What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

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.


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…)


Better than Hairspray April 4, 2016

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 8:30 pm
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Many eons ago, I was Cordelia in a production of King Lear. I was so thrilled! It was my first real role in a Shakespearian show, and I got to die. How much more can you ask for? Well, apparently I could ask for a personal hair and makeup person for every performance. An experience I have never had since, and after the incident, one I don’t care to repeat.

I don’t know why they decided that I needed my own makeup person. Maybe my face just needed that much help? And most of my hair was covered by a veil (which made me look shockingly like the Virgin Mary) until my death scene. So the hair part of hair and makeup consisted of a hidden bun and two little curls on each side of my face.

About the third time this woman came in to do my hair, she was chatting about how happy she was to get to work with me and how nice my eyebrows were. I thought it was a weird compliment, but whatever. And she chatted and chatted. And I thought my dressing room was beginning to smell strange. I told her, but she thought one of the mirror light bulbs had gotten some dust on it and was burning it off. I wasn’t super worried about it, so we moved on to her doing my hair.

She started curling the hair right by my forehead, and the smell got so much worse, and then my hair started to smoke. I screamed, she screamed, we both screamed together. She pulled the curling iron away from my hair, and my hair was still smoking! (more…)


Boiled and Burned July 1, 2015

Filed under: I Meant Well — meganorussell @ 4:26 pm
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I have a confession to make. A few months ago I reached a new low. I’ve been avoiding telling you all the sad tale, but sometimes a good story is more important than pride.

So here it goes. I started a tiny kitchen fire while boiling water.

It’s okay to laugh. There was no permanent damage, and I didn’t get in trouble with my artistic director.

The husband had just finished making chicken for dinner, and while I was talking to my mother on the phone before we went to the theatre, I decided I wanted a cup of tea. Since there was no tea kettle in the cast house, I started to boil water in a sauce pan. I cleaned the kitchen a little and then washed my hands. I was using a paper towel to dry my hands and noticed a spot of chicken grease on the stove. Being a person who hates using paper towels since all I can picture is the soul of the poor trees screaming you lazy, earth-hating bum! at me every time I use one when there is a perfectly good hand towel in the room, I decided to assuage my guilt by wiping up the bit of grease on the stove. (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…)


I’m All Alone in Here October 22, 2014

My mother’s house is across the street from a church. The congregation has been meeting there for 176 years, but the church was built in 1880. The original church burned down in 1878.

That was before the town had a real fire department. It was back in the days of ring a bell and everyone comes out with a bucket and hopes for the best. General Brown who owned our house in 1878, heard the bell and ran out to the church, helping with the bucket brigade and leaving his little girl in her room, watching the church burn through her window.

The little girl, Kit, was not pleased. She was not used to being abandoned in the house. So she took her chamber pot and threw it out the window screaming “I’m all alone in here!” Now, no one heard her over the noise from the fire, but Kit did discover that throwing china things out her window was indeed satisfying. She went and got her brother’s chamber pot and threw that out the window, again shouting “I’m all alone in here!” Soon she was taking everything she could find in the bedroom that might make a satisfying noise when it shattered in front on the house. “I’m all alone on here!” Crash!



Mrs. Astor’s Kitchen Catastrophe August 7, 2013

Filed under: I Meant Well — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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When I was working at the mansion In Newport, Rhode Island doing living history, one of the positions that we could have on a given day was kitchen. Your job when you were on kitchen was to cook things of your choosing that smelled really nice all day and wait for a tour to come through to tell them about being a servant and about the really old gas stove. I knew how old it was then and all about the installation, but I forgot about that the day the contract ended. (more…)


The Flames of Hell’s Kitchen July 13, 2013

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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The summer after my sophomore year of college I lived in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. That summer I lived with a forty-seven-year-old voodoo practicing lesbian who was still trying to become a professional dancer, made friends with a homeless man who saved my life, and had all sorts of other adventures. But one fateful day I decided to make lunch. (more…)