So, how did you pull off doing a show with a newborn?
Short answer: I didn’t.
Long answer: an awesome understudy, a fantastic family, a lot of half-assery, and a little bit of luck.
Eli was late. REALLY late. As in, by the time he finally decided he was ready to meet the world, I was spending about an hour every day (on a good day) crying out from my bathtub “Why am I still pregnant? What did I DO? Does he not love me?!?!”. My hippie did an excellent job of hiding his laughter, reassuring me that our son wasn’t trying to punish me for anything, and not reminding me of my girth by grunting whilst helping me out of our slippery bathtub. He was a champ at pregnancy. Me? Notsomuch. But I digress…
Our little stinkpot waited so long to show up, that the week he actually arrived was precisely the week I had PLANNED on going back to work. Not only had I missed two weeks ALREADY, I was going to miss two MORE (at least) so that I could recover from birthing a babe. Anemia. Not a joke when you’re preggers, as it turns out. Luckily, I’m not in much of this first show of our inaugural season, And I already had my lines memorized prior to his birth.
But staging? Having the time to “play” with my other actors? Spending the time getting to know my character? Building a trust with the rest of the ensemble, and director? NOPE. I didn’t get that this time. This time I got two weeks of rehearsal, one of which I wasn’t allowed to really move, courtesy of the whole ‘we don’t want you to hurt yourself and start bleeding again’ thing. No big deal. I had a week. One.
Luckily for me, my primary character (I have two this show) is a creepy dead girl in a flashback. For some reason creepy with a side of sadistic is really easy for me to play. I have no idea why, and usually just try really hard to NOT think about what that says about me as a person. Since creepy is easy… well. There you have the half-assery.
Our next show, that is just not possible. I play Jessica (irony. I love it!), and she plays a MAJOR role in the story. Half-assery is not in the cards. I get to grow up, figure out how to learn my lines, do character study, play with my staging until it feels natural, bond with the rest of the ensemble’s characters, while simultaneously changing diapers, soothing away baby fright, rocking him, singing to him, obsessively taking pictures of every smile, coo, and giggle, and fretting over how he’s growing up too quickly.
It’s possible. And I believe in me, the same way I believe that the Easter Bunny lives across the street from me (he does! I’ve seen him, dadgummit!).
But that’s not to say I won’t be eating my feelings a lot this next month.
A “remind me to tell you all about the time I ran over a raccoon last night” me