I tried my best to stay healthy. After we spent the day around Brooke and her cough, I would run to the hotel and wash my hands. I used very hot water. Hot enough to melt the skin and reveal the titanium alloy of my 21st-century cyborg knuckles with which I can track down Sarah Connor and Thumbkin.
But I am sick, and it is bad. I’m in the sick bed, and my skull is a wet loaf of bread. I can only sleep with the help of my beloved NyQuil. I would love to try that nasal douche y’all talked about in Birmingham. I have cut back on my cough drops because the sugar hurts my teeth already sore from the cold. But I couldn’t stay away from the rehearsal.
We knew that the new stage area – the local legion hall – would need a floor waxing, and that would keep us from working there. We also knew the hall would house a craft fair for the weekend Christmas festival. What we didn’t know is the fair would be left in place overnight. We walk into a bazaar, and some booths have sprawled onto the stage. There is a fair watchman sitting in the back of the room, making sure we don’t mess stuff up. I think he’s connected to the theatre too, but he’s there on behalf of the fair. He stays in the back, watching TV. There’s some tense discussion about moving the sound table nearer to the stage for the time being, and our courtroom director is here to man the sound and light table.
I am sick as a dog and armed with soup, a hankie, DayQuil, and cough drops. I ask the director if I can stay out of the witness gallery so I won’t ensickify the other actors. I don’t think I can do the ghost voice tonight. A number of us are already coughing and sniffling. At least this is hitting me now and not next week when we open. Oh, yes, we open next week.
It’s decided that the green room is useless, and we’ll do make-up and costumes at the warehouse. I don’t know if this means I’ll carry around my ghost costume between shows. The rehearsal is fairly smooth until we again hit the 30-page threshold. The lines fall apart. My accent gets a bit better because of the cold, oddly enough. Marley behaves himself better, but the constant correction of lines by the stage manager knocks us all out of a groove. Mrs. Cratchit nails her lines tonight, and I yell out “that’s my baby.” We try some simple sound and light cues for the ghost entrances.
It takes a few years to get through Act One, and Act Two is a constant call for lines and awkward silences as folks struggle to remember. I even forget a ghost mumble – the easiest thing to do in the history of ever – and it cracks up the crew. Then, my ghost translator forgets his line, and I offer “hey, I clearly said ‘mumblemumblemumble.’ ” The cast is a little goofy tonight; we might all be drunk on cold medicine. I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Breathe.
The director announces we will not meet again until Sunday’s tech, but she commands us to run lines at home. And I shall, from the comfort of my undersized intensive-care cot as I slowly drain my brainswamp. Counting Sunday, we have four rehearsals before we have our first, invited audience. Scrooge, the judge, and the attorney really need to sit down in a coffee shop and run lines.
Picture of the Day
David vs. Goliath