Chaos Attraction

Coney Island Christmas Day 6: It Gets Very Weird Around Here

2019-12-01, 6:55 p.m.

Dear Holidailies: I am going to post an entry explaining what’s been going on in the last year, but so I don’t fall behind in keeping up with events going on IRL, I’ll most likely post it tomorrow. For right now, let’s just say that I am in a play called “Coney Island Christmas,” in an extremely minor role but it’s fun, in the next town over. Most of the play is told in flashback about how in 1935, a Jewish tween girl named Shirley with “the loudest voice” is cast as Jesus Christ/the narrator in the school Christmas play. Her dad is all for it, her mother is totally against it. The play also puts on a Thanksgiving and a Christmas pageant, and has a dream sequence in Coney Island that I’m in. It’s nuts, I enjoy it.

For entry/future storytelling purposes, I write down all the snarky lines and happenings while hanging in the green room/during rehearsal. I wrote up a cast list over here and the archives for the last few months in the fall mention what’s been going on showwise if you want to catch up. I’ll get into this more later....stay tuned.

Oh yeah, and I also got a new car. More on that later too...

So last night’s tire issue turned out to be a nail in the tire, which explains why I thought I heard a popping noise driving out of town yesterday but then “nothing happened” until it was low on air on the way home. These new fancy cars not only tell you on the screen, they send you an email (or a bunch in this case) about it. It was almost entirely flat this morning by the time SpeeDee opened, and thankfully given this weekend and the weather, they had very few people there. I originally had the tires filled and told the guy I thought there was probably a nail in the bad one, but he couldn’t see anything at the time and said to come back and they’d try to examine it more if it still leaked. So I went to the grocery store, went home, started watching Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings (this is a TV show with episodes based off her songs). but by the time I left to go to the show, the tire was low again.

I drove back to SpeeDee, had them check it more, and they found a nail. They said they could get it patched in 30 to 45 minutes, so I contacted Anita (director) and Robert (friend) to pass on that I was going to be late for call but could hopefully make it to the show by 2. I don’t have to be dressed until act 2 and if worst came to worst, someone else could yell my lines that I do backstage in act 1 (we’re all doing sideshow hawker/obnoxious New Yorker voices). Though we were filming the show today, so I wanted to be back in time! They got me out by 1:15, I was there by 1:35, so huzzah and also whew. Folks were very nice about my being late under the circumstances, but heck, I was still there in time.

Day Six:

Quotes and activities backstage:

Gail asks Cameron what she does for a day job. “I’m an assassin.”

While doing that thing where everyone has to stand in a circle and pass hand squeezes around (this goes rather....iffily), some folks elected to yell “ow!”

Dona and Jesse were called on stage because it’s their 29th anniversary. Jesse said that for next year, “you’re all invited!”

For whatever reason, Anita didn’t do the pre-show chatter until around 2:15ish (waiting on people to come in, is what someone said), and between Anita usually doing a speech about how many are in the show and playing how many parts, and how she wants to have a live baby in the show (which has morphed since we sometimes actually have a baby), and the anniversary talk, and having Germaine come on with a kid or two to talk about donating to charity... “Do you think we’re actually going to get started before 3?” Cameron asked Drew the stage manager. Cameron disapproves of pre show speeches in general and thinks the show should stand on its own, but we have to listen to her rant about it because we’re her friends. And also that her dad is really obsessed with time (and would not agree with Robert’s theories on such) and if he was here, “we would have heard him sighing.”

“And this here creates pathos for our upcoming collection plate.” was Robert’s commentary on such.

While commenting that most of the schoolkid characters don’t have names spelled out in the show. “And we know Lester. The man, the myth, the legend.” -Cameron (note: Lester is played by 5 year old Abner, who is memorable in many ways).

“Lego Batman is the greatest Batman movie ever to be created.” -Cameron

“The Condiment King? That’s your badass superhero name?” -me after being informed that such a thing exists.

Scott realizes he has to take off his iWatch. “Check your anachronism.” -Cameron

There is a scene in the show where the family listens to the radio in 1935, and in rehearsal before the sound guy came in, I would read the voice of “The Shadow,” FDR, etc. As that part was going on, Frances said to me, “I think you’d be better at this.” Awwwww! :) Meanwhile, Scott is randomly air guitaring during this.

