In theatre, you travel. A lot. And after a while, you begin to create your own urban tribe of show people. We spend the holidays together. We spend birthdays together. We work and play and spend nearly all our time as a unit. And then the show closes. We all go our separate ways, and aside from a chosen few, we don’t really speak off of Facebook until the next show we do together.
But there is a certain bond you gain from doing the impossible magic that is theatre eight times a week with people. The memories you make while doing quick changes stay with you forever.
I had a friend once (Ok, I know how sad that sounds, but just keep reading.) I haven’t spoken to her in forever. She has a big kid life now, and I’m a terrible person who doesn’t really keep in touch with anyone, but she is wonderful. One of those friends you can count on no matter what. Drunk, bleeding, naked, or all three at once, she’s the one you go to.
I fell down the stairs once and got a huge splinter in my behind. I didn’t trust my husband with a giant needle and my butt, so I really had to think about who I wanted to poke around my naked arse with a sharp needle. And of course, I ended up running to my reliable friend who didn’t bat an eye and got the splinter out with the precision of a costume shop pro.
Soon after, we were doing a farce while rehearsing for The Producers. I kept getting giant bruises on my toosh. There’s a Little Old Lady Number where we were dancing with walkers, and both sides of my bum were solid black and blue. Which wouldn’t have been such a problem, but in the farce we were performing while rehearsing The Producers I had to enter butt first through a window in only underwear. And I wasn’t allowed to wear tights. The whole thing suddenly became a lot less cute when it looked like I had been using my hips as bumper lanes at a bowling alley.
So my dear friend, who had already taken a splinter from my butt, started painting my bruises with tattoo cover before every show. For two solid weeks at fifteen minutes to places, I would stand up and bend over the counter, finishing my eye makeup while she painted in the blue spots.
She never asked questions or judged my butt. She just helped. And that is true theatrical friendship. Someone who will literally save your butt, no questions asked.