Story of my life. Okay no. But that was my weekend.
Evening shows of TOUCH, Thursday through Saturday night. Also three shows of The Frog Prince, one evening, one morning, and one afternoon. That’s six shows altogether since Thursday, including Friday night when The Frog Prince previewed and then I booked it over to the eastside for TOUCH. (Thanks for driving Andrea!) I had been stressed about that particular night for weeks, and it ended up being not the cliffhanger event I’d anticipated. Everything went off just as it should.
Saturday morning with a theater full of rowdy kids, mostly under the age of five, was much more daunting. The exhaustion from the double performance the night before, plus the after-show required set strike which means you don’t even get to leave until midnight, was wearing on me. I stared at my contraband coffee cup (“Not around the costumes!”) for some sort of miracle. I was nervous. Kids have this reputation for being cute, but the flipside is that they are unpredictable and brutally candid. Not unlike drunks. “Mommy, that Princess looks like she had a rough night,” did not seem beyond the plausible.
Instead of looking to my coffee for strength, I should have just looked around me. The other three members of the cast are endless reservoirs of energizing hilarity. Sean Martin, as the frog, Jose Villarreal as The King / Prince Francis, and Andrea Smith as Penelope the Party Pooper, made the rehearsal process the most fun I’ve ever had rehearsing any show. Most of it was not for children, with jokes that would make the Masons blush, which is why Michael McKelvey had us rehearse mostly at St. Ed’s. But what carried over into the G-rated show, is the fun of it all, and how much we all enjoy working together. And as Andrea and Jose went out to warm up the kids with the pre-show which is actually buried instruction as to how to be a polite audience member (this involves bottom glue), I looked through the secret peephole out at all the little happy faces and started to get as excited as they were.
And we had a great show. I wouldn’t say that I made it through without hiccups. I tripped over the beginning of my song – note to self, try saying “amphibious gaze” a few times before your 10 am performance – also since it was only the second time I’d worn my princess gown, I had some issues with that too. My attempt to leap onto the lip of the well and kiss the frog was less grace and more O DEAR GOD I STEPPED ON MY SKIRT AND THE BODICE IS TUGGED DOWN AND PLEASE DON’T FLASH THE CHILDREN. Luckily, except for the awkwardness, I don’t think any children were exposed to any new anatomy that day.
Sunday’s show was even better, due in no small part to the 1 pm calltime as opposed to 9 am of Saturday. I had more hours of sleep between my prostitute and my princess, and it was a great help. I wanted to write some sort of feminist criticism about portraying both stereotypes of the virgin/whore dichotomy in modern culture. Something academic that I could parlay into a book that would help me achieve my life’s goal of being interviewed by Terry Gross, but no. What is basically required is the same for both roles, preparation and sweet sweet sleep.
I also want to thank everyone in the cast and Michael and Heath for coming to see me in TOUCH. That kind of support is not what I expected, and it means more to me than you know.