Saturday, March 24, 2012

Like an Angry Koala

I am currently sitting backstage during tech for The Life of Galileo, and I am bored out of my mind.  This show has been running so perfectly that there is nothing interesting for me to do.

It is going extremely well, which is a good thing, because it means the actual performance will go well.

It is going extremely smoothly, which is a bad thing, because it means nothing funny has happened to me lately.

Instead, I have to rely on one of my old standby stories.  The time I had a severe allergic reaction.

When I was in the eighth grade I was cast as Smee in my middle school’s production of Peter Pan
 The show was phenomenal.  We had gorgeous sets, four rented costumes, and a flight rig.  We had four shows, each in front of a sold out, 650 seat house.  It was awesome.

After our last show, we were all dreading strike.  I went into the dressing room to get cleaned up.  Until now I had been using baby wipes to remove my makeup.  Unfortunately, I had run out.

I started asking around, looking for something to get the gunk off of my face.  Finally, someone offered me this cream they had.

I have always had sensitive skin.  I’m allergic to most shaving creams, lotions, and even adhesives.  Unfortunately, I didn't think about this when I took the offered makeup remover.

I started rubbing this cream on my face and all of my makeup came right off.  It was working great.  It was quick, effective, and not that messy.  Then my face started to swell.

I didn’t panic.   Much.  I walked quickly out of the dressing room and tried to find someone to help me.
I stumbled into one of the directors who grabbed a parent to run out and get me some medicine.  They then sat me in the ticket booth and ordered me not to move.

Apparently ever since I had left the dressing room, my face had swollen to about twice its normal size.  I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the glass in the ticket booth window.  I looked like an angry koala.

I sat there for half an hour.  Eventually, the parent returned from the store and handed me the Benadryl.  I sat in the ticket booth a popped allergy medicine until the end of strike.  While everyone else was hard at work cleaning, I sat with my face feeling like a moonbounce.

Yet, in spite of my suffering, I learned something important that day.  If you ever want to avoid work, all you have to do is have an allergic reaction.

Benadryl, getting me out of work since 2005

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sometimes I Pretend to be a Dance Major

The Music Man is done.

I finished working on The Music Man with no additional catastrophes (excluding an overheating projector, a collapsing spot light, and a misfiring confetti cannon) and have moved onto my next production, The Life of Galileo.

I am currently assistant stage managing for The Life of Galileo, and everything has been running smoothly.  It’s almost spooky how well things are going, it seems like we’re due for some sort of accident.  The director obviously shares my feelings as he has given me the same rule over and over again, “No injuries!”
The director is worried about my safety.  Apparently I take, “unnecessary risks,” whether I’m learning how to do a cartwheel or pretending to be a dance major.  I think I’m being perfectly safe, but the director does not agree.  Obviously he doesn’t know I haven’t been hurt in a theater in five years.

Five years ago, I was stage managing Bye Bye Birdie.  It was mid-January, and the production had just moved into the performance space.  A group of us were hanging lights after rehearsal when we got hungry.  We ordered Chinese.  I ordered orange chicken.

Thirty minutes later, we were all prepared to sit down on the stage and enjoy our much deserved dinner, when I realized we didn’t have any utensils.  So, in my attempt to be helpful, I leapt up and ran to the ticket booth to get us all forks out of the supply cabinet.

The theater we were working in seats 654 people in a raked house.  The ticket booth is located outside of the top of the house.  In case you haven’t guessed, this difference in elevation is important.
I found the forks easily enough and burst back into the theater.  I walked to the top of the stairs and called down to the stage, “I got the for-“

And I tripped.

I tripped and rolled down twenty four stairs.  I rolled faster and faster down to the bottom of the theater.  Forks flew everywhere.  Finally, I slammed my head into a seat in the front row.

I sat up, shouting, “I’m okay!”

Then I felt something drip down the side of my face.

I was bleeding pretty badly.

The other technicians sprang into action.  Two of them helped me into a chair, while two others ran off in search of something cold to stop the swelling and something absorbent to stop the bleeding.
I sat there in a daze.  Someone asked for my cell phone to call my mom.  I guess I gave it to them.  I don’t really remember.  Eventually, the person who had gone searching for something to soak up the blood came back.  The only thing they could find was a box of napkins.

These weren’t normal napkins.  These napkins were left over from an anniversary party that had been held in the theater a few years earlier.  They all said, “With Love…” across the front.

Then the person who had gone looking for ice returned.  They had even less luck.  They had gone in the freezer in the ticket booth, only to find that we didn’t have any ice, ice packs, or even frozen vegetables, all we had was pasta.

Frozen pasta.

At some point, someone had cooked rigatoni, coated it in marinara, and stuck it in the freezer.  I don’t know who.  I don’t know why.  But it was cold, and the knot on my head was swelling to the size of a softball.
So, they stuck some, “With Love…” on my head, as well as a Ziploc baggie full of pasta and I sat as still as I could.  I sat there for fifteen minutes until my mom could show up and take me to the emergency room.  As I left the theater, they handed my mom a dish from the Chinese restaurant.  I remember thinking, “Hey, if I survive, I’ll get to eat orange chicken later.”

We sat in the emergency room for half an hour.  I’m pretty sure I saw someone with a gunshot wound, but I could have been delirious.  I sat in my chair, clinging to my pasta and napkins as hard as I could.

Everything was fine.

I got six staples and a huge headache that night.

I went home.  After the whole ordeal I was starving.  I remembered the orange chicken.  I grabbed the dish and stuck it in the microwave, ready for the most delicious meal of my life.  I had cheated death, and I was really going to enjoy this meal.

The microwave beeped.  I pulled out the food, sat down at the table, and took off the lid, ready for a good meal.

It was Szechwan beef.

They had given me the wrong meal.

I don’t like Szechwan beef.

I ate it anyway, and wiped my mouth with a “With Love…” napkin afterwards.