[DISCLAIMER: Part of this post — okay, most of it — is a shameless rehashing of a post I made on my own blog almost two years ago. But since
not many hardly any people read that post (and probably not any of you reading here today), and it’s not plagiarism if you’re stealing from yourself, AND, most importantly, I can contort it to fit this week’s topic, I’m going for it. Because, dudes, I have got to get out and shop, or my kiddos and husband won’t have any presents this year!]
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (aka Texas), I was an actress.
The theater I worked at “professionally” (hey, I was paid–not a lot, but it sure supplemented my teacher’s salary–so it qualifies) was a venue for old-fashioned melodramas. Handsome heroes, beautiful in-peril ingenues, and mustache-twirling villains. We served beer and popcorn between acts (yes, the actors were the wait staff), and the audience was encouraged to cheer the hero and boo-hiss the villain. Oh, and throw popcorn at all the bad guys with reckless abandon, too. This, in fact, was highly encouraged–we sold more popcorn that way.
It all started when, right after I first began teaching, I saw an old high school drama buddy of mine was directing a new show, and there would be open auditions. My roommate (another high school drama buddy, also a new teacher) and I figured what the hell, might be fun. Teaching at a Catholic high school, especially when you’re not Catholic, doesn’t provide a ton of laughs; we needed a diversion. Sure, “Shoot-Out at Hole-in-the-Wall” probably wasn’t high art of the sort we’d been accustomed to in our college days, but it beat spending all our spare time grading papers.
We tried out. We got the parts. (Really, blackmail had hardly anything to do with it. I mean, sure, we knew a few things about the director, but it’s not like we would’ve gone to the papers with it. Maybe his mother, but we wouldn’t have sunk to calling the tabloids.) Anyway, we were officially Flora (that was me!) and Fauna, Showgirls of the Old West.
Now, what we didn’t know at the time we were cast was that we’d have a big musical number. And neither one of us could sing. Not a note. Could not carry a tune in the proverbial bucket. When we expressed our concern to our director/buddy, he said not to worry. It wouldn’t be a problem. And he winked. (Smart people would take that as a red flag.)
Worry we did. A lot. We started to suspect he’d only cast us to humiliate us (some people get so testy about a little not-really-blackmail). But it turned out the reason he wasn’t worried was because he knew the audience would be a teensy bit distracted during our number after we ripped off our long skirts and started singing “If You Wanna Catch a Fish You Gotta Wiggle Your Bait”–suitably choreographed–while prancing around the stage in fishnet stockings and high-heel boots. The catcalls tended to drown out our less-than-stellar vocal performance. Since we were young–and non-jiggly–enough not to be embarrassed about showing our legs, it all worked out.
(Aside: yes, as a matter of fact, this is how I caught the theater god’s attention. He was the technical director at the theater, and seemed to *cough* appreciate my bait. Reeled him in hook, line and sinker, and we’ve been together ever since.)
So, what, you may be asking yourself, does this have to do with wardrobe malfunctions?
Well, you see, things don’t always go as planned in live theater. One fine evening, while prancing around onstage in my black fishnets and purple suede boots, I slipped on some popcorn leftover from the villain’s last scene. Went down, ass over teakettle, to the cheering delight of the audience, who apparently thought it was all part of the show.
So, if by “wardrobe” you mean “theater costume,” and by “malfunction” you mean “almost killed myself,” then it works.
(Hmm. I do believe that’s the only time my tush ever got round of applause.)
In retrospect, it might have been a good thing sand the bottom of those boots before dancing in popcorn.
Have you ever had a dangerous wardrobe malfunction? Or unintentionally almost killed yourself in front of an audience full of happily cheering drunks? Do share!
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