The insight. The depth. The way Susan Blackwell’s voice drops to complete vulnerability before her friends pick her up so they can remind each other that they can fight the vampires together. Your friends can help you tackle your demons, your fears, including the ones you’re afraid to even articulate to yourself.
I know nothing about this post is particularly groundbreaking. I know that most of us theatre nerds have found pieces that spoke to us, rescued us, reminded us of the hope and possibilities that are truly in the world. But I think every time someone shares a story about their particular song, a little more love is put into the universe. I’d also like to think that sharing can inspire one more composer, director, actor, producer to create something just as special. Because theatre is special – theatre changes the world. How many people would have felt more alone, lost comfort, been more scared if they couldn’t press play on their music to enter their own personal musical world?
I’m so grateful for [title of show], for how it got me through today. I decided to add this to my door this afternoon to remind me to never let the insecurity get to me too much, to kill the vampires.