Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes! (part one of a series)

After dropping off my stuff in Riley Commons, the large room adjacent to the new Little Theatre, and picking up my script, I was told that we would not have access to that room after 9:00 AM. So I picked up my hangers full of clothes and my backpack, and went into the Little Theatre. It was pitch black with the exception of one light. I could spot someone shifting its cast around the floor, while a disembodied voice said, “Can you straighten out the bottom of that?” Ah… focus. Theatre is awesome.

I inched around the light’s cast and over to the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, I could see the glow from the ΑΨΩ ρκ Green Room. I rounded the corner half way down the stairs, just in time to see a glimpse of a hand closing the door. Of course, I was looking at the door, not my feet, and my next step sent my straight down on my ass. Ow! But I made no sound, clamored back up onto my feet, and reopened that door. I tiptoed around the overzealous cast that had already started their read-through, twenty minutes early, and hung my costumes on the rack.

It was barely 7:30 in the morning, I had gotten nearly four hours of sleep, I was freshly showered, and I had a freshly bruised ass. What a beautiful way to start the day!

I rubbed my ass as I hobbled back up the stairs, through the Little Theatre, and back into the Commons, where my director and fellow cast members were hanging around reading the scripts. I had already given mine its first read, and knew I was in for a wild, wild ride. I wondered allowed, “Do you think there’s a highlighter in the office?” to no one in particular, while walking up the stairs into the sketchy hallway. I peered into the Masque office, making sure no one was passed out on the sofa or carpeted floor. It was unoccupied, so I started rummaging through the desk drawers.

I saw a hint of bright orange, and grabbed at it. Victory! I marched out of the office, around the corner, and down the stairs into the Commons holding my conquest high in my left hand. I took it over to a table and began my highlighting.

Soon, we were all ready. I pulled my boots back over my calves and we all went on over to the dressing rooms next door for our read-through. We each played characters with our own names, which made things somewhat easier.

Diane is a mental health professional and caretaker of Freddy. “Freddy thinks he is a pirate all of the time.” Freddy’s brother Chris is dating Diane. Chris’ best friend Eric has split personalities. The dominant personality loves football, action movies, beef jerky, and nachos. The other personality is female, goes by Erica, and is a southern belle. Erica thinks she’s been dating Chris for several years. Chris doesn’t believe a word of it. “Freddy does miscellaneous pirate things.” Erica thinks that Chirs is a man she is “willing to give [her]self to.” Erica and Diane have a bitch-fight over Chris. Diane wins the fight, but Erica wins Eric’s body. Freddy “be a might confused.” Chris wonders who he is “going to drink beer and watch porn with.” Diane “like[s] beer.” Freddy helps up his new “playmate” Erica, and carries her offstage. “What kind of games are they going to play?” “Shivering the timbers.”

The play is hilarious in every way. It’s too bad you missed it.


We did a couple read-throughs before we had to move on to a different rehearsal space. The second space was the ΑΨΩ ρκ Green Room in the basement of the Little Theatre, which isn’t much larger than the dressing room we had just come from. But we started moving around anyway. The real blocking began in rehearsal three (which started forty-five minutes after the read-through ended… we move fast!).

Our first attempt at the bitch-fight was a lot of fun and games… until I smacked my head down on the ground. Ow! It hurt, but not too much not to try it again. Tuck in the chin. Don’t fall straight back. Victim is in charge of the battle. Stage fighting 101. I caught on pretty quickly, and learned how to fall and attack without getting hurt or hurting anyone else.

We took a break, during which I noticed that I had a nice rug burn on my left elbow. I decided I was glad I had a long sleeved shirt to wear on stage, and vowed to not take off my sweatshirt for the rest of the rehearsals. At our fourth rehearsal (two hours and fifteen minutes after the read-through ended) we did the first four scenes off book. It was pretty awesome. Between the fourth and fifth rehearsals, I tried to memorize the fifth scene (where I had the most lines). Due to my odd mechanisms for learning lines I didn’t learn the middle of the scene, but only the beginning and end.

Our fifth rehearsal is back in the biggest rehearsal room, so we resume practicing the bitch-fight. A chair was left in an inopportune place. My shoulder and my head clunked on it as I fell to the floor. “I’m fine! Don’t worry!” Ow! We work out some awesome funniness just the same.

Lunch followed that rehearsal, and I ate food that was really, really not good for me. I took a bruise count. It was high. But I didn’t feel any pain. Well, except for my ass. That still hurt from the early-morning stair incident…

December 13th, 2005 • 8:29 am • dinane • Posted in Theatre
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