Archive | 11:37 pm

Friends Of Great Feet & The Little Redheaded Girl

17 Oct


When you’ve done enough shows, and at the same theatres for years and years, after a spit of time you will notice the wardrobe re-uses, no matter how crafty they get with new pairings and re-workings. 

…You’ll see something you’ve worn in say an Agatha Christie, pop up again on someone else in a Noel Coward.  You’ll see a pair of pants you wore in a cross-dressing scene on a pre-teen boy a year later.  “That” was the vest my “lover” wore when he tried to kill me in that one show, “those” are the pair of heels I strapped on every night for the “dinner” scene in that OTHER one.  In one act there could be ten or eleven pieces screaming out at me from their live mannequins on stage saying, ” Remember me?!  Remember me?!”  It becomes like a totally unintended version of “Where’s Waldo” every time I go see something period at all, because it is only a matter of time before half my previous costumes (and/or parts and pieces of them), come back to haunt me in some way.

…Good God, the stories those things could tell.

…And now I will be bringing back a very special pair of friends with me into “Twelfth Night.”  Two rather lived-in, scuffed up, re-soled beauties in which I sang, jumped, climbed, kicked, danced and died throughout the entire last Holiday season.  Just digging them out of the closet made me grin.  And with a split-second segue into cockney, I greeted them as old friends should:

“…’Ello me beau’ies.  It’s been a might now, ain’t it.  Up for a’nover ‘go’?”

It’s been a whole year since “Oliver!,” and I can’t even believe it.

…Yes. I am terribly and ridiculously sentimental. But these shoes have earned it.  We went to War together, and in some instances they quite literally felt like they were all I had.  Hours and hours working choreography, and blocking, and hoisting and jumping, and climbing…on and off the stage.  And they never once let me down.  So why should it be any different for these leather lace-up Victorian boots, than for a Pitcher’s favorite mitt, or a Golfer’s club, a Cyclist’s bike or a Painter’s brush? 

You have favorite pieces of music that remind you of people, some trinkets you refuse to get rid of because of memories they contain.  This is no different.  For some, they consider it “good luck,” for others a “tradition.”  For me, these memories don’t require a prop like this to always be present, but when they are…it seems all the more “activated.”

…These shoes are like that.

But, this isn’t where the story ends

These beauties are actually only “borrowed” friends, on their third journey with me, not the second.  The first was around a decade ago, where they were given me for the first time, on loan. The show then was is the same theatre…only took place on a small Canadian Island, called Prince Edward…and a beautifully gifted, naturally red-headed, fourteen-year-old little girl was leading the pack as “Anne of Green Gables.”

…And that same young woman, (now home from University and studies abroad), is back again, for the first time, since. The same house…the same unspoiled, fierce talent…the same shock of red hair…now playing our “Olivia,” with beautiful abandon.

…Sure.  It kinda makes me feel old.  But then, it has such a feeling of “belonging” in it, don’t you think?  And I’ve relocated from her Mrs. Barry, to her lady-in-waiting, Maria. 

A decade since last we played together.

…And I’ll be reminded of it, every night, when I get into costume, (and all the rehearsals now in between)…lacing up me boots…(double knots, as “Nancy” once taught me to.)  Two very special shows to bring with me, into a new third, as a kind of blessing over the whole.

Meanings within meanings. 

Actors use all of that shit, you guys. 

…And nothing will help me to be the mothering, doting, fiercely protecting lady-in-waiting more, than to remember the time I spent with that Anne girl all those years ago, seeing her now grown and in full bloom, kicking ass all over that stage, ever nightly.

I love the theatre, so…


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