Wednesday, August 11, 2004

sketch. the good kind.

on the theory that you, as a reader, can't fully understand who i am without knowing random stories from my childhood, i'm going to write a little about one of my worst summers ever. also because my other alternatives are packing -- unpacking, THEN packing -- or watching yet another episode of either the sopranos or the west wing.

here goes.

i wanted to be the witch and instead i was the steward. i wanted to be bernadette peters and instead i was -- i didn't even know! no one knew the name of the actor who originated the role of the steward in into the woods on broadway in 1987, and why would they? all the steward did was badinage a little with cinderella's prince and then kill jack's mother. jack's mother, incidentally, was one of the parts the auditioning team called me back for. also little red riding hood. did i get either? noooooooo. the most self-posessed 13 year old you ever saw, a beautiful black girl named tessa, became little red riding hood, and i became the steward. not even the steward: one-THIRD of the steward! i had to share my miniscule, sorry excuse for a role with TWO OTHER PEOPLE.

please understand: into the woods was my favorite show in the world and bernadette peters was my favorite actress. the previous year, in a BAPA summer production, i had played the Princess in The Princess and the Pea. that means, in case you need guidance, i had the title role. ensemble went one way during rehearsal days; i went another. i went with the stars, the other stars, like the prince who i had to dance and hold hands with -- no kissing, not even on the cheek, the director decided -- during the climax of the show. when i returned to the dressing room after the curtain call, the cast turned and cheered for me in one voice. ever since, i'd been addicted to applause, and? as the steward? i knew i wasn't going to get shit.

why was being 12 so much harder than being 11? how had i gone from royalty to servant, from sex object to asexual, from the last curtain call to the first? when our director gave the cast a stern talking to about the making out backstage i could only look embarassed i had no one to make out with. the summer before, billy, a fellow cast member, had finally worked up the courage to pass me a note saying, "i like you. call me. billy." i was still the same person, wasn't i? billy wanted to watch surf ninjas and adams family values with me, show me how to beat mario games, introduce me to his parrot -- why didn't anyone in this cast?

the worst moment of all came when the director, for a moment, decided to pay attention to the stewards. okay, she said, i want you all to practice walking. she wanted us to look like the wicked witch's guards in wizard of oz. so up we got and before the rest of the cast, a cast which had real acting and singing to do, we practiced walking in a circle. only, the room had three walls made of mirrors, and i couldn't help but notice in several of them that i had a stain on the back of my white-and-blue striped limited shirt. i started walking faster, hoping perhaps i could outrun it. i tripped on the steward in front of me; he tripped on the steward in front of him. i walked even faster. soon we were a blur, tripping, speed-walking, glaring at each other, until finally the director, with a tinge of disgust in her voice, put us out of our misery. we never practiced walking again and i never wore that shirt again because at that point no one had revealed the secret to getting blood out of fabric (in case any pubescent girls are reading this: cold water).

the point is, yes the point, is, that i've finished going through puberty. tada! i'm done, as of this summer. my face has stopped breaking out. my face started breaking out when i was 12 so that means puberty took only 10 years. that's not bad, right? i mean, i don't know what the national average is or anything, but 10 years, that seems okay. at least now that's it over. and thank god i never have to do it again.

No comments: