It was finale night at The Starlight Amateur Theatre Group’s version of Dreamgirls. Carol stood backstage trying to keep calm. No matter how many times she performed, she always felt nervous. But it was like her Dad always said and she could hear him saying it now in his wonderful Dublin accent, “When you lose the nerves that’s when you’ll know you don’t care anymore.” And he was right. Nerves were passion. Nerves were worrying because you cared about it being right. She was getting rave reviews in the local press:
Carol Murphy is simply superb. She draws the audience in with her breath-taking vocals. Murphy’s Listen is the highlight of the show.
Carol Murphy as Deena is the star of the show. You’ll think you are at a West End show when Murphy soars into a heartfelt, note-perfect version of Listen.
One little lady. Some powerful lungs. Carol Murphy is sensational. And her version of Listen is sublime.
Carol Murphy – one word: Wow.
She had always been a huge Dreamgirls fan and Listen had been the reason she had wanted the part of Deena so much. The words spoke to her. As she sang each night she thought of the path she had went through being pansexual. She had once shied away fearful she wouldn’t be understood, wouldn’t be liked. She pretended to be straight, she pretended to be gay, she pretended to be bisexual. She pretended to be anything that could be understood. She was an introvert. She was passionate. She couldn’t face the awkward and ignorant questions. Or she felt she couldn’t anyway. So she followed scripts that she thought people would get, might be even ok with. She followed the voice they gave to her but then she had to find her own. She was tired of people saying her feelings weren’t real. She never questioned theirs. She believed they had the right to say what they liked but still she thought how dare they? I’m nice about your sexuality. How fucking rude are you mate?
Soon time came for her to sing Listen. She looked to her father in the crowd. She looked to her husband sitting next to him. The two men in her life who made her feel like she wasn’t weird. Who made her feel loved. She held back tears. Ever the professional. To come from been a young woman unsure if she was strong enough to face the world, deciding been a recluse might be better in a world even less kind and understanding than today to a regular theatre performer with the group, in the local spotlight often, a wife, a mother to two daughters and a daughter to a father who was for both her and her sisters Linda and Jo who had texted their support earlier. A sister to two straight sisters who never seen her as “the pansexual sister”. She was strong now in her forties and she didn’t give a damn about anything negative the unenlightened might, and often did, say. She was too mature for immature comments.
She began to sing:
Listen to the song here in my heart
A melody I start but can’t complete
Listen, to the sound from deep within
It’s only beginning
To find release
Oh, the time has come
For my dreams to be heard
They will not be pushed aside and turned
Into your own
All cause you won’t
Listen, I am alone at a crossroads
I’m not at home, in my own home
And I’ve tried and tried
To say what’s on my mind
You should have known
Oh, now I’m done believing you
You don’t know what I’m feeling
I’m more than what you made of me
I followed the voice you gave to me
But now I gotta find my own