Tuesday, October 27, 2009
To pee or not to pee
An opening night haiku:
Must pee before “places” call
Timing is crucial
There are many, many things that require concentration and attention on opening night. Lines, of course; props, costume, hair and make-up; last minute notes from the director; awareness of the audience's response (don’t want to step on any laughs); microphone placement; telling the story as we rehearsed it. All cylinders must be firing.
I can say from personal experience that nothing turns your brain to mush faster than a full bladder. I have my pre-show toilet routine down to a science. At ½ hour before curtain, I put on my make-up, curl my hair, and get dressed. At 15 minutes, I’m stretching, warming up vocally, maybe running a few lines. When the stage manager calls “5 minutes”, I am in the bathroom. Then we go to places.
On this particular opening night, Matthew Wiener gave his curtain speech… and then came the dreaded announcement: “We’re holding for technical difficulties.” NOOOO!!! 5 minutes pass… 10 minutes. Should I return to my dressing room and go again? Can’t risk it. (Dang, I shouldn’t have had that iced tea with dinner.)Before full-blown panic sets in, the curtain goes up. I climb the stairs to my position on stage. The show begins. The lights are hot… my mouth is dry. Sweet dehydration! I can do this after all.
by Cathy Dresbach