Oh God, Body Grease! Murder in the Magnolias Act Five

Oh God, Body Grease! Murder in the Magnolias Act Five

         Ten days before the first performance I was hit by a particularly virulent sinus infection. I gave it to my wife, my daughter and my secretary – who in turn gave it to her family. It was something out of Stephen King’s “The Stand”. Fortunately there were no more rehearsals for that week and I had seven days to recover.

            And recover I did, although my voice was still scratchy and hoarse from the drainage and coughing. At all times I had cough drops and taffy in my mouth to keep it moist.
            Fortunately my years as a radio announcer taught me how to care for my voice. When I speak to you it may sound raspy, but when performing you can’t tell.
            The Tuesday we returned from our week-long break we had our first dress rehearsal. I switch characters and costumes between the Prologue and Act One, Scene one.  I couldn’t change in time. I was still dressing when my cue came.
            We had it figured out by the next rehearsal and had it down pat by the first weekend performance: Put on my ascot and button the shirt to my neck to hide it. Put on my string tie over the ascot. Put on my black pants, roll the pant legs up and put on my white pants and white suit coat. Buttoning the top two buttons hide the black pants. Put on my black moustache and soul patch and glue/tape the white beard and moustache over it.
            Between acts I peel off the white beard and mustache, the string tie and the white suit and pants. A fellow actor touches up the black mustache and goatee, another helps with the spats. I switch glasses, fluff up my ascot, put on my Panama hat and I have been on time every since.
            I have plenty of time for the other costume changes between the other acts.

             The performances have been wonderful. We hope for an audience of fifty for each performance and the first weekend beat that! I’ve seen lots of family and old friends each night – or the parents of old friends! My sister and two of her sons went the first night. My nephews, 10 and 6, enjoyed the show. The six-year-old couldn’t stop giggling at the slapstick. My father, sister and her new boyfriend were there Saturday night and my cousins attended the Sunday matinee. This Saturday my wife and other cousins will watch the show and my sister will be back Sunday.
            The three audiences have all enjoyed the show. Funny how each audience laughed at different jokes. Some routines fell flat one night and then met with laughs and applause the next. Lines that I did not think were that funny are getting the biggest laughs of the night. This is why I’m not a playwright…
            We have a “brush up” rehearsal this Thursday and then another weekend of performances before it is all over. Some cast members were upset over missing or misreading lines. I think we’ve all been doing fine. We cover for each other and if a line is missed we move on! We’re doing splendidly and I hope the local papers give us good reviews.
            I introduced my sister to Heidi, who plays the Voodoo Woman. If we had performed the play in high school my sister was to have also played the Voodoo Woman. At one performance, I talked with the mother of the girl who was to have played Lorraine Caruthers.  I had not seen her mother in 33-plus years. I think the boy who was to play Billy Jerk will be there Friday.
            It is tremendous fun and I am so happy to have screwed up my courage and auditioned.
            The only real problem is the befuddlement of my daughter. She saw the photos of me as Thornbird’s sister and has asked six times this evening why I wore a dress. “Boys don’t wear dresses! Boys don’t wear wigs! Why do you wear a dress in your play?” I guess I should be grateful we’re not doing “Some Like it Hot” …
            Hopefully some reviews and more photos in Act Six!

                                                                                                 Copyright 2014 Michael G Curry









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