Saturday, January 10, 2015

One Of My Layers

An internet friend of mine, Glenn, wrote a blog post recently about his life right after high school.
It was quite fascinating. 
It was also fascinating to see a layer of his past. 
And I made a comment about his post and his story that suggested that I needed to get out more. 
Because, I do. 
But it got me thinking about my own layers. 
And my own story. 

Right now I am settling into my current layer. 
The parental layer. 
Where my days consist of doctor appointments, underwear on the bathroom floor, homework, and sibling fist fights. 
But I have a past. 
And, in comparison to some people, it may seem very dull. 
But, it may not. 
It's mine. 
And I'll share a piece of it. 

When I was a sophomore in college I heard something. 
I heard that the theatre department was looking for dancers for a play. 

I was a dancer!

I was a commercial studio dance major. 
Don't ask me what that means. 
Okay, I'll tell you. 
It means...dancer. 

So, I wandered over to the theatre department at Illinois State University to see what was what. 
They needed six girls to dance en pointe for a mainstage production by a guest director. 
Sign me up!

I don't remember the details of the audition. 
But I got the part.
And what a part it was. 
The play was titled "White Boned Demon."
The story was multi-layered.  
Are you ready for this?
It's a doozey. 

Mao Zedong. 
His wife. 
The Gang of Four. 

Mao Zedong's wife, Jiang Qing, was a famous actress in Shanghai before she married Mao. 
Her favorite role had been of Nora in Ibsen's play "The Doll House."
The play "White Boned Demon" focused on her trial in the 1970s and her memories of her past in the theatre.  

Essentially, it was a play within a play.
And I was to play a Chinese Communist soldier. 
Who danced en pointe. 
And I got to swing across the stage on a rope during a fight scene!
Which was totally cool until that day that the rope broke and I crashed to the floor in a heap. 
It was all good because it was only during rehearsal. 
And the only thing that got hurt was the sole of my foot. 

Pointe shoes have a piece of wood that runs along the sole of the shoe.
But it doesn't go to the end of the shoe. 
To the heel end. 
It stops a few inches before the end of the heel. 
Once that rope broke, I fell from about 10 feet up and landed with a very hard piece of wood shoved into the fleshy part of my heel. 
I remember it was about 10 feet up because to get ahold of the rope I had to scale the rigging on the side of the stage midway through the last scene of the show. 
All of my weight landed on one foot, so that foot took the brunt of my weight. 
Which was NOT how much I weigh now. 
Instead it was a nice, light 112 pounds. 

I have always had a high threshold for pain. 
I was back up on that rope the next day. 
And the next day.
And the next day. 
And I swung on that rope all the way to a stage at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Illinois State University's production of "White Boned Demon" was selected to perform at the American College Theatre Festival in the spring of 1991. 

And the rope didn't break the night we performed. 

And I added another layer to myself. 

Another layer to my story...

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