Cameron has a yarn advent calendar and sadly, did not have time to start playing with it today before rehearsal. I hear ya, girl. Though I did break into the yarn for a new project myself today while in the break room.

“That’s the fastest he’s ever gotten his shoes on.” -William on Jayden’s costume change into King James.

Someone left gingerbread heart* cookies on the table, along with fortune cookies. Scott mentioned getting one from the Chinese restaurant down the street that said, “Aren’t you glad you got a great meal?”

* note: I am seriously seeing hearts bloody everywhere on everything lately, see recent entries.

“I’d cast her as Jesus.” -William on Shirley

“You always mess up on videotape day.” -Cameron (I think).
I would just like to say that I have two lines (that are basically the same line) and a song and I did not mess up any of it, so huzzah there. If I'd managed to mess up "Step right up! See Matilda, the bearded lady! Siamese twins!" I think I'd have to smack myself.

William wore in a sweatshirt that said, “Tis The Season To Be Naughty” with two reindeer playing guitars. “I saw it and I thought, that has to be mine.”

(On the show line “do you know what joy is?”)
“No.” -Jayden
“That’s a very strange question.” -Bridget

Scott was commenting on how Mrs. Abramowitz is the real drama queen in the family. “Or as my parents would say, there is no hope.”

“Everyone in here could be siblings for all I know.” -William, as people try to figure out which kids are related to each other. Apparently Bianca and Vanessa are sisters. I said I originally thought that Izzy and Josie were, and Izzy’s mom Eliza said that they are besties.

William talked about going to Symposium (the Greek restaurant in town) and asking, “Do you have Windex here?” They did. For cleaning windows.

Bridget watching the Wise Men conspicuously trudge, trudge, trudge: “They look like zombies.”

I overhear something strange: “How are you allergic to hippos and how did that come up in your life?” I wondered (and got no answer).

Cameron’s fortune in the cookie (note: her character is asked to define joy in the show, see two days ago's entry as to how she defines it for herself....) said “You will soon bring joy to someone.” Gail insisted (despite Cameron saying no to this) that Scott be told about this immediately.*

* note: Gail is shipping Scott and Cameron, who play teachers/love interests in the show, and like every freaking day is swooning over them as a couple. This is awkward AF for me and most likely them as well, but I’ll get into those weeds more later.

Cameron’s ideal fortune cookie, btw: “It could be worse.”

Why yes, we do have a baby in the matinee show again this week! Most run over to swoon at the baby. Cameron and I stay back and note that people go insane over tiny humans and how right now they are just, y’know, screaming poop machines or whatever (I forget exactly what we said). “It’s a small human. People lose their minds.” -Cameron

Gail after Robert, Bridget and I rehearse “Carol of the Bells” again, which we sing at the start of the pageant because that’s in the script and we’re the few people left doing nothing at that point in the show otherwise:

“Were you cast for your voices?” -Gail
“No, we were chosen for being already standing around and doing nothing.” -me
“And then they dragged me into it. I was hiding in the back.” -Robert
Meanwhile, Scott says we’re singing at B flat, and Cameron (who doesn’t play piano despite being cast as the music teacher, but literally plays one note of C to start us off) says she doesn’t know how to play B flat.

At one point Scott and I started talking like Beaker from the Muppets at each other.
“Rip that hand out of the puppet’s ass!” -Scott

“After the kids are gone, I will come across the stage and kick you in the shins.” -Cameron to Robert, I have no idea on the context, but I assume it’s a joke when she threatens to beat up the guy playing Santa.

“It gets very weird around here.” -Cameron
“This is a green room. What do you expect?” -Scott
“More green.” -Cameron, which leads into conversation about how green rooms are somehow never green. Germaine then tells us that psycho wards used to be painted green, which led to Cameron saying, “I just know that scrubs are green because blood looks less distrubing on them.”

“It’s her stage, we’re just all on it.” -Cameron on baby Lena.

“Whatever makes me look pretty and perfect so I outshine every other gal.” -William, playing the bearded lady.

As Germaine continues to say that Scott plays a harried teacher very well: “That is what happens when you spend that much time with children when telling them what to do.” -me.

As William watches Robert get dressed as Santa, “It ruins the magic, good thing there are no kids in here.”

The actual baby onstage instead of a doll gets “oooohs” from the audience.

Alexis (Mrs. Abramowitz) walks through the audience, saying some stuff I don’t normally catch. Which I guess is along the lines of “you actually wore that hat?” and “your mother let you leave the house in that?”

