Sometimes I surprise myself – learning to snowboard when I freeze at 60 degrees, embracing co-habitation with the black snakes that occupy my yard, attempting parenthood (thank goodness for that therapy fund). Well, my most recent questionable endeavor came in the form of a job.
A few months ago a call came with the request to do a show at a local professional theatre. And when I say ‘do’ a show, I do not mean as an actor on the stage – where I have spent many a moment throughout the years – but as a dresser in the thick of the behind-the-scenes action.
I reasoned, how hard could it be? I mean, I have dressed myself successfully for many years (although those severely torn Levi’s – self-patched with leopard print and worn frequently in the 90’s, may not qualify); And, I dressed my boys (hopefully they were not able to read the tags on the accidently purchased girls wear). So, without any concern for the poor, unwitting victims actors, my desire for a new experience convinced me to say “Yes!”
However, when the time arrived, I discovered that dressing a real live, full grown actor through what was to be 20+ quick changes per show, in the dark, backstage, during near silence onstage, turned out to be more daunting than anticipated. I will admit – I made mistakes. And, I felt bad. More than once, I decided I had kissed my end of the show ’tip’ goodbye along with possibly all or most of my paycheck. And I will admit I spent a few nights beating myself up over it.
Ok, maybe just one.
Because then, I remembered something. I remembered how dearly I love to laugh.
You see, as long as
- No limbs are lost (broken bones I’ve got covered!),
- Everyone is still breathing,
- No eyes are poked out…shot out…gouged out,
- And no natural disaster has ensued
I can handle the small stuff, like, I don’t know,
- Sending an actor out onstage with shoes on the wrong feet,
- Attempting several times to poke same actor in the eye with glasses,
- Dropping a few or say, several props on hard floor during complete onstage silence,
- Habitually refusing to remember one particular assigned job without constant reminders,
- Or, forgetting my start time on opening day and almost taking down a few pedestrians crossing a small town Main Street in my haste to get to the theatre.
The best part is, once I remember I can handle the small stuff, I find I can laugh at them as well; which is like a gift and something of which I am very fond. The only thing better being when others laugh with you.
So, in closing, please accept my sincerest apologies:
To my Actor friends – who had to endure my fits of ineptness, thank you for letting me laugh at them and for (hopefully) laughing with me; and,
To the Pedestrians – who, I fear, will never look at the safety of crossing a small town Main Street with the same abandon again.