Right now I’m in the middle of what actors call cross over. This means performing one show eight times a week while learning another. I have done this many times. A successful crossover requires preparation, hard work, and coffee. You must clean all of your panties before crossover starts. Stock up on food, Emergen-C, coffee, and Tums. And remember not to panic.
Once upon a time, when I was a fresh young actor, I was doing summer stock. I was performing a mainstage show and a kid’s show, while rehearsing another mainstage show and another kid’s show. It was a pretty hardcore thing. I was at the theatre about thirteen hours a day. I was not sleeping, and I almost cried about once an hour. I had a dressing room spot that was all mine all summer. And every time I went to a costume fitting, they would just hang the new costumes with the ones I was already using.
One day I was in the middle of the show and I found myself alone and mostly naked in the dressing room. Suddenly, I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. I knew I needed to be doing something and I should probably be wearing more clothing to do it. I looked at my costumes and had no idea which of the twenty-some I should be wearing. So, I did the only thing I could think of. I stood there and cried.
The wardrobe mistress came in and found me crying in my panties. He thought something horrible had happened like I broke myself or had been dumped by my future husband.
I managed to get out the words. “I don’t know what show!” in between snotty sobs.
Somehow he managed to get me into my pink bustled and corseted Victorian costume. He said he didn’t know what I should do now, but an ensemble number was about to start. He shoved me on stage, and I learned the importance of muscle memory. I made it through the show and the crossover.
Compared to that, I think this one should be cake. But wish me luck. I hope I can remember the difference between my 1960’s and 1860’s costumes!