Every once in a while, I pull of something amazing and wonderful. The other times, however- I’m an embarrassment to myself and others around me.
Last evening, the second night of Talley’s Folly, was no exception. On either account.
See, it started when I skipped a line in the first act of the show. It got us a little mixed up. Right off the bat. I mean, it was the like the 10th line in the show. One that I know in my sleep. But I missed it. And it got me all riled up. Which wasn’t the best thing that could happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I am supposed to be pretty huffy during this show. My character Sally has got some deep deep issues. (Kinda like me, I suppose...) But she’s a lot more of a witch than I am.
So I used my frustration to motivate the moment. Which is what I should have done. Cause I'm a professional.
What I shouldn’t have done was go immediately to the “actor’s area” (our makeshift backstage- the room where they make wine at Sleepy Creek Vineyards) at the beginning of intermission instead of going directly to the bathroom like I usually do. Nope, Charlie was so riled up that I was determined to go backstage and discuss with Matt what the line was that I had dropped.
So we talked about it and figured out that because we had missed that line, we missed some others too. It was a snowball effect. Before anyone who was at the show last night thinks that they got gyped, nothing that we missed was important to the story. Actually, it was what we call “filler dialogue.” It only added to the story, but missing the lines didn’t take away from anything. You still got the whole story. We just accidently made a long story shorter.
So we got it all figured out, and quite frankly, I had a glass of wine to calm the nerves. By then I was pretty much whipped up into a frenzy and was burning up. Sweat pouring off of me. (You all know how much I like to sweat.)
Matt and I went outside for a minute to get a breath of fresh air and cool off a bit. (Poor Matt is doing the show in a suit. He was hot from the moment he put the jacket on!) So the second we stepped outside behind Sleepy Creek, I realized that an even bigger mistake I had made for the evening, more massive than me forgetting a line, was that I had not already gone pee.
See, Dawn and Joe, who own the vineyard, have been extremely hospitable. They have made certain accommodations for me about the bathroom, since there is only one. Because I have to share it with the audience, they barricade it off till I get a chance to potty first. I pee exactly twice during a 20 minute intermission- once at the beginning, and once at the end. It’s just what I do.
But because I had foolishly chosen not to pee but to figure out the line I had missed, that meant I was left in a desperate situation the moment that cold air hit me.
I had to go pee. And I had to go RIGHT THEN.
I knew there was a line at the bathroom, and there was no way I was going to be a diva and insist that I could cut in line because I was the “talent.” (And I am using that term loosely.)
Being an interprising person that I am, I decided the best course of action was to pee outside, behind the building. A, because I had to go within the next 30 seconds and B, because I had my legs crossed so tight that I couldn’t have walked to the bathroom.
Now, there is this old porch swing, slated for the burn pile, on the ground behind the vineyard. And I know from previous experiences that peeing outside can be messy. It splatters and splashes on your legs. Since I was wearing off white hose, that would have been bad. Instead I got the genius idea that I could pee sitting over the side of the porch swing on the ground, using it to brace myself and put some distance between the splatters and my costume. Matt ran inside to grab a couple of napkins for me and then helped hold the swing steady so I could assume the position, with my rear end hanging over the back of the swing 2 feet from the ground.
What I didn’t account for became glaringly obvious within two seconds after I finally started to pee.
1. The fact that when the cold air hits your cheeks, you lose all semblance of control. There is no easing into a gentle potty break. It’s more like Niagara Falls. Forceful and dangerous.
2. The slatted back of the porch swing, which did NOTHING to stop the splatters. I could feel hot liquid hit the backs of my legs immediately. Which turned to cold liquid in an instant. All over the backs of my legs and onto my shoes.
3. My sweet darling husband would immediately recognize the dilemma of this situation, quickly determine if he stayed there holding the broken swing steady- he was going to get splattered and sprayed too, from the sheer force. So he let go of the swing.
4. WHEN MATT LET GO OF THE SWING, it became top heavy, and pitched backwards towards the snow and puddle.
5. When the swing pitched backwards, I made some sort of ninja leap upwards, midstream of course, and immediately heard the worst sound a person in this position can possibly hear.
Yep. My dress, the costume, started to pull apart. It was tight anyway, and that’s totally my fault for not getting my butt in gear with the diet. But the fact remained that the dress had just experienced something traumatic.
Meanwhile, I am not ashamed to tell you that I finished peeing. I was already committed. And it was gonna happen with or without my permission.
I am also quite happy to report that Matt was standing there the entire time LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY at me. Happy valentines day to you too, honey. You are there when I need you most. Albeit giggling like a 5 year old. (But can you really blame him?)
We went back inside, and by then I am really panicked. We checked my dress, and one of the seams had pulled away from the other on my back. But it wasn’t ripped. It was just almost ripped. You can see light through the seam, but it’s not noticeable unless you know where to look.
I then grabbed a stack of napkins and started to wipe away at the obvious splash marks on the back of my legs and dress. Praying that God would have mercy on my pitiful soul at that moment, I wiped with everything that was in me. I got the majority of what would have been noticeable.
Sitting down to wipe off my pee covered shoes, our director Donna walked in. She picked up pretty quick that I was doing something odd. I think the dead giveaway was Matt pointing and still LAUGHING. I explained matter of factly that I had peed outside because it was an emergency, and she jumped into action, looking for spots on the dress for me to dry. Poor woman. What a hornet’s nest for her to walk into. She will never cast me again, not because of my lack of talent, but my severe lack of bladder control.
We got through the second act without a hitch. Or a rip. But tonight, on the last night of the show, I have learned my lesson.
I am going to be a diva and pee before anyone else.