One Day More (Blogisode Eight)

Does your club have THIS?  Eileen's does.  (That's me, by the way.)

Does your health club have THIS? Eileen's does. (That's me, by the way.)

Okay, okay, okay, I think yesterday’s blogisode was a little lame.  Sorry.  I was tired and kind of not into it, but I pushed through and that was the result.  Allow me to state up front that there will be no blogisode tomorrow  because I am today off to celebrate the day of my birth.  Here’s what’s weird about this year.  My friend Eileen called and asked to take me out to lunch and I said, “Instead of lunch, can we go work out at your fancy health club?”  Bizarre, right?  Who turns down a birthday lunch?  Except, I had plans to take a giant walk in Central Park and it is supposed to pour down rain, so I can’t.  Eileen’s club is super fancy and has a lot of celebrities, and is stories and stories tall.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  They also have a delicious cafe chock full of healthy food, so it’s not like I’m really declining the lunch offer, I’m just adding on the workout.  Welcome to me.  You make me a Birthday offer and I will counter with something more difficult.

Oh, which reminds me of a funny phrase I heard today, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”  I don’t know how I feel about that, but it stuck with me, so let’s all ruminate on it and get back to each other.

Now I’m home–I was out before–if you guys could see how I write these blog posts in two sentence installments that happen throughout a 24 hour period, you would crack up.  One of these days I am going to write every time I start and re-start, just so you can get an idea.  And I don’t proof read (which I’m sure you’ve noticed).  It’s whatever comes out, where ever it comes out, in between baths and getting a sippy cup of juice and an audition, and school pick up, and teaching, and, and, and.  It’s just a Christmas miracle that this thing gets published at all.

Okee dokee, artichokey.  Here we go.

Let’s talk about this opening night a little bit.  One really cool thing was Richard Jay-Alexander, who was the resident director of the tour and the Broadway company at the time I did Les Miz, made a decision that because the stage in

Hey swings, just jump right on it and find a spot, okay?

Hey swings, just jump right on it and find a spot, okay?

Singapore was so giant–as was the set–I think we were using the Australian set?  Anyone remember?  I might be making that up, but the point is, it was bigger than what we were used to.  Richard Jay wanted the stage to look full for the opening night performance, so he decided to allow the four “swings” (remember what a swing is?  An understudy for everyone who hangs out backstage) to do the opening night performance in certain scenes. Isn’t that cool?  One of the awesome things about being a swing is that you don’t have to do every show.  One of the things that really sucks about being a swing is that you don’t get to do every show.

It’s especially hard on opening nights and other festive performances.  It’s also tough because if someone is coming to see the show, you don’t usually know if you are going to perform.  Well, you can plan if you know someone is going on vacation and you have scheduled performances, but generally speaking, you only go on if someone is sick, and you find out hours (and even moments) before.  Richard Jay allowing us to do the opening night in Singapore was generous and exciting.  That said, I did bump into people a lot, because we didn’t have set traffic patterns, so you know, for example, during Bring Him Home when everyone goes to sleep on the barricade, the swings didn’t have a set place to go, so we were wandering around a bit and saying things like, “Uh, can we squeeze in right over there?”.  We made it work.  It was great.

Here’s a weird thing about opening night.  The audience was totally silent.  It was as if we were performing for an empty theater.  Not a laugh.  Not a peep.  Meek applause at best.  After all the hoopla we were expecting (American audiences are notoriously–even obnoxiously enthusiastic on opening nights) we got nothing.  As we raced through our costume changes, we all talked about it and wondered what was up.  Couldn’t they understand the words?  English is the official language of Singapore, but with such a large Chinese population, they’d made the decision to put up super titles in Mandarin just in case.  But still–silence.  They were HATING it.  It was awful.  We started to wonder if our run in Singapore was going to come to an abrupt end.

We made it through the show and, finally, to the finale.  As we finished up the show and started the curtain call, the place went nuts.  I mean, cheers like you have never heard.  Bonkers.  And then one of the greatest moments I’ve ever experienced on stage, they all started to throw beautiful purple orchids onto the stage.  Sheets of the raining down on us.

