The time had come for me to inflict my half naked body on the rest of the cast of The Memory Of Water. Had I been delaying the inevitable for reasons of vanity or was it simply because the rehearsal environment was just too cold to stand about wrapped only in a towel? And why did I need to stand about wrapped only in a towel?
Let me paint the scene – in the play I arrive at the home of the recently departed mother of the woman I am having an affair with, having spent a very long time stuck on a train with no heating. Outside the wind is howling, the snow is falling – it’s freezing. Being a man I obviously feel the cold!
The whole action in the play takes place in the bedroom of the previously mentioned deceased mother. Good Friend And On Stage Mistress puts me in a warm bath (unseen, off stage, I hasten to add!) to thaw out and takes my clothes back in to the bedroom. Naturally to reclaim my clothes, I have to enter the bedroom. As all the action is taking place in that room, it is full with the rest of the cast, making it impossible for me to get dressed. Hence the towel – let’s face it I couldn’t stroll back into the bedroom fully naked – that would empty the theatre!
The scene continues for around another 15 minutes with me just in a towel. At least that’s how it went at the final rehearsals. The stage lights were blazing away, gently warming the acting arena, readying the room for my half naked appearance. I was backstage readying myself for the potential sniggers accompanying this awkward entrance.
It was time to carefully select the appropriate towel from the selection brought in by the costume department, which comprised one beach towel, one hand towel and one bath towel. No real decision needed to be made – the choice on offer rather dictated the costume. A set up? Maybe!
I’m sure we’ve all done it – wrapped oneself in a towel to leave the bathroom. Quite easy really isn’t it. However, when you are about to walk on stage the wrapping becomes a little more meticulous. Just how many times I checked the towel was secure beggars belief!
I made my way from the dressing room to the stage checking the towel with every step and positioned myself behind the door ready and waiting for the cue line. There was still time for several more checks. Was the towel going to hold? Had I wrapped it tightly enough? Was my entrance going to be greeted with all round sniggers, with gasps of sheer delight or perhaps no reaction at all?
It was, of course, the latter. The scene continued with out a hitch other than the hitch I’d made in the towel to keep it in place! It was as if I had walked out there in full costume.
The rehearsal finished and director’s notes given. Not a mention of the towel scene. All appeared to have gone well. What was the concern?
Of course there was no real concern; of course I knew the towel would stay in place; it’s not as if I had never wrapped a towel before! It’s just that nervous feeling like constantly checking your flies are done up before walking onstage when you know they are because you have had no reason to undo them. Like using the toilet every 60 seconds before you go on, just in case you think you are going to need to go mid scene. You never do – it’s just nerves.
It wasn’t until the next day when the towel scene unravelled! I received a text message from the director – apparently two of the people in the audience for that rehearsal (one man, one woman not related, not sitting next to each other) felt it inappropriate for me to be on stage all that time dressed in just a towel. This meant I’d have to find a way to cover up on stage during the scene.
Now this is where my I have to work out whether my glass is half full or half empty.
I’ll start with the half empty scenario, so that I can finish on a high rather than being depressed as I sign off. Was the reason they objected because my torso was an abhorrent sight? Did they feel people would feel sick seeing such a body for such a long time? Was there too much belly flopping over the top of the towel?
Or was it the half full scenario? Was the man jealous? Did the woman feel the women in the audience would be too distracted to concentrate on the scene?
Sadly, I know which scenario I’d like it to be, and that’s the scenario I know it most definitely wasn’t. However, I don’t believe it is fully the other.
Oh well, the show must go on as they say and it will just have to go on with me only briefly being half naked and never truly knowing why I had to cover up.
I’ve decided I’m going to be half full for the rest of the week!