Friday, April 19, 2013
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The spring of 1992 was a very busy time for me. Not only was I in my last semester of college, but I was also involved in three plays: "Ladies' Room", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", and "Happy Days".
Originally, I was supposed to be the light board technician for Cuckoo's Nest. I had assisted the lighting designer in getting the individual lights placed and set, and setting the various light cues as per her direction. Then, a week before opening night, the director came to me and said that one of the actresses had had to drop out of the production, and would I mind taking on the role of Rose, one of the prostitutes that is snuck into the asylum. Oh...gee...acting. Let me think about that! OF COURSE!
That lead to one of the more off-beat experiences of my life: going bra-shopping at the local Sears with the costume director, who was male. What we found was part-60's and part-Madonna and definitely "pointy". That, along with turning a sweater with a v-back around, lead to a ... ahem... very appropriate costume for a "party girl". When we "unveiled" the costume for the director, she screamed!
I had a very elaborate pre-performance ritual for this play, more so than for any production I've ever done. The dressing rooms were complete with showers. I would arrive about two hours early, wash my hair, get dressed in my "costume" and begin with my hair and makeup. I went with the premise, 'the higher the hair, the closer to heaven', adding at least 6" to my height. Even the makeup was fun, because I got to do a lot more than I usually wore. The fire engine-red lipstick was a bonus, as I usually wore mousier color, when I wore any makeup at all.
Of course, I would live to be embarrassed by that lipstick. The actor who played Chief Bromden and I shared a kiss backstage during intermission. I had forgotten that bright red lipstick. But apparently it was quite apparent when the Chief went back into the men's dressing room. Well, he took more ribbing than I did. It was one of the larger casts with whom I'd worked and the male-to-female ratio in Cuckoo's Nest wasn't terrible either.
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was probably the most purely fun production in which I was involved.