Okay.  This is why you want to be an actor, this is what they mean when they talk about the glamorous life, this was the moment of total joy and rapture onstage.  Raining orchids and cheers.  Fabulous.  I wish I had pictures of it, but I don’t.  It smelled great, too.

After that glorious-ness, we raced up to our dressing rooms and changed into our opening night party clothes.

Can we please just pause right here?  Because I have somethings to say about this.

I made a horrible decision to wait to buy my opening night party wear until I got to Singapore.  I made this decision while I was in California, probably because I was so rattled from the earthquake and wanted to avoid buildings with expansive ceilings (like a mall) that could kill me with one good shake.  It seemed innocent enough, and even kind of smart, I mean, why go through all the trouble of schlepping a fancy dress halfway around the globe, when I could just go to one of the 50,000 malls in Singapore and buy one.  And shoes, too.

Guess what.

I couldn’t fit in ANYTHING in Singapore.  I mean.  Seriously.  I was 6″ too tall, and 75 pounds too heavy.  And my shoe size?  Don’t even get me started.  An 8 1/2 doesn’t exist in a shoe, while on the other hand, a size 8 dress is an extra large over there.   It’s not easy being the same age as the cute girls but not the same size, especially when you have to find a dress.  In Singapore.  And it doesn’t exist.

Finally (and I do mean in the very nick of time) I found a dress in the Singapore.  One dress.  One dress in the entire country fit me (I am NOT kidding about this).  Weirdly, and I have the photo to prove it, I thought it was a good idea to put a bow tie with it.  I have no words.  I don’t know what I was thinking.

Despite feeling like I looked awful (I so distinctly remember feeling awful about myself at this party, isn’t that sad?  I’d like to go back in time and say, “Hey kid.  This is just about as good as your body is ever going to look.  Wear a 2 piece bathing suit.  Walk around naked.  These are the good years) the party was fantastic.

Pictures:

You can't see my bow tie in this, but he's the fancy french composer who likes girls.

You can't see my bow tie in this, but he's the fancy french composer who likes girls.

 

You can kind of see my bow tie, but you can really see how giant the party was.  This is only one room and does not show the life size Little Cosette ice sculpture.

You can kind of see my bow tie, but you can really see how giant the party was. This is only one room and does not show the life size Little Cosette ice sculpture.

There we go.  There's the bow tie.

There we go. There's the bow tie.

To read the next installment in this series, go here

 


 

 

 

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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3 Responses to One Day More (Blogisode Eight)

  1. kbwing says:

    First, Happy Birthday!! Second…yet another great blog! Thank-you!

  2. Joelynn says:

    First of all, Happy Birthday!!

    About the “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission”, I find at our house that for little things this works well.

    My husband and I are both coke drinkers, but we don’t drink them at the same rate. So if we split them 50/50 then some of his are leftover after mine are gone. Now if I ask to have one, he says no. However, if I drink one and ask for forgiveness later, he’s okay with that. And there are times when this is vice versa at our house, I don’t know why but we seem to make it work.

  3. Enrique says:

    LOL, love the bowtie. XD

    I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure I read in some article just prior to the show opening in Singapore that stated the entire 3rd national tour was heading over there. I also have a documentary on the making of the show at that premiere engagement at the Kallang Theatre in Singapore and from what I recall of the short clips of the show in action, it very much looked like what I had just seen in Pasadena. Even the detail on the barricade (only I would notice crap like that, lol). I was always under the impression they flew the 3rd national tour's set over there. I know that set was designed to be expandable for larger theatres. Maybe that's why it felt so much bigger? But you could be right and maybe they didn't fly the tour's set over there and used the Australian one. I know they used the Aussie set in the 2002 Mexican production, and that was reportedly a massive set compared to even Broadway's. The show returned to the same theatre in Singapore in the late 90s, and I know that engagement used a set that originated in Australia. Leave it to me to care enough to even write more than a sentence about these details. It's crazy because every darn production of that show looked identical and you'd have to be really pedantic to tell them apart. Ah well, one of my many charms, I guess. LOL.

    Great stories. Tell us more!!! =)

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