Monday, January 21, 2008

Mrs. Warren - Concerns

January 21, 2008

We start tech week tomorrow. On our day off today I went to the theatre to deposit one load of necessaries to my dressing room: makeup; Equity Deputy Packet; a case of Diet Sprite; wig for between show days; long red sweater. We were happily informed that the theatre will be kept cold during tech so that those under the lights for hours won’t melt like the wicked witch into a puddle on the stage floor. Which means for those sitting in the house, you’d better have something warm to put on for the duration. (Our Stage Manager, Catherine, just stays in her coat the whole show.)

(On the dressingroom doors were our names, in an elegant frame. This is a real classy joint. I later put a photo up under mine. See attached photo.)

I also went down and walked about the set for five minutes or so. The main stage platform is 6" or more off the stage floor, and then there’s a “slip” wagon that is drawn out which is about 4" high. I doubt I’ll be able to draw up my skirts enough with one hand to manage getting up on the main platform as husband and I enter from the vom. So I may have to pass off my parasol to him, or cut the parasol, which would be a pity as I’m sure it will be a pretty image. And that will also be true of our entrance in Shaw’s Act III. I will spend much time endeavoring to make it work, but there are limits to one’s abilities in corset, long dress, with reticule and fan in left hand and parasol in right.

One major concern for me is going up and down these differing platform heights. I had achilles surgery March last and I am barely able to walk without a limp. For the past ten months I have worn only flats and am now in a heel appropriate to the period (lace up boots). It’s difficult enough to maneuver in those, but with the added burden of a multi-level set, it will be an even greater challenge. As soon as we open I hope to get to the gym and continue to try to strengthen that calf and ankle. One of the things I mentioned early on to our director was my concern that the dress might get caught on the edge of the stage. I’ve been in the business 35 plus years and have done enough period pieces to have experienced most of the disasters that can occur. And snags are quite common. I once did Strindberg’s Playing with Fire at the Roundabout and the costumer had me in a frilly silk dress - layers and layers of gorgeous pink silk. I believe it was the first dress rehearsal, where I got up from the wicker couch and the dress snagged on a piece of the wicker. It just tore about a 14" rip in the silk. I thought to myself, “DON’T DESIGNERS TALK TO EACH OTHER???? You have a wicker couch and a frilly silk full length dress????” NOT a good idea, kids. Anyway - I’m a bit gun shy of snagging after THAT experience. Tomorrow will tell the tale. Will I be right in my fears or wrong? And if right, oh heaven help me.

Thinking about the set and costume and boots and platforms kept me awake half of one night. It’s amazing to try to act when you are bound up like a mummy in a corset, bustle, petty coat, underskirt, overskirt, blouse, gloves, wig, hat.....

(Turns out all of my worries were for naught. It all worked out just fine. It usually does. Why don’t I ever remember that?!!! Dumb.)

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