Theatre Pains

Well, it is that time again. When a young man's thoughts turn to ... the Tampa Theatre production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show! What, you thought it was love or something like that?! C'mon, how lame do you think I am? Don't answer that!.

A couple weeks ago were the auditions. People were made and broken by the castings made, and let's face it, in theatre, when doesn't that happen? Most of the cast sat around gossiping about the year's events since we last saw each other, joking about the casting ritual that most of us had been subjected to for the past few years, and wondering what scenes would be used for the auditions. Many were talking about the Frank audition, some about Tom, who was suffering an unknown ailment, a few about props.

After auditions and the casting was over, there were tears, there were jeers, there were broken spirits and cloud 9 walkers. However, more importantly, at least to me was that rehearsals were announced. Being that I was hoping to be props director again, I wanted to get started off on the right foot right off the bat. A couple of the props crew from last year had already told me that they already saw me as director because they had respect for me and knew that I could do it, so I felt a bit better knowing that I had their support, but support doesn't a decision make. I began early putting myself in the mindset of 'She who knows what's going on', 'She who can make it work', and other such nonsense that I thought would give me the confidence I lacked. Finally, the first rehearsal arived.

I set the alarm for 6:00am to give me plenty of time to wake up and leisurely get to the theatre a bit early. At 7:00am, my internal clock screams, "LISA! The alarm didn't go off! You better get up NOW and start hauling ASS!" I didn't believe it, but checking the bedside clock, I realized it had stopped, and Joel suggested I check the time off another clock. Seeing that I was probably going to be late, I started getting ready at the speed of light. I was dressed, saying 'have a good day!' and running out the door within 5 minutes. I came from Pasco all the way to the theatre in roughly 45 minutes. Yes, I was a speed demon, yes I am very lucky that there were no police on the way, yes everyone else on the road did very well for themselves by staying out of my way.

I got out of my car, grabbed my props script and stood outside with a few others while waiting to get started. I snagged a few props people and began dragging props out of the 'attic' in the back storage room and we started getting set up. The first rehearsal of the year was going to be a straight run-thru of the movie with no stopping. There were only 3 props who had done it the year before, I was really worried about making a good showing. I considered this first run-thru my audition, and I really didn't want to blow it. We started of fairly well, Jessica, Ryan and I falling back into habits from last year, and Nicole and Tony picked up the pace like pros. Then it happened.

I went to take a prop off the stage before realizing that the stairs that I was used to running down were plugged, making them stage, not stair. I saw Chris M. run up to the edge of the stage to take the prop from me and then I jumped down off the stage. My back grumbled at me, but I paid it no mind, instead rushing backstage to get ready for the next move which was the coffin. Tony and I started moving the coffin and my back really started bothering me. After getting backstage, I went to my knees, rubbing my back hoping it was just the strain of not being this active in a while. Jessica asked me if I wanted her to go get Brian or Kristie (the directors) and my response, as I stretched and tested my back, was, "No. I am not blowing my props director audition just because of my back. I'll be fine." Famous last words, huh?

I noticed that another move, the dreaded table, was coming up. I rushed out on stage, again with Tony right behind me, picked up my end of the table and immediately collapsed. I literally crawled backstage, curled up in a ball on the floor and started to cry. I was crying for two reasons, one being the pain I was in coupled with being embarassed. Coming in a close second was that I was convinced that there was no way I would be props director this year. I was totally convinced that I had blown it.

Jessica rushed away to get some Motrin, and Kristie was talking to me asking why I had continued. I told her the truth which was that I didn't realize how bad it was until it was too late. In the midst of this, I realized that I was shaking. I also, despite just wanting to lie there feeling sorry for myself, continued to help Tony and Nicole by keeping them up to speed on different prop moves. I took the Motrin, got assisted outside and sat down to have a cigarette. Have you ever tried to smoke when you are shaking like a leaf on a tree? It isn't easy, I tell you.

I eventually went back inside and from a chair in the front row, still tried to help the crew. I realized afterwards that they were all probably ok without me, but I felt so bad and useless not being able to be up there with them that I wanted to feel like I was contributing something. I had never felt like such an outsider at Rocky before. Not even after performing and immediately going onto crutches because my ankle hurt so much. Not when I left cast but still came to watch. But being at a rehearsal and being as useful as braille on a drive thru ATM, that really bothered me.

At the end of rehearsal, I was feeling better, not 100%, but getting there. I tried to help break down the props, but I was immediately scolded by Tony and Jessica. I was then told by Brian and Kristie that I was not to touch certain props, and that Jessica would rather suffer my wrath at being told not to do something than their's if she let me. I moved some small items, gathered the props people in the back and told them that I would revamp the props script that I made last year to fit this year, and thanked them profusely for their support while I was injured.

After rehearsal, I left and went back to Joel's and told him what happened. He told me that regardless of anything else, he was upset that I hurt myself and then tried to keep going, but knowing that I had friends who would support me as they did today, made him feel better, that I would be ok. I was still kicking myself because I know that I will never be a lead cast member, but I know that I can kick ass as a props director and I am still afraid that I may have blown it.

There is another rehearsal on Saturday, so I'll be getting back on the horse and trying harder than before to prove that I can do it, but more than that, that I can do it well.