….opening night, of course. Aaaaaand….all of a sudden nerves take center stage. During the weeks before the performance, everyone will have them under control. Mental health’s just hunky-fucking-dory, thank you very much. And only to those who have ever had a nervous breakdown (approximately 99.9% of artists), the memory is like a rare strain of bacteria living in your stomach. Most of the time you’re okay, but whenever you drink too much caffeine, it flares up into one hell of a projectile vomit arc.
Consider dress rehearsal a Starbucks Venti with 9 espresso shots.
As costumers, we’re quite familiar with anxiety attacks and emotional outbursts during dress rehearsal. They happen as often as ripped crotches and torn armpits. The unfortunate thing is that, most of the time, they’re aimed at the wardrobe department. Likely because we, who make up that tiny division, are too easy a target. We’re there all the time, in-your-face yelling for leaving costumes on the floor. We curse your dirty Fritos habit and we won’t let you blow your nose in a satin hanky. (“That’s not what it’s for. It’s a costume!”) We demand to know the origin of every stain on your costume. And we call you out when you claim it’s a Fritos stain. We’re horrible people to begin with because we make you wear woollies that give you heat rash. Or moobs. Sometimes both. Definitely clothes that you hate.
So let’s take all of the insecurities that come bubbling up during dress rehearsal and project them on…the Evil People from Costumes. I guess there’s no need to detail these displays of emotional dysentery. Suffice it to say they’re very messy. And even though we’ll appear to let the insults wash over us like the great moisturizer we need for our old, old skin, it’ll drive us to do vodka shots. Big time. In the bathroom. At three pm. With our imaginary friend. Because we have no other friends. Because we do costumes and we’re evil. Just so you know.
The real truth about dress rehearsals is something you must figure out for yourself. And we understand that emotional outbursts are bound to happen. Out of experience, we are aware that as you wade your way across the glurpy morass of the practice weeks, you start to feel pretty good about your talents and your abilities to impress. Until the day of dress rehearsal. That’s is when your head can become a frightening place. A dangerous neighborhood to visit. Any insecurity that has made its nest on the bottom of your cerebellum? You will come face to face with it now.
Am I glamorous enough for this role? Why is everyone in the show so much sexier than me? Will all the people I care about judge me if I miss a note? Will my masculinity ever recover from wearing lace? Will my virility be forever shredded from wearing satin and silk? What if I forget my lines? Will my boobs be big enough? Will my partner ever speak to me again if I switch pitch in the middle of our song? What if my partner will start to resent me that I always finish late by three notes? Will I be able to sleep tonight? What if I don’t and I’ll look wan and everyone will think I’m too wan-looking to deserve the part I got? What if I worry too much and no one will ever partner again with a wan-looking worrywart? What if everyone hates my boobs? What if everyone hates me? What if I lock myself up out of shame and will never leave my bed again and die of gangrene bedsores with my fifty cats who will meow and then eat me because they hate me, too?
Just so you know that there’s always the option of joining me on the bathroom floor. I have vodka. Willy has cookies. It helps a little.