Okay, just because I know you all are wondering, and because I must keep up my reputation as the winner of the Poppy Award for most feral cat posts in a single blog, I will update you (briefly) on the exploits of Dolly and McBeady. Well, McBeady dove into the water and pulled Dolly out, only to have her "die" on the table...oh, wait. That's McDREAMY. My bad. McBEADY has been keeping a low profile. I know he's been by a time or two to mooch food, 'cause I've smelled him, but as far as I know there's only been one late-night booty call. I will give him this, though--the boy is willing to spend the rest of the night cuddling. Actually, he and Dolly seemed to have had a lovely entire MORNING in bed a couple of days ago, as they were still there cuddling when I went home for lunch. I think I'm a little jealous. (How embarrassing for me. Hee.)
On to other things.
I seem to be trying to catch a cold--no, wait. I hate that expression. I am trying very hard NOT to catch a cold. Zicam, echinacea, vitamin C--you name it, I've popped it. I rarely get colds--it's been 3 years almost exactly since my last one. Why do I remember so exactly, you ask? Funny story...
Three years ago I was cast in a musical. I hadn't done a full-out musical in 15+ years, at that point. For whatever reason, I tend to prefer that my theatre be theatre and my music be music, but I decided to make an exception. It seemed like a fun show--kind of "Greater Tuna"-esqe in that 5 actors are cast to play 35-40 characters, and it's all lightning-fast quick changes. Over 100 quick changes in the wings--thank god for the dressers. And lots of running madly through the cross-over to re-enter the stage on the opposite side of where you just exited as a different character. Fun stuff. We experienced some adversity along the way to opening night: a cast member dropped out and was replaced by someone who was...less talented, the director/choreographer dropped out and was replaced by a director who couldn't choreograph and then we had to find a choreographer. It was a little stressful, to say the least, and tech week was a nightmare, but by opening night, we had a pretty darned good show. There was a big themey shindig/gala before the show on opening night for patrons willing to shell out extra bucks for such, and I stopped by to say hello to some friends there on my way to the theatre. Probably shouldn't have done that, as I think that may have been where the cold bug bit me. At any rate, opening night was a great success. Kudos all around!
The next morning I awoke with a bit of a tickle in my throat, but it wasn't bad, and I didn't have any trouble performing in the matinee that afternoon. We had several days off before the next weekend's perforances, so I thought I'd be fine. All week long, I took my zinc, my echinacea, my Throat Comfort tea, but come Thursday night, I took a definite turn for the worse. I made it through Thursday night's show okay--actually my voice sounded and felt pretty good by the second act. I went to bed confident I'd passed the hump.
What was I thinking with all this optimism? This is MY life we're talking about. Friday morning I was much, much worse. I started to panic--this is volunteer theatre, and there are no understudies. What if I couldn't go on? I remembered a college classmate having cortisone shot into his nose to enable him to get through his starring role in West Side Story. I remembered hearing about some miracle injection Madonna's doctors give her when her voice flags on tour. I pulled out the phonebook and discovered not a single Ear, Nose and Throat doctor in this town works on Friday. I called my GP, and tried to relay the urgency of the situation to the receptionist. "Yes, I know it's just a cold, but I have to go onstage tonight and sing and dance in front of 400 people--I need help!" She squeezed me in for an appointment that morning, and the doctor prescribed oral prednisone, but I'm sorry to report that oral pred is NOT the miracle Madonna cure I was hoping for.
Friday night's show was brutal. To add to the fun, my period started about 10 minutes before places. I threw down a big handful of ibuprofen and thanked god that it didn't start 10 minutes after places, but it sure didn't help my general feeling of doom. But the show must go on, right? Right. I set up a little medicine cabinet in the wings--cough drops, throat spray, Throat Comfort tea and a honey bear, but the voice just got worse and worse, and my spirits dragged and dragged. Between every scene, I took to squirting honey straight down my throat,and between the sugar and the cold meds, every nerve in my body was just JANGLING. More than once I came offstage and pleaded with my dresser: "Just shoot me. SOMEBODY PLEASE JUST SHOOT ME."
By the end of the show, I was "dramatically speaking" all my big songs. I'm told, and I hope they weren't just being kind, that it kind of worked, in a way. I dragged myself home after the curtain call, comforting myself that it surely couldn't get any worse.
Saturday morning my voice was gone. Absolutely, completely gone. I called the producer and managed to squeak out enough of a whisper that he knew what was up. "Don't worry," he said, "we'll figure something out. Just show up at the theatre a little early tonight." When I got to the theatre, there was a plan. The musical director would sing my songs from her position onstage at the piano, and the stage director would read my lines from a position to the side of the stage. I would lip-synch, songs AND dialogue, and do the dances/blocking/costume changes. And, not to toot my own horn, but I am apparently one helluva lip-syncher. They said, from the back of the theatre, it looked real. We had, of course, announced to the audience what was going on--we weren't REALLY trying to fool anyone, but I'm told it was a little spooky nonetheless. And you know what? That show, by comparison, was FUN! I had been so miserable, trying to get through the previous two shows with my failing voice, that to be told all I had to do was go out there and mime it? Utter relief. I danced and gestured and mimed my little heart out. Hee. That was the night my family and several friends had chosen to attend, of course, but at least they got to see something different, right?
My voice stayed gone for several days, and I swore I'd never do another musical during cold and flu season, a vow I've kept, though I did do another musical that summer. WITH A BROKEN ARM. (Is the universe trying to tell me something?) I haven't had a cold since. Until now, maybe...though I plan to keep up the fight. Help me, Zicam--you're my only hope. And I'd still like to know more about the mythical Madonna injection--maybe it's just Kabbalah water! Hee.