Opinion

The show must go on, even without clothes

by
May 29, 2017

Cartoon courtesy of Jess Rae from Doodley Squat.

THIS is my last shameless plug for Echuca-Moama Theatre Company’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot which finishes this weekend.

Yesterday was our fourth show and I’m hoping (as I am writing this in advance) it went off without a hitch.

But you know theatre.

Anything can happen and it does.

I should know, but I’m sure you’ve all seen my slip up (or slip down I should say).

Spamalot has the highest number of costumes of any show EMTC has performed so you can imagine wardrobe malfunctions are inevitable.

I am one of six Laker Girls and some of our costume changes are less than a minute, which means we just have to strip off side of stage.

You can’t be shy in the theatre. The only thing you need to worry about is walking on stage on time, without your skirt hitched into your undies and your zipper stuck halfway up your back.

And if that means stripping half naked in front of the sound guy and backstage crew, you do it.

Speaking of sound and lighting, people don’t realise how much goes into the technical side of theatre.

Ensuring microphones are working and when they are supposed to be turned on and off (otherwise you’ll be listening to excited giggles, ‘‘OMG did you see me almost stack it!’ or, even worse, toilet flushing).

And there’s nothing worse than singing a song to the wrong music.

Lighting is just as important.

I can’t be standing in the dark without a spotlight when I perform my world-famous high kicks.

What makes things even more challenging is that we only have three rehearsals at the Paramount before opening night.

Which means only three practice runs with sound, lighting and props.

This is a highly stressful time and I have been known to become a little obsessive and crazy.

I once made a clown cry due to my direct criticism. Not one of my proudest moments.

It’s a condition I call PTSD — pre-theatre stress disorder.

The week before the show, I manage to convince myself that we are nowhere near ready to perform and my long and slow descent into hell concludes every night with the same dream — me alone on stage with no recollection of which musical I’m in only to discover I am butt naked.

All the weeks of pre-theatre dieting, to ensure I fit into the skimpy outfits, fall in a giant heap the night before the show as I secretly gorge myself on chocolate followed by hours of running on the spot and starjumps in a mass-guilt frenzy.

However, all that built-up angst dissipates as soon as I step onto that stage. 

As I put on my biggest smile and hope to God I am fully clothed.

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