Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 19, 2010

Answering calls from 88 keys

Confessions of a Dislocated Texan

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Daily Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — While it could very well be impossible to find many examples of my life where I am ever 100 percent serious, there was a tiny period of time where I found things more interesting than my sense of humor. Perhaps as a way to prevent themselves from being insane 24-hours a day with a hyperactive child, my parents desperately sought as many ways as possible to keep my mind occupied.

As you may imagine, if I found something even the slightest bit interesting that would not cause calamity, they would encourage me to participate in the activity as often as possible. One of those interests was playing the piano and for seven years I pursued music ambition. However, my skills as a classical pianist got set aside as other interests developed in High School and as far as I was concerned, that chapter in my life was a memory.

I must have missed the notice, but apparently coming to Pauls Valley was the key to reviving the connection to that instrument and all through a musical where one of the six main characters is a boy who is known for his piano skills. I didn’t even know if Tim Smith, member of  Pauls Valley Art Council who is directing the play, would have a role for me when I made the late decision to try out for “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”

If I would have said I related to any character growing up, it would have been the round headed kid who could never kicked a football and was picked on like in that oldies song of the same name. Then again, perhaps it is poetic that I got cast as Schroeder to remind me that I also knew way more than most kids about guys like Ludwig van Beethoven and encountered girls who liked me (though none of them named Lucy) when I wasn’t quite ready to settle down. Of course, it will be a not quite a peer project, being that I am at least a foot taller and about ten years older than the rest of the cast.

Other than myself, Samantha Robb of Main Street was the only other person not still living with their parents that tried out for a part. I certainly was glad to comfort her in that fact, though I will have to limit my Ezra Mann and the five dwarves jokes until after the play is done in November.

I know I shouldn’t even feel that old since most people my age are just beginning to get the hang of their careers, but when my fellow actors aren’t far removed from Elmo and relate the most with TV shows like “Glee” or Justin Bieber I may be slipping behind sooner than I thought I would. Still, the group of kids selected to perform along side me are a good bunch, who have an opportunity to further put Garvin County on the map. Besides, it’s not every day that people get to hear me speak in a pitch that hasn’t been normal for my vocal chords since I was in eighth grade (it works for the person still playing Harry Potter).

The one thing that will require the biggest leap for me in this musical is the loss of something that has given me the rugged appearance I’ve become well known for. A sacrifice worthy of a ceremony and grieving period for some, will be the removal of my sacred beard.

Since I first began my quest for facial haired awesomeness, I have shaved off the beard only a handful of times, the most recent time a jaw dropping shock for those I met in college and beyond. Yet, I shall bid mount scruffy farewell for a couple of weeks and who knows, perhaps it will mean a whole new realm of beardless activities like Elvis Impersonator or stunt double for Vin Diesel. Though I don’t think either celebrity will make an appearance in the show at the Pauls Valley High School Auditorium November 18-20.