Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Tonight was the culmination of a year's work. It was the awards ceremony for my theater organization. This wasn't your mama's Easter Egg hunt on the church lawn. This was a full-blown, hometown Tony Awards. I am the President. The buck stops here. And I didn't have a CLUE what I was doing.

In the two weeks leading up to this event, I had tech week for another show, started my kids in their first week of school, and had a major deadline for work. Tech week, in the theater world, is a special kind of hell. You rehearse every night leading up to the show, late into the night, and then you have the show itself.

I don't know why I thought I could do a show, work, and host an awards ceremony during the first week of school.  All I can think of is that the marijuana I smoked in college is still having some residual effects.  

I auditioned for the show because it was about Elvis, and I worked at Graceland for 3 months following college. I was a secretary in the communications department, and had the distinct pleasure of repeating to outraged fans the official press release of Lisa Marie's marriage to Michael Jackson, taking agoraphobics on tours of the Jungle Room, and fielding crank calls from my mother's closeted co-worker from the Tallahassee historic home tour circuit.

I auditioned for the show because that's what I love to do, and it was a 99% female cast, which is my favorite. But, as I am sure my fellow cast mates can attest, perhaps the show did not love me. I fell asleep in a chair many nights, unable to muster up the steam to push through until curtain call.

And then there is my response to stress.  If I'm freaked, it's going to show --- I develop tumors on my face.  Not pimples - something more like hives on steroids.  I've tried and tried, but they come when they want and they leave when they are damn good and ready.  The stress level in my life was enough to roll out the red carpet for a few, and so, this morning, as I was racing around to get the ceremony ready, I welcomed a testicle on my chin.  

But I really didn't care.  Because between all the ceremony drama, like missing pianos and angry stage managers, I also had to handle a texting disaster between my daughter and her friend, as well as the realization that I didn't print the nominee certificates on the same color paper, that I had failed to secure a trophy girl, and that I actually did not have time to properly get ready for the ceremony. I wasn't even supposed to be in charge of this thing, but the board member who was in charge literally disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle of Irresponsibility.

So, after a private meltdown in my car and some gagging, I rehearsed a number for the ceremony, and then with 20 minutes until I had to open the box office, I called my husband, who is not a theater person.

Him: "Hello?"
Me: "I need you to get here as soon as possible with my red dress, open toed black shoes, nail polish, a flat iron, and a phone charger."
Him: "Hello?"

He found the red dress, which I had worn to the ceremony a few years back and apparently had failed to have dry-cleaned, because the old sweat stains lingered under the arm pittage area.  I tried to wipe them off, but new sweat found its way in. I'm not talking a little perspiration.  I am talking a full-blown, medical anomaly sweat experience.  Like when you wave at someone and smell something really bad in the wind, and then determine that YOU are the source of the odor. And that there are tributaries fanning out under your arms and you have to hold them flat at your sides to both contain the stink and the visual of the sweat.

In 5 minutes time, I threw on makeup, flat ironed the bumps out of my hair, abandoned my bra because I had forgotten to request a strapless, and, without having prepared a single word, opened the ceremony.

I have no idea what I said or how I looked, but apparently, I pulled it off.  There were a few weird noises and a reference to birthing Bette Midler, but, it seemed to work.  I got great feedback at the VIP party, and, aside from some blisters on my feet, have emerged intact.  

It will take me some time to recover, but I survived, and as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive.

Until next time, keep crowin' and don't overbook!

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