Friday, August 11, 2006

Two random lists

OK, I'm off to HorrorFind for the yearly HorrorTalk get-together...

I took today (Thursday) off, even though I'm not leaving until tomorrow (Friday). Why?

Well, let me explain.

You all are probably aware of the big terrorism bust today, right? Big news + Thursday = headache at the paper Thursday night.

Well, I used to just take Friday off, and then these things happened:

• Thursday before HF, 2003: The big blackout on the East Coast, including the newspaper office.
• Thursday before HF, 2004: New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey came out of the closet and resigned.

Needless to say, last year, I took Thursday before HF off, just on general principles. And now, big news happened again.


My other random list of the day was something that popped into my head the other day for no reason at all:

Strange things I had to wear throughout my acting career.

• Childhood ("Waiting for Godot"): A pirate-coat-turned-Halloween-costume. I got it from my father's friend, the director at Bloomsburg University, who liked me in it so much when I went to his house to trick or treat, that I ended up playing the "Boy" in Beckett's strange, strange play.
• 7th grade, winter (hell if I can remember the title): Snidely Whiplash moustache, black hat and cape, and all. Yes, I was the villain. Best story: The running gag is that one character, "Strongheart," has a mother named "Anemia." (Get it? Anemia Strongheart?) Well, the actor playing Strongheart, being an eighth-grader and probably never having heard the word, kept pronouncing it "Anna-MIA" and driving the director nuts.
• 7th grade, spring ("Vaudeville's My Home"): White-haired wig. And a bell, under a hat. Elderly janitor. But I got to play a scene with Shannon, my not-so-secret crush. Of course, she was playing an old lady.
• 8th grade, winter (I don't remember this name, either; the director wrote it; I'm sure my mother could tell you): Tutu. That's right, they put a boy in the throes of puberty in a dress and sent him out in front of all his friends and neighbors. Y'all wonder why I'm such a headcase. 12 going on 13, I'm playing the "fairy godfather."
• 9th grade, fall (some courtroom drama, again, the name is lost to college binge-drinking and brain-cell-killing): Bailiff's uniform. I was... the bailiff. Funniest thing I remember: We called our "jury" and "witnesses" out of the audience, and the girl in the low-cut dress was sitting right behind my father. We call her, she gets up, he turns around at the movement, and she bends down to fix her shoe, and he's (inadvertantly) looking right down her dress. Welcome to high-school drama, Dad!
• 10th grade, spring ("Little Shop of Horrors"): I was only a vagrant in the opening number, despite my best musical auditions ever. So I wore... dirty clothes.
• 11th grade, winter ("The Crucible"): Breeches. With Velcro up the sides, that became safety pins on Night 2 after I almost lost my pants onstage on Night 1. That hasty refastening wasn't in the movie when Daniel Day Lewis played John Proctor. Hey, whatever my problems, I got my first girlfriend out of this show, so I can't have been that bad...
• 11th grade, spring ("Man of LaMancha"): Pantyhose. As "tights," under a costume that I can only describe as William Shakespeare meets a Beefeater. And a suit of armor. Hey, I played three characters. Or one, who was three. Or something.
• 12th grade, winter ("The Night of Jan. 16th"): Sorry, just a plain old shirt-and-tie/jacket kind of deal. Got my second girlfriend out of this show. Which, well, never mind. The rest is probably TMI. But I could tell stories and stories about taking this show on the road. (It was a competition play, which meant... overnight field trip!)
• College, sophomore year ("Lysistrata"): A toga. Which, I might add, I don't recall ever wearing in four years in a fraternity. I also got to kiss a girl who wasn't Michelle. Michelle saw her during rehearsals and snarked later, "she's not that pretty." She was. I didn't have a name in that one; I think I was Athenian Man No. 2 or something. We all made up names ("Speedye," "Quikkye," "Riunite," etc.) but they didn't get into the program.
• Adulthood ("Dead Hunt"): A black, full-face ski mask, which as I referred to it when shopping, "the kind you rob banks with." Oops. My scenes got cut anyway.

And of course, in almost all of these, I had to wear stage makeup. Which makes me break out like crazy.

So, yes. When Norman complained about putting her hose on backward, I could relate. In the "LaMancha" dress rehearsals, I had to get a girl in the show to help me figure it out.

But I'll bet nobody out there has ever taken the stage, as a mid-pubescent teen, in a trenchcoat, and flashed a sixth-grader... revealing a tutu and a holstered magic potion. I can still hear the laughter. Which was good for the show. My psyche, maybe not so much.

At least I can laugh about it now. After years of therapy and pharmaceuticals.