is the fool sick?

Yes indeed. Well, I am currently on the upswing of this crazy cold that took me by surprise even as I feel asleep Monday night. I woke up with a student matinee at 10am and a horrible, horrible cold. You know the kind–your body is tired, your head is stuffed and cloudy, and your nose is so full of mucous that you can barely breathe! And yet I was able-bodied, and knew that this kind of cold wasn’t a reason to call in the understudy.

It is difficult as an actor when you get sick because we use so much of ourselves in our work. Our complete awareness, our voices, our physical bodies, our memories, our emotions, our quick thinking, everything we have is utilized in our job. So even though my work day was only two and a half hours long, during that time period I have to be running on all four cylinders. 

I did my warm ups with a little extra care, got to the theater, took the curlers out of my hair, drank some tea and stared at myself in the mirror. It was a gloomy sight. (I have my dear friend Julia to thank for trying to cheer me up through the three days I was sick. She never gave up and she made me smile nearly constantly. She is the best.) I managed to get my clothes on, take a deep breath, and make it to the stage.

Now there is something that takes over when you enter the stage. I don’t mean that I am possessed by my character or some other force, but the learned pattern of behavior that you have created on the stage takes over. My energy naturally increased, and I found that even through my cold all my acting choices were working on their own. They have been programmed into my body through the rehearsal and through my technique. So even though I was feeling a little under the weather, because of my training and hard work I was able to make it through the performance just fine. I was exhausted afterwards, and I learned where to hide Kleenex in all my costumes, but I doubt it was all that noticeable to the audience. Except maybe for my diction. I never realized I had quite so many m’s and n’s in my text before. I mean, my third word is Dumaine, or as I pronounced it, Dubaide. But the cold also gave my voice that nice, husky low tone.

So as the cold lifts I look forward to enjoying my performance a little more, and having the extra energy that comes with health. But I did learn that all my work can stand on its own, and when I’m feeling a little sad, I can always look to Julia for a lift!


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