I’ve secretly always wanted to be an actor/dancer/dope musician. Well it’s not such a secret so much as a very, very unfortunate thing for the self-proclaimed Lucky Ones who get to witness me and my Dance Moves in clubs. So when I got pulled onstage last week at a sold out West End show by one of the UK’s most popular comedians, I peed my pants. Metaphorically.
I went to see James Corden in “One Man, Two Guvnors,” the American equivalent of seeing someone like Robin Williams or Chris Rock in their respective Broadway shows. Corden plays the leading man, Francis Henshall, a potato-faced lad who attempts endlessly to woo a voluptuous lass called Dolly. In one scene, Francis asks the audience to suggest a good date for him and Dolly:
“This play!” a woman in my row yells.
“But if I’m in the play right now, how can I go see the play?” Francis quips.
Then, before I even have time to decide in which theoretical universe this impossible feat could actually be accomplished, Francis grabs Dolly’s hand and walks down the front steps of the stage. Down my row. To my seat.
“Take my place,” he says.
I look next to me at my friend Juan, as if he’s going to magically produce an Invisibility Cloak to save me from the embarrassment of walking on stage and standing there like a proper idiot. But I quickly laugh and jog up those steps as instructed after quickly and sadly acknowledging that the wizard world of Harry Potter isn’t—gulp—real. No cloak could save me now.
The thoughts flooded. What should I do? Ah! That woman’s shirt is orange! Should I act? Can’t. Dance? Impossible. Sing? My voice sucks. I hate orange!
Time is ticking as these thoughts swirl in my brain place, and before I know it I’m doing the most half-assed cart-wheel that the whole wide world has ever been seen.
As I look out after my “cartwheel” is complete, the weirdest thing happens: Everyone cheers. They like my cart-wheel! They like me! I’m the shining star that my mommy always tells me I am! James then gets up from my seat and shakes my hand as we pass each other on the steps, and I pee my pants again. Literally. No not literally. Well kind of. No not really.
Back to reality. I was buzzing the rest of the show and erupted in applause when everyone took his or her bows. Corden came back on stage by himself for a final bow, but then he did the most peculiar thing. He reached down and grabbed my hand. And yanked me on stage with him.
Me and James! James and me! Center stage.
Then, without even thinking, I did the most beautiful cart-wheel that ever was and people cheered once again, but louder this time. I was on a high, and as I left the stage to join the crowds of people leaving, I welcomed the words of praise that strangers offered me as I made my exit.
And that, dear reader(s), is how James Corden and years of gymnastics as a young girl made my teeny tiny, unrealistic dream come true, if only for a few West End seconds.
Oh, the glory.