What I remember from my first leading role is excitement and stress. I was Abby Brewster from Arsenic and Old Lace and it was the highlight of my high school performing career.
I was a techie/crew at heart and this was my first big step into the spotlight as an actor. I was part of a doublecast, and I had opening night. Getting into makeup, getting my wrinkles and laugh-lines drawn in, putting on the ridiculous dress and having my hair grayified was an experience in and of itself. Opening night was always a blur of hustle and bustle, but this time, I was the one getting ready (instead of making sure the actors were in place of course). It was my senior year of high school and the first play of the year.
I go to prepare with the actors and we circle up. We played that one song where the Princess Pat lived in a tree, who sailed upon the 7 seas. Then voice warm ups, energy raisers then its out onto the stage, house was open. I was both excited and nervous all at the same time. We got into position, and I had the first lines of the show. Everything would be dictated by how I opened up the show. Oh my god. Curtain up.
The show went fantastically, except when we skipped one of the best parts from confusing that terrible set of questioning between Abby, her sister, Martha, and their nephew, Mortimer. My ex happened to be playing Mortimer, and we still hadn’t gotten back together at that point (I believe the show got us closer, we got back together at the after/wrap party…high school, am I right?). And the girl who played Martha was some frumpy girl who never brushed her teeth and had a constant odor. Yikes.
Anyways, other than that the show goes off without a hitch, I even had the best line/moment.
Mortimer has discovered a different dead body in the windowseat than the one he knows should be in there. Frazzled, he calls Aunt Abby in, opens up the window seat, and promptly requests she identify this new stiff. Abby knew she had put a sad old man in there, but the body was not the one that of Mr. Hoskins (if I remember correctly). In her confusion, she simply asks “Well who can that be?” and the audience erupted. I don’t know why but it was hilarious. My ex fights not to laughs I struggle to keep my lips pursed, and the crew member in charge of lines hiding behind the window out of sight from the audience, is laughing her ass off and pointing at us.
Best night ever. I loved that show. I even almost fell off the stairs to a laugh because I lost my footing and had to take a step down instead of up. I guess little old ladies, falling down stairs is hilarious right? Someone inform Betty White.