Tonight’s audience was a college night crowd, meaning that a generous 62% of them actually wanted to be there– and this was evidenced even more vividly after intermission when I walked back on stage to notice that about 20 audience members had left.
Now, I was of two minds. On the selfish side, I thought to myself “Well, at least they got to see all the good stuff I do”. On the other hand, I thought “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” You’re not going to stay to see Aaron’s brilliant revenge against Chiron and Demetrius, or Jessica rock the shit out of Revenge, or Maggie own the fuck out of wondering what wrongs are being wronged, or Cole’s hilarious Clown or David’s epic last words or Angela’s amazing end speech or Bryan becoming emperor or Cara teaching us all a valuable lesson?
I was hurt on behalf of the cast. And I get it. Hell, I’ve had friends who have done the same thing– Got program to prove they were there, bailed. But seriously. We have all worked so hard to make this show amazing, it was almost insulting to not be able to share that with everyone in attendance.
Then I LOST my costume. I don’t even know how one achieves that, but I had a pretty good panic moment during intermission when I realized I had no idea where my second act costume was. Thankfully it’d just been set in a pile of towels, but there was a moment where I thought I was going to have to run home and find something to wear.
On top of that, tonight seemed to be the night of “oops, the audience got some blood on them”. Normally, this has never been an issue. Somehow, however, (and I will fully admit that I still think this is hilarious) Bobby somehow wound up just chucking his blood pack into the audience and splattering it on the back wall. I think may favorite moment of the show tonight was coming out for the post-show discussion and seeing two big pieces of paper STUCK onto the blood on the wall so as to protect the audience members sitting near by. Thankfully the girl who got the majority of the blood on her was a really good sport.
I also managed to accidentally spit one drop of blood perfectly onto some poor guy in the front row. I think he actually thought it was pretty cool though, so I was happy I didn’t offend anyone.
Speaking of good sports, there are good sports and there there are…not good sports. (And we’re going to get real here, so everyone hang on for the ride). Tonight, after the “reveal” scene of Lavinia, I have a pretty painful (both mentally, physically and literally) moment where I have to crawl my way up onto the big set piece we have. It’s difficult, actually pretty fucking hard to do (one, because I don’t have hands and two, because I have a fucking mouth full of blood at the time) and I have to be acting the entire time as well.
So I’m climbing the set, minding my own business, acting pretty hard (if I do say so myself) and I notice these two guys in the second row kind of snickering. And I think “okay, you know, uncomfortable audience, they’ve probably seen my underwear, ha ha, whatever, moving on”. So I go on with the scene and I try to ignore their disruptive attitude and then it happens.
Right at one of the most important moments of the scene, I hear one guy say to the other “Why is Lavinia fat?’.
I get that I may not be your “typical ingenue”. I get that most Lavinias are tiny little things who can be easily thrown about. I get that I’m…normal sized. I will fully admit that I could stand to lose a few pounds.
But here’s the fucking thing.Actually, a few things.
One. This is in the middle of a GODDAMN FUCKING SHOW. I’m literally a foot and a half away from you. I can hear you breathing, so what part of whispering insulting jokes to your friend in the MIDDLE OF A SCENE is okay?
And then there’s just my confusion about why you needed to address the fact that I am not your ideal beauty in that moment. What part of looking at a bloody and actually bruised girl with no fucking hands and or tongue makes you go “this is sad and all but it would be better if she was a size four?”
And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly. (Again, the get real train is leaving from the station, so get your tickets ready), and I know the person who made the comment would have absolutely no idea about this facet of his comment going in, but I have spent the last eight years in and out of recovery for bulimia. Am I proud of this? No. Do I talk about it much? No. Am I incredibly proud that I have been practicing “normal” eating patterns and practices for the last eight months without a single issue? Am I happier than I have been in a long, long time? Yes. To both. And then something like this happens. And it would be super fucking easy to go home and binge and purge until I stop feeling upset at one asshole’s opinion. Did I immediately want to? Absolutely.
But what I realized, and no, I’m not trying to get to the “we all learn a valuable lesson” part, but tonight made me realize how proud I am of my recovery and of the support structure that I have surrounded myself with. It hasn’t been easy, and I still have days where I fuck up and weeks where my views on food and my body are less than stellar– but I have been working continuously towards a goal of being able to manage this disease and I think maybe tonight was proof that I can. Kind of.
During the show, when I heard that, I was…devastated. I have worked SO fucking hard on this show. I have lost sleep, skin, blood, tears and a jeans size for this role (the jeans size was kind of an accident) and to have all of that decimated because my ass wasn’t small enough to appease the asshole in the second row upsets me in ways that I cannot accurately express without sounding like a sociopath, so I won’t.
I have a stretch during Act 4 where I have some time to just sit and have my make-up done, and while I was sitting there, I was thinking back to four or so years ago when I had absolutely hit rock bottom in terms of my eating disorder. The sordid details are an entry for another day, but thinking about where I was and how I felt as opposed to how I feel now…it’s like I was a completely different person. I was desperately unhappy, at a totally unhealthy weight, living this horrible life of secrets and lies and barfing in closets so people wouldn’t find out– it was a humiliating and degrading way to live. It took me a really long time to figure out that what I was doing wasn’t the answer to my problems, or even the reason I had problems– and no, my life is still far from perfect, but I cannot begin to express how fucking happy I am nearly every moment of every day, getting to do the things I do with the family that I have built for myself– it’s an incredibly humbling experience to realize how fucking lucky I am every single day.
Even more than that, what I realized is that….I’m PROUD of what I’ve done in this show. I’m proud of the work I’ve put in and the actual scars I’ve earned. I’m proud of the late nights I’ve spent eating burgers with my friends and I have absolutely no regrets. This show has helped me so much in my journey of recovery, and I refuse to let some douchenozzle (who couldn’t even be bothered to stay for the 2nd half) ruin that for me.
Do I still feel like total shit? Absolutely. Do I want to punch things? Yes. Did I for totes eat the hell out of pancakes at Village Inn tonight after the show? Yes, and even though every fiber of my being is telling me to yack them up, I know that it’s not going to change what some asshole said about me, and I would rather be a fat Lavinia in an amazing show with one of the greatest casts I have ever had the opportunity to work with than a skinny…not…Lavinia in a…not… amazing show with a not…incredible cast. .
That was going somewhere. Damn it.