Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Faster Change

There are limits to what can be expected of an actor. 

Especially when it comes to fast changes.  

During the first act of Miss Saigon I have 6 costume changes, the most disconcerting of which involves my transformation from Viet Cong soldier to refugee.

In under 60 seconds.

As a Viet Cong soldier in Morning of the Dragon, I march and lunge my way across the stage with about 15 other insurgents, looking barbaric, and frightening audience members with our costumes and choreography.  

Our blood red do-rags heighten the terror. 

At the end of the scene, I march off stage left and have about 30 seconds to remove the do-rag and the top half of the Viet Cong uniform (which cleverly hides my refugee shirt) and re-enter stage right.

Where I get to take a much needed onstage nap.

I play a Vietnamese homeless person during that scene.  (I was hoping to push on a shopping cart, but our director, Jamie, nixed the idea.  I thought it might add to the ambiance, but what do I know?)

A few nights ago, Jamie told me to take off my wig during the Morning of the Dragon scene.  I was to wear the do-rag directly over my wig cap. 

(According to Jamie, the Viet Cong did not sport big Cher hair and my do-rag does not adequately disguise my curls.

I began to panic.  I barely had time to take off the do-rag and remove my uniform, how could I possibly put my Cher wig back on in time for my nap?  When I told Jamie of my predicament she said, "Just grab a rice hat."


I felt certain Jamie hadn't thought this through.  I attempted  to explain to her the geometry of sleeping with a rice hat on one's head.  More specifically, setting my head on the rice hat would cause it to rise to an angle of approximately 170 degrees.


Which would completely expose my wig cap. 

My baldy head.

(Not to mention the fact that my Cher wig made such a nice pillow.  How could I be expected to sleep on the street without a pillow?) 

And let's not forget the credibility issue with the audience!  I suppose it's possible that Vietnamese refugees could get Cancer, but could they really afford Chemotherapy?

You know what Jamie said next"Lie down and put the rice hat over your head."

Like a sombrero? 

Hello!  Jamie, this is Vietnam!  Not Mexico.

Plus, I have to sit up on stage when the police guy enters the scene. 

Being the professional actor that I am, I have devised a way to shield my baldy head from the audience.
Now if I could just figure out how to smuggle a pillow onstage.

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