Why You Should Never Wear Anything On Stage

I’m one third of the way through the run of The Canterbury Players latest production – Hobson’s Choice, in case I haven’t screamed this enough.

I may have previously mentioned that I was going lose an extra 5lbs before opening night.

This was because my character is required to wear Victorian dress, and because my chest was not pleased about it.
I was all cocky in the costume shop, having tried on several outfits that either swamped me or refused to even think about fastening over my heaving bosom. Finally, I found a pretty lilac number that looked just the ticket. But it was a little…snug. The director expressed concern…
Director: “Are you sure it isn’t too tight? You have to act in it for a long time, you know.”
Me: “Pfft, it’ll be fine! It just about fits me and I can easily shed a few pounds before the show for comfort’s sake. It’s only tight now because I’m massively hung over and bloated from beer.”
Director: “Oooookay. You’re really sure?”
Me: “Come on, I just lost 20lbs! I can lose another 5lb easily.”
Well I DIDN’T, okay?! I didn’t, I spectacularly didn’t and now my costumes are trying to kill me. I didn’t gain any weight and I’m still the thinnest I’ve been in ages, but that is little consolation when you are gasping for breath and listening to buttons and ribs snap with every miniscule movement. We’re talking boned jackets, pinched waists and sleeves so tight that if someone held a gun to my head and said “do the YMCA now”, I would be fated to die.

Just look at what I (and Becky) have to wear! LOOK!

Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin)

Don’t look

Even Hobson himself is horrified.
Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin)
None of you will notice my pain should you see me on stage; I’m a woman, I’ve been acting like clothes are comfortable on me since I was 9. But behind the scenes is a different matter. Dress changes are normally an ordered civilized affair, but everyone else’s calm has been violently disrupted by me hurtling into the (mixed) dressing room muttering “fuck it fuck it fuck it” as I fling corsets and rip skirts from my abused body.

But it’s not all bad on the physical front, costume torture aside; I get to pin my hair into pretty curls like a real live girl. I might keep this look for a night out, and when I am in need of sweets that I don’t wish to pay for.

Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin)
Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin) 

You’ll see from the picture that this is one of the few shows in which I get to act with the beau (can you see how happy he is about it?).

Not only do we share the stage, but we also play a couple. Which means beau will do his scary ‘romantic’ face (smiling with VERY wide eyes), and I will have to fight the urge to be sick on his shoes.

Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players, Whitstable Playhouse (The Demon Gin)


In truth this has, as ever, been a very enjoyable production to work on and the weeks of rehearsals, set building, and line-juggling have paid off, thanks to the very talented cast and crew. But let’s not forget the most important person in the show. Me. ME. I may not be (do the finger quotes) ‘the lead’, or ‘the director’ or ‘sober’, but don’t you forget for one minute that it’s ALL about me, up there, having to share the stage with Miscriant AND the beau and other people I just plain don’t like*.

So there’s still time, gentle readers, there is still time to come and see it! There’s still time, big shot movie director with nothing better to do, to come to The Whitstable Playhouse and see Harold Brighouse’s much ad’mired comedy brought to life. There is still time to muse out loud “good GOD that woman’s curls looks amazing. I shall have her for me’ next film, and for me’ wife!”

A night at the theatre will soothe your soul.

Hobson's Choice, The Canterbury Players (The Demon Gin)

By the way, it’s more than likely that a door will open at some point when it isn’t supposed to and the whole audience will see at least one actor scratching themselves. Just go with it, it’s am dram. 

*I do like them really**


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