Best in Show

It’s been a few months since I last posted. Shame on me.

I know, I know, I should be easy on myself. After all, I’m a new mother taking care of a 5 month old baby. If only that were my excuse for not writing. Well, to be entirely truthful, it is in a way. You see, I still have plenty of stories happening to me all the time that I’d love to share and write about. Unfortunately 100% of those stories are baby related, and I don’t want to turn this blog into a parenting blog. Oh, but you want to hear stories about her? Unfortunately 80% of those stories have to do with bodily functions, and I promised my husband I would refrain from sharing those stories with the world.

Yep, I’m not getting out much, and when I do get out, it’s usually for playdates and mommy-baby groups. Although every now and then we will hire a babysitter and get out sans baby, but none of those times are particularly story-worthy. They are, however, able to be tied in to other stories from long times past.

Let’s give it a shot…

A few weeks ago, BIAS (Bar Ilan Acting Society) went out of business. Although neither my husband nor myself attended Bar Ilan University, we both participated in this student-run acting group. My husband had a small role in one of their productions a number of years ago, before we met (long story, but it’s actually the first time I remember seeing him), and then last year we had the privilege of acting opposite each other as a married couple in another one of their productions. Just before they closed their doors, they hosted a gala event, something like their own Academy Award ceremony. It was nice hearing about the acts of kindness, heroism, and sheer madness that people did in order to make BIAS prosper, and that reminded me of a personal story… (Like how I did that?)

A few years before we played opposite each other as a burnt out married couple for BIAS, my husband and I played the roles of newlyweds, Paul and Corie Bratter, in a Jerusalem community theater’s production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Our present story takes place on the 4th night of performances (out of 7 nights). The entire play consists of 3 acts spanning about 2.5 hours. Of those 2.5 hours, there are only about 3-5 minutes in the 3rd act where Corie (played by me) is not on stage. In case you are new to the theater world, that’s a lot of on-stage time. Anyway, on the 4th night, I got off on the wrong foot (quite literally) at the start of act 2, scene 2. My character runs on stage, barefoot, quite drunk, and collapses in a fit of drunken giggles. Only when I ran on stage that night, I managed to run into the prop table, bending my little toe farther back than G-d ever intended it to go. When I fell to the floor giggling, it was more to mask the significant pain I was in than to play my character. To my credit, the only person to notice something was off in my performance was the director. I pushed my way through the rest of that scene like a real trooper.

Between acts 2 and 3 we had a very short intermission, during which time I allowed myself to look at my toe for the first time since I broke it (oh yes, it was broken). By that point, it had swollen to the size of a small knockwurst, was roughly the same color as a knockwurst, and was very, very painful. The stage manager gave me a frozen bottle of Coke to put on it for the remainder of the intermission, and then what could I do but go back on stage? As they say, “The show must go on.” So there I was, acting through extreme pain, trying to put as little weight on it as possible, trying to walk (limp?) as little as possible, and yet not break character. And I did it, because there truly are no people like show people.

Over the next few weeks my toe had to be wrapped and splinted, making walking incredibly awkward. I had to take the splint off for the remaining performances, however (you try walking normally with your two smallest toes taped to a popsicle stick!), and as a result, the ugly bruise that covered half my foot was visible from the audience (and as can be inferred from the play’s title, my character spends most of her time barefoot). The solution? The makeup artist made up my foot. I’d pop a couple of painkillers and really get into character, and that way the pain was barely noticeable.

All in all, I think I’m stronger for the experience. There is, however, one thing that I never want to hear again when I get on stage…

“Break a leg!”


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