Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Agnus Dei, Lord have mercy (part 2)

A little background. As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz I played a bit part in a student-written/directed/performed production called What Women Want (no relation to the Mel Gibson/Helen Hunt joint). I think my character's official title was Chick at Bus Stop, or something like that - a role that involved walking out to the edge of the stage in high heels and short skirt and just standing there in the spotlight until the end of the scene (which involved two guy actors checking out said Chick while Roy Orbison played in the background. This was high art). As I wrote earlier, I'd had a tendency toward stage jitters since my early operetta days, but there was something different about this play. I didn't know just how jittery I was until something new happened: My head started to tremble. This had never happened to me before, so I was wholly unprepared for - and mortified by - it. And of course, the harder I tried to control the shaking, the worse it got. I was like a malnourished Chihuahua in a snowstorm (Yo quiero sedativo.) Now, this wasn't a normal theater where the play was held, but a big dining hall. We had large audiences each night, so the rows of fold-out chairs started only a few feet away from the stage. This meant that one misstep and I'd be sitting in someones lap in the front row. It also meant that I could clearly hear one audience member a few rows back lean toward her friend and whisper, "She's really nervous." Which naturally helped my condition a lot. NOT. It was a horrible, humiliating, out-of-control kind of feeling, and anyone who knows me at all well knows that "out-of-control" isn't really my thing. (I actually considered calling this blog Controlling B*tch at one point, but a) the language didn't seem very honoring to God and b) I figured some people would miss the intended wit.) The trembling returned the next night, and the next, and being ready for it helped not one bit. Fortunately, in the play's third act I got to kiss a cute actor who later went on to work in soap operas, so that helped calm my nerves. After What Women Want wrapped up I discovered that my newfound bobbliheadedness was not limited to the stage. No sirree. During a visit to the dentist for fillings, my head started to wobble so much that the assistant had to hold onto it. Or maybe that was just a nightmare I had. At any rate, I clearly recall saying, "I bet this happens to patients all the time." The assistant just gave me a puzzled look and said, "No." Which naturally helped a lot.

1 comment:

  1. Lorelei1:53 PM

    Oh, OK, now I get the bobblehead comment from before. You kept this turkey in suspense!

    Dude, you're totally in good company, but for me it was my MOUTH. I was doing the prayer solo from Coppelia in Mill Valley in a studio performance. The solo is very slow, adagio, controlled, balanced, reverent. I have no idea why (nerves, obviously) but as soon as I took my place on the stage, my mouth began to tremble. Friends confirmed that it was visible from the last row. It wasn't just trembling, it looked like I was acquiring a case of facial palsy right there & then. Not one of my better moments. And I kept smiling, which really made it so much worse.

    I did get one good photo out of the deal, but I didn't get to kiss any soap opera stars. You get all the hot guys. No fair.

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