I had forgotten all about the "extras" operas use for large productions, called supernumeraries. I was reminded of these opera extras watching an episode of Mad Men, no less. My best friend during high school introduced me to the opera, and her parents both rose through the ranks beginning as volunteers for the San Francisco Opera. My friend's mom was coaxed into being a supernumerary, and she ended up in a role in the ballet The Nutcracker in a street scene as an old woman selling chestnuts. In college I studied psychology and minored in theater arts with an emphasis on acting. Unfortunately, over the years since graduating, I have developed stage fright. But I have been meaning to get back onstage, doing something- anything- related to acting. I'm still proud I was able to work with a well-known local director on an ongoing film project, many years ago. I never made it into any of his films but the classes were really neat. I learned a lot through improv (improvisational/ "on the spot" acting). So tonight, I'm thinking that maybe- just maybe- I can recover from this very deep depression, severe anxiety and PTSD enough to submit an application to be a supernumerary. The rehearsals can be very long and it's a pretty thankless job (unpaid, and I doubt you get any opera tickets) but I think I could really blossom being around other people who love theater productions. And the costumes are fabulous! Apparently the most important thing about a director choosing a supernumerary, is that they can fit you into whatever spare costume they have available for the production. So it's not like I have to do singing or even much of anything to be cast. I worry about taking stage directions, I have a cognitive disability called topographical agnosia, which makes it very hard to navigate across the city or even just "the bathroom's the third door on the left". So it's possible I could get kicked out of a production if they have to explain to me where and how to stand way too much. But I'm willing to give it a shot. I won't know if I can do it, if I don't try. It would be pretty cool to be able to say someday that I was in an opera. I'd give my right arm to be in a production by Wagner, but really I'd settle for anything. Maybe this is a new goal for me. It would take a whole lot of steps to get there, but each step of the way would probably be a step further from mental health crisis.