What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Bear-Pocalypse May 25, 2015

Filed under: Myths and Legends — meganorussell @ 8:30 pm
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In the theatre where I am currently working we have a real bearskin decorating the wall. I’m in Alaska, so I promise Mr. Dead Bear makes sense. As I was staring at MDB the other day, I got to wondering. What if there was a bear Zombie Apocalypse? What if all the bears in Denali suddenly became zombies and began to eat each other. Not that big bears won’t eat each other now, but what if the bears began to hunt like zombies? (more…)


Chris’s Corner of Conundrums and Comprehension – Episode Two: A Bulgarian in Alaska May 23, 2015

Filed under: Chris's Corner — meganorussell @ 3:31 pm
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Megan and I are spending our third consecutive summer in Denali Park, Alaska, which is quite possibly the most addictively beautiful place I have ever visited. Hence why we keep coming back.

A couple of the bigger corporations that operate in and around Denali hire their staff from around the world, namely from Bulgaria. I love being around people from different parts of the globe. I get to learn about their culture and a few choice phrases, not all of which would necessarily be proper in polite company, but still, it’s a wonderful life experience.

The other night, I got to hear my first Bulgarian joke. One of my Bulgarian colleagues was sitting with my other coworkers and me around a fire. He got to have his first s’more, and he heard many jokes from us. One of my coworkers asked if he had any jokes that he would like to share. He said that he did have one, but it might not translate well. Of course, we all said that we wanted to hear it. And here it is, to the best of my remembrance: (more…)


How Many Actors Can You Fit In A Closet? May 18, 2015

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 8:30 pm
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How many actors can you fit in a closet?

No, really. This is an actual question. And I don’t mean the metaphorical hiding one’s sexuality closet. How many actors can you fit in an actual closet?

This has recently become a very important question in my life. The theatre I’m working at for the summer, which I love dearly, has recently transitioned to a new space. They brought the costumes, the quilts, and the spirit, but they didn’t bring the dressing room space.

There is a little closet, and that is where we all have to change. I’d say it’s roughly about 3×9, and there are five-to-seven actors that need to dress for every show.

Doing your makeup or hair in the dressing closet is an absolute “no.” And trying to change into dance tights is a precarious proposition at best. If you want to put on your show shoes, you’ll have to go out into the audience, since there is nowhere to sit in the closet but on the floor, and if you do sit on the floor, you take up 50% of the available space.

You could dress in the audience, but as it’s a dinner theatre, that means that your butt cheeks are out in full view of not only your fellow actors but the kitchen staff as well.

I live on the theatre property, but if I dressed before work, I would be running around outside the theatre with my boobs up to my chin, putting unnecessary wear on my costume and having to eat dinner in it, which risks stains. Then there is always the risk of rain or other inclement weather and the fact that I would have to bring my mic home with me every night since it gets buried so far down in my panties I would have to take my costume back off to put the mic on as soon as I got to the theatre if I tried to dress without it.

So, with all those options ruled out, the question again becomes: How many actors can you fit in a closet?

The answer: as many as corporate says can.



The Stuck Siren May 16, 2015

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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I grew up next door to a volunteer fire department. And by next door, I mean I could stare into their window from my bedroom window, which provided quite the education on the occasions when the firemen hired strippers.

While I appreciate that firemen, whether volunteer or otherwise, put themselves at great personal risk to help others, these men were just plain dumb. It usually showed itself in little ways that most of the village didn’t notice and my family was only privy to due to our proximity to the firehouse side door.

Like the time all the eighteen-year-olds joined the department and started hanging out at the fire station all the time. It took the chief a while to realize that the vending machine he had installed that doled out dollar beers with no one to check IDs might have something to do with the boys’ enthusiasm.

But the time that really took the cake was when the firemen decided they needed a summer project. They all got together and dry-walled the ceiling of the firehouse, boarding over and covering up the hatch to the roof where the fire siren sat. But that’s no big deal, right? What Fire Department needs a way to get to their fire siren? (more…)


Chris’s Corner of Conundrums and Comprehension – Episode One: Dinner Theatre May 13, 2015

Filed under: Myths and Legends — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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Welcome one and all to Chris’s Corner of Conundrums and Comprehension. This is my first of what will eventually be multiple guest posts on lifebeyondexaggeration.

Megan and I are currently working in Alaska for a dinner theatre show in which we portray actual, historical figures. Well, I portray Harry Karstens, first superintendent of Denali National Park, and Megan plays a showgirl based on real-life roadhouse showgirls who existed during the time of the gold strike on the Klondike and in Alaska.

I say all of that to say this: wouldn’t it be great if you could go to restaurants where your servers portrayed (my new favorite word apparently) characters from your favorite books/television shows? For instance, imagine a Game of Thrones-themed restaurant. Would you ever trust a beverage delivered to you by Olenna Tyrell? How long would it take to get an answer about dinner and drink specials from Hodor? (more…)


Car Choices in the Apocalypse (Or Is a Hummer Worth It?) May 11, 2015

A few weeks ago, I saw a Hummer driving down the road. Naturally, the conversation moved to questioning the need for such a large vehicle. Does it have to do with the size of genitalia? Is it about showing off how much money you make? Cause I mean seriously, outside of the military, why would you actually need a Hummer? And then I realized why Hummers are necessary.

The Zombie Apocalypse. (more…)


The Girlfriend from Canada May 9, 2015

Having grown up in the theatre, gay people have always been the norm to me. It took me a really, really long time to even figure out why people think it’s such a big deal. Honestly, I still don’t get it, but I’ve sat through several explanations.

When I was sixteen I had been performing with a theatre company for a while and had made several good friends. One of the boys who I was close to invited me over to his house for his birthday party. It was all the kids I had been performing with, so I was super excited to go. When I got to his house I was greeted outside by the birthday boy. He pulled me quickly aside to ask for a favor.

He needed me to be his girlfriend for the night. See, I knew birthday boy was gay. All our friends knew he was gay, but his parents had made it abundantly clear that if he was gay, he would no longer be allowed to participate in a homosexual activity like theatre. His mother had been pushing him to find a girlfriend, and since he had lots of pictures of us together, and she had never actually met me, birthday boy had lied to his mother and told her we were dating. All he wanted for his birthday was for me to keep up the pretense. And perhaps get his mother to ban him from ever seeing me again so he could refuse to date anyone else in protest until he got to leave for college.

I mean…who can say no to a request like that? So I sat draped on his lap, waiting for his mother to come down to the basement. (more…)



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