As the line “a menagerie of animals” is mentioned: we don’t have any kids playing animals, but I got the bright idea that we should use Clara’s (note: the modern day kid on stage on the side as her great grandma narrates)’s stuff animal collection for that.

“I’m better at taking names.” -Cameron

“The only one that competes with me is that baby. That’s the only one that’s cuter than me.” -William

Scott and Cameron have to kiss every night. Cameron basically spontaneously attacks him onstage, which is awkward for various logistical reasons since she’s short, he’s tall, due to the plot he can’t bend down to assist, and heels only get her to around 5’4 or so and that still has her head circa around his shoulder on a good day. (I unfortunately have a lot more insight on this situation than I should, but....later.) This looks good on the camera monitor as far as I can tell from backstage, but every night they come back into the green room commenting on how awkward it is, how she hit his teeth again and there’s lipstick everywhere, etc.

“I’m a fighter, not a lover.” -Cameron
“She reddened your beard a little bit?” -William to Scott

“Basket cases, go get your baskets.” -Cameron to the kids who were assigned to take donations that night.

“She didn’t miss a line.” -Trent on baby Lena.

“I heard people say “Shhhh!” in the audience.” -baby Lena’s mom.

I was disappointed that despite last week folks said they wanted to go out for Chinese again after the matinee, that didn’t happen. Sigh. Theoretically next week “because we didn’t announce it to everyone last week.”

And now that I am sadly home alone again with no Chinese dinner, I am back to watching “Heartstrings.” I shall tell you about the first few episodes.

Dolly introduces the “Jolene” episode as about feeling inadequate. In her show, “Jolene” is a singer/bartender who gets fired from a bank in the beginning of the show for being sympathetic to a guy having a bad day by saying “some bosses suck.” She works at Dolly’s honky tonk and sings at it. While at that job, she meets Emily, a suburban mom who’s nice but anxious AF about about her declining sex life with her husband Aaron. Even though Jolene doesn’t usually hit it off with many women (presumably because she is hot and wears barely enough clothes to cover her boobs enough to not get arrested), she and Emily hit it off, and Jolene teaches Emily’s kid to play guitar.

Unlike the original song, Jolene is not boffing Aaron, but she has been sometimes boffing some other married dude, Hugh, who turns out to be the husband of some other friend of Emily’s. When Jolene goes to audition for a festival at the wife’s house, there’s awkwardness, and Jolene admits to Emily later what went on. This sends Emily into a spiral that Jolene is also sleeping with Aaron (she’s not, but Aaron is acting weird, avoiding Emily, and muttering Jolene’s name in his sleep) and she starts shunning Jolene. They eventually hash this out and break up the friendship, though on her way out Jolene points out that maybe Emily should just ASK Aaron what’s going on? So she does and Aaron admits that he wanted to cheat on her with Jolene, not that he’s asked or anything. With Dolly’s encouragement, Jolene decides to take a bus to Nashville, which Emily misses. Two years later, Jolene’s a hit and Emily and Aaron go to see her. D’awwww.

The next episode, “Two Doors Down” features WEDDING DRAMA!” Dolly gives a very inclusive speech at the start, and boy, does this Southern wedding deliver: the bride and groom want to move to LA after the wedding (and the bride has a secret acting career), the mother and father of the bride are on the outs, and the bride’s brother is secretly gay and dating a friend of his sister’s. He says he’s going to come out sometime, but knowing his mother, it’s not going to go well. His mother treats the openly gay fellow like her pet gay, more or less. There is also the genderqueer “bridesmate”, who the rest of the family is fine with, but the MOTB is all “she’s just confused.” Of course, the bride has a freakout and outs her brother, and the brother has a bit of a hunting accdent(?) and then everyone sees the bride playing a vampire on television...

I’m also amused at the point when the genderqueer cousin tells the gay son that a random possum in the vicinity means that’s your spirit animal and you need to stop playing dead. I’m also amused that “hashtag suicidal vampire” caught on and now the bride’s character, who turned into ashes, is going to be resurrected and given a name and storyline now. Whaaaaaat?

Dolly (as herself) randomly performs at the end, with everyone losing their minds. Because the gay guy somehow knows Dolly "from work." I still wonder why. Anyway...that was entertaining and much more liberal than I would have figured.

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