One Thing Leads to Another
Coming up with a story every day for a blog can be a tricky business. People visit for the random surprises, not the same-old-same-old. Can I spin the same story, but with a twist, and get away with something new?
I haven’t talked much about my life-long interest in theater. Yet, from kindergarten until my mid-thirties (when I aged out of believably playing the ingenue), I walked the boards with schizophrenic regularity. And, no, I’ve never had the joy of playing a crazy character.
I have, however, been cast in the role of nurse more often than any other in my acting career. The last time it happened, my Mom joked that my acting skills must’ve really improved, because no one on earth is less nurse-like than I am in real life. Yet, I found myself slated to play the nurse in Margaret Edson‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “W;t,” a show that juxtaposes the metaphysical poetry of John Donne over the life of an academic who finds herself stricken with ovarian cancer. Every night, I walked away from that play gobsmacked, grateful to be a part of such a layered, nuanced piece of theater. To date, it is my favorite role.
That’s the serious part of the story.
We staged this riveting piece of live performance at the historic Dock Street Theatre, and it was my virgin experience with the place. With its dressing rooms set up rickety stairs leading to a dark corridor in a recess of the second floor, it didn’t make me very happy. I had numerous costume changes, and I’m naturally clumsy. No way was I running up and down those stairs for the sake of modesty. Like many performer types, I carved out a space for my costumes backstage and changed there, multiple times per night, in front of whoever happened to be around at the time.
It was generally okay. Most of the actors in the show were people I’d known forever. I already ‘knew’ them and they ‘knew’ me, if you know what I mean. I forgot about our intern, though, a cherub-faced twelve-year-old boy who was interested in being a techie and was working backstage to learn the ropes.
During the first dress rehearsal, I came offstage and ripped off my shirt on the way to my changing area, and no one even noticed. No one except the poor intern. He was traumatized. He walked back to the green room with eyes like saucers and his angelic mouth in a little ‘o’ and announced to everyone that he’d just seen me in my bra. Not knowing what to do, he hid himself from my bra-clad boobies for the rest of the dress rehearsal, afraid they might send lightening-bolt daggers into his innocent little eyeballs.
Too Much is Just Enough: Same Story, Different Ways