lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Trouble with Trampolines March 22, 2017

Once upon a time when I was a bright-eyed youth, I worked for a summer stock theatre that performed all their shows in the round. For non-theatre folks, that means that the audience is on all four sides of the stage. We did somewhere around seven shows in twelve weeks or something crazy like that, and one of the shows was the musical Swing!

I love Swing! It’s a great show. Just a bunch of happy, dancing frivolity. I will say it’s an ambitious endeavor for a summer stock. That many dance numbers to put together in a two-week rehearsal process with the entire cast currently performing another show? Not really the ideal situation.

But it was fine. Nobody died. (A few close calls, but we all survived.) And in all this super intense work, they even decided to do a trampoline number.

It was a normal swing number, except we were bouncing off our trampolines and throwing ourselves at our dance partners. It was pretty terrifying. (more…)

 

A Rocky Rat January 11, 2017

Filed under: Animal Antics — meganorussell @ 6:00 pm
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For the past week, I’ve been working out on an island in southwest Florida. It’s gorgeous, it’s amazing, it has a ton of animals. The island is filled with swampy-type critters and sanctuaries for said critters. And we’ve met a few new… friends.

Our lovely director has a kind heart, and when she was coming into the theatre, she found a tiny critter in destress. Naturally, we had to help this rat. Yep: rat. It was a cute rat, mind you. Walking shakily in circles, not really noticing all of us creeping closer to it. The poor little dude was eating a rock. A rat eating a rock. Naturally, we named him Rocky.

Our young, but incredibly apt, Stage Manager called the island’s animal rescue folks, and they said to load poor Rocky into a box and drive him over.

I wish I could say I was one of the ones putting the disoriented rat into the box, but really I just ran and found a box. (more…)

 

Please Ignore the Irrational Tears October 22, 2016

My doctor decided to put me on a short course of prednisone. No big deal, just a little steroidal help. I’ve been on steroids before, usually there’s some sort of unpleasantness involved. Like my face turning red, or growing insta-jowls, cosmetic things that are annoying-yet-temporary.

This time my face decided it didn’t want to react, so I have become a completely irrational human instead. Not like roid ragey—I’m not mad at anyone, not irritable or anything. I just cry. For no real reason, I cry. So since I can’t think of a fun story to tell without become a human faucet, I will instead enumerate the reasons I have cried irrationally in the last few days.

-I did too many pushups.

-My husband brought me two chicken fingers. (I had asked for said chicken fingers.) (more…)

 

Panties Predicament October 3, 2016

I’ve been onstage a few thousand times at least. I’ve made my living for my entire adult life on stage. But there are certain times that having years of muscle memory built up can bite you in the butt.

I just opened Anything Goes this week. It’s a super fun show that I’ve never had the opportunity to do before. I’m an Angel in the show, which in this case means a sultry backup dancer. Rather than design and build the costumes for the show in-house, the company I work for decided to rent the tour/Broadway costumes. And that’s great! They’re beautiful, but they are meant to fit other people.

So while all the costumes are meant to have bloomers (show panties) built into them, there is one costume where the bloomers had to be taken out so I could tunnel into the costume instead of stepping into it. All the other girls get to step into their dresses, but me, with the boobies and the bootie, cannot get into that costume in the customary direction. (more…)

 

The Traumatizing Tongue September 17, 2016

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life,Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 12:30 pm
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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. (more…)

 

That Time They Trusted Me with Fire August 13, 2016

I’m a little accident prone. Okay, I’m significantly accident prone, especially when it comes to fire. Kitchen fires, camp fires, I can destroy things like a pro. And for the last few weeks I’ve been playing the Wicked Witch of the West, complete with real live fire shooting out of my hands.

It’s a little, flash paper device, but it does make a nice little flame.

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Sometimes the thing won’t go off at all; occasionally a ball of fire forms around my hand; and one time I caught a tiny bit of the set on fire. Just the little strings hanging off the twine decorations, but still, set on fire all because of me! Woot woot (and hope I don’t get fired)!

And not only am I supposed to shoot fire out of my hand; I’m supposed to aim for people! Mostly my lovely roomie who plays the Scarecrow. Which is terrifying. Looking at a person, pressing a button, and hoping that fire shoots at them. (more…)

 

On Terrifying Small Children July 25, 2016

I’m not a mean or evil person. At least I like to think I’m a somewhat decent human. But I was asked in a talk back recently if I felt accomplished when I made small children cry.

I’m playing the Wicked Witch right now, and I know more than one tiny human has had to be rushed out of the theatre by a parental unit because my being onstage caused spontaneous freak outs. I’m supposed to be mean and scary, but I don’t want to make small children cry. (more…)