What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

An Untimely Demise September 28, 2015

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 8:30 pm
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Once upon a time when I was still in my ridiculously skinny and sickly pale stage, I was cast as a holocaust victim in the show I Never Saw Another Butterfly. My sister, with the bright blond hair and super blue eyes was kindly asked to assistant stage manage.

I didn’t do too much in the show. I dove for imaginary bread and survived a firing squad. There was a lot of tragedy obviously, but it was a pretty easy show. Until one of the kids had to go out for like the flu or a hangnail or something. It didn’t really matter until we got to the firing line scene.

There was this whole list of names, and as each name was read, a shot was fired and one person was killed. In the original blocking I was one of the few to not be executed. But hangnail kid had been given a name and was supposed to be dramatically killed. And each read name had to be shown with a kid dying because the very last name was that of the romantic lead, and then it was all still and solemn.

The stage manager asked me to die on hangnail’s name, and I was so excited. I finally got to crumple to the ground with everyone else. And I was ready for it. So ready for it.

Until I was onstage and realized that with the stage lights in my eyes and the sound cues of firing guns I didn’t actually remember what name I was supposed to die on. (more…)


The Measurement Miscalculation (Or Dimensions Off) June 17, 2015

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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There is an old vaudeville theatre about forty-five minutes from my house. It’s a great old space, and for years different groups have been trying to revive it.

A few years ago, a company was doing pretty well with the space. They had managed to survive and pay their actors for more than a year! Woot woot! I was visiting my Mom  for about two weeks, so we decided to get tickets to go see their production of Noises Off.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the wonderment that is Noises Off, it’s a farce about the tribulations of putting up a show. First, you see the rehearsal onstage, then the set rotates and you get to see the backstage mayhem. It’s an amazing show, and the rotating set is the icing on the cake.

The old vaudeville theatre had a raked stage, and I was really interested in seeing how they could make the set rotate on an angled floor. Well, a few days before we were supposed to go see the show, we got a call from the theatre: they had cancelled the opening week’s shows, but we could feel free to come the next week. We were still going to be around, so we changed our plans and went a week later.

We got to the theatre lobby, and there were all sorts of chatter going on. Apparently, they had had to cancel the entire first week of performances due to technical issues. And by technical issues, I mean they built the set too big to rotate. (more…)


The Underground Era March 21, 2015

My house was built in 1811. It’s a lovely old home that was built by the family that owned the General Store directly next door to the house. In the back of the house, there is an addition that was built in 1879, complete with a trapdoor that leads to a root cellar. The root cellar is a very dark and scary tunnel that winds underneath the new part of the house as a nightmare inducing reminder that the boogey man could be living under your feet.

My mother ran tours of the house as fundraisers for our Girl Scout troop when I was little. It was actually a really great project for the girls. They had to research the Victorian Era, learn lots of facts, and then find a way to translate that information into a fun activity.

One year for some reason my mother didn’t get around to checking all the girls’ facts, and she walked in on one of her senior Girl Scouts giving the following speech: (more…)