Radical (In)Authenticity

The other day on FB, there was one of those silly little quizzes to figure out what your solar eclipse identity is (I guess there’s one coming up). This was the quiz:

Based on this I am the Guardian of Radical Ideas.

I embrace this designation wholeheartedly.

I have never been one to play things safe. As I wrote previously, I was encouraged to settle for being comfortable.

My most recent radical idea was to dye my hair teal and purple. My mother would be rolling over in her urn. She never got over my becoming a redhead (I was born blonde – really).

When I first dyed my hair red in 1998, it didn’t go that well. All the years of “enhancing” my blondeness resulted in the red color being absorbed a little too thoroughly and vibrantly. I went to a party that evening and I’ll never forget a colleague looking at me and saying, “Christine, that’s not a color found in nature.”

Boy, what would Russ Kopitzke think now?

But it’s a funny thing – when I went auburn, it was because I’d taken a “get to know your friends” quiz (another quiz, this one pre-Facebook – it was an email chain). One of the questions was, “What color would you dye your hair if you had the guts?” and I thought, “Auburn,” because every time I’d worn a red wig in a show, I felt more like me in a way that I didn’t as a blonde.

And then I thought, “Hey, I have the guts.”

And I had the guts this summer. Maybe it was because of the pandemic. and being cooped up. But I felt a need to do something different. There’s a term called, “having a wild hair,” which means:

“To have a fervent, usually sudden, desire to do something surprising or unexpected.”


And while I loved being a redhead, this hair color also makes me feel authentic, even though it’s a color “not found in nature,” and one some people might find inauthentic. Maybe I’ll go back to being a redhead again someday – or maybe I’ll do something even more – dare I say – radical?

If I’m going to be inauthentic, I’m going to be radically inauthentic. And that may make me feel even more authentic.

What radical ideas do you have? Do they feel authentic? Would they make you feel authentic? As a performer? As a person?

Are you ready to take a chance?

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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