The very first internship I ever did with a professional company was when I was about sixteen years old. The company was tiny, and I don’t think they really had an intern program. I don’t even think they were really sure why I kept showing up three days a week. But my mom kept telling me to get into the car and the theatre kept letting me in so whatever.
The company did a lot of really cool Shakespeare and avant-garde work, but I was there for the children’s show Frog and Toad. And not even the super fun musical version. It was just people saying they were animals, and there was dark lighting. I really don’t know what was happening.
I was cast as a ferret in a fedora, and I had two lines that were meant to be sinister, but they really weren’t. Honestly, I would love to get my hands on that script to see if it would make more sense through my much more experienced eyes.
The only thing I really, clearly remember is the tongue.
Apart from my ferret playing, I also did little tasks around the theatre. I stuffed programs, swept the stage, and ran little errands. Usually it was like go buy coffee from the grocery store down the street.
One morning, they asked me to go to the store to buy some food props for the show. The list had several things on it. Like crackers, pickles, and tongue.
I didn’t look at the list until I got to the store. And when I read tongue, first I laughed thinking it was clearly a joke then remembered that the director who made the list didn’t joke and nearly threw up.
I panicked in the aisle for a while until a bagger came to hit on me and I told him to go away, I needed tongue. He looked excited for a minute, but I walked away to find a nice middle age lady who was working in the store and asked her for tongue.
And they had it. A nasty pickled tongue in a jar. Just floating there all dead and disgusting. And I had to buy it, carry it back to the theatre, and look at that nasty tongue every show onstage.
That awful tongue taught me two things. One, I will never ever eat tongue. Two, I do not want to be a props mistress. I will stick to the stage, thank you very much.