Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How I ended up in a chicken costume

So a few weeks ago we had fellow WRSI DJ Kelsey on the show, talking about Paintbox Theatre, and since then they've kindly become a sponsor of the show too. So I figured we should really go, so today we got there plenty early (to be sure we could buy tickets - it often sells out) to see their take on The Tortoise and the Hare.

While in line, Kelsey came by and saw us and asked if I wanted to be a chicken. Well, how could I refuse such a delightful request? So we got seated and then I went backstage to get in the costume and learn the basics. Here's a picture, back in those innocent times:

Ah, I look so innocent, so indoors, so not-yet-having-been-beaten-by-a-cheating-hare. (Also without the headgear that was yet to come.)

The costume was surprisingly comfortable for a chicken costume, and I briefly considered just switching over to a chicken costume in my everyday life. (I also considered sending that photo to Dena and telling her that I was making a change to be closer to my chicken self, but wisdom prevailed.)

More on that cheating hare, played by the very same Kelsey Flynn, in a bit.

So while I was backstage having the costume fitted, the crew discovered that the computer projector that they use for audience cues, etc., had blown its bulb, and so the artistic director Tom McCabe was telling stories to the audience while they wait. (That's what the picture to the left is, even if it's sort of hard to tell.) Tom is an outstanding storyteller; this was a great bonus, even if it came out of a technical problem.

And then, more drama in the form of the fire alarm going off. "An emergency has been reported," declares the voice over the speakers. "Please go to the nearest exit immediately." "Hmm," I think. "I'm backstage. The kids are in the theater. Didn't think about this possibility much." Happily, Liam's preschool teacher was sitting in front of them and walked them out; I met them outside. Still in my chicken outfit.

Eventually, the fire alarm was cleared up -- it was set off by a lot of sawdust in another area of the building -- and we got to go back in, but not without some pretty big eyes among the younger set waiting outside. ("Mom! There's the chicken!" "Yes, dear, that is the chicken.") Also, it is hard to avoid smacking people with the tail.

So we went back in and I got to try on my head gear for the first time, and I have to say, I think the effect is stunning.

After the premise of the play was set up, I was introduced as the last possible challenger to the hare, who had beaten every racer to date. She was appalled at the idea of having to race a chicken, and I, appropriately, took offense at her obvious chickenism. And at her stealing one of my tailfeathers. Much hilarity ensued, and we raced all around the theater. Ultimately (spoiler alert!) she won by tempting me with delicious chicken feed, but I put up a good race. Darn that chicken feed! Gets me every time.

And then the tortoise came along as her next challenge...but that I won't spoil. You'll have to go see it. It's running through Saturday. Go!

After the play, the actors graciously signed autographs, and a couple of kids even asked for mine, despite me no longer being in costume. Apparently my inherent chickenness (chickenhood?) just emanates from me. Or something.

Paintbox is very interactive, features a ton of improvisation, and is an absolute hoot. I'm bummed that this is the first time we've gone, since that means we've missed a bunch of great plays in the past. We'll be back for Aladdin, which completes their season, in a couple of weeks!

2 Comment(s):

At 5:33 PM, Blogger GBK Gwyneth said...

Sounds like a brocking day!

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Kelsey said...

Bill, you really gave me a run for my bunny money. You put the bar exceptionally high for the chickens-to-come.

You bock.

Kelsey (a.k.a. Hyacinth the Hare.)


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