Hot Summer Mess

5 Sep

At the beginning of the season, my head-hancho manager Kevin called me into the office. I was nervous because the last time I had been called into the office by Kevin was two summers ago, during which time we had to discuss sexual harassment. I could say “It’s a long story” but it’s really not, so I’ll clarify: My friend Megan and I had made a joke about smearing liquid nacho cheese on someone’s genitalia. The scene went something like this…

Megan: Hey! Anonymous Castmate! Come over here.
Anonymous Castmate: (Coming over to us.) What?
Megan: Let me smear this cheese on your d*ck. Ha ha ha!
(I burst out laughing at her random proposition. I then dip a part of my pretzel into the cheese. I proceed to imitate Megan.)
Me: HAH HA HA! Yeah Anonymous Castmate, come over here! HA hahaha!

(I am just realizing now that by re-typing this, we actually sound like prepubescent boys. I’m almost as embarrassed now as I was back then.)

So yeah. Anonymous Castmate was offended. Anonymous Castmate then proceeded to casually mention it to our manager, who then, by law, was required to tell HER manager, who was Kevin. The entire situation was blown completely out of proportion, and Anonymous Castmate later apologized because, according to them, they had “no idea that his off-handed comment to our manager would result in a one-on-one with Kevin. I’m so sorry!” And yet… it did. It all comes full circle.

So, needless to say, my heart was beating as fast as a hummingbird’s wings. What could Kevin possibly want to discuss with me and only me?! I was the girl who never got detention. I was the straight A student who was a good role model. I even did my roommate’s dishes sometimes when things got to hectic in their lives!!! I started wracking my brains.

I haven’t been inappropriate, have I? I mean Dallas and I joke around, but I know for a fact he would never be “offended….” I haven’t even had a pretzel and cheese this summer yet!!!

I walked into the office. Kevin was sitting there in all of his head-of-the-entire-entertainment-department glory.

Kevin: Hey there! Come on in, Carolyn. Sit down.
(I sit down nervously, wringing my hands together.)
Kevin: How are you doing this season so far?
Me: Um… well, great, actually. I really like being in the country show. I love my cast, and our manager Amanda is awesome.
Kevin: Good, good! Well, listen, the reason I called you in here was…
(Suddenly, it was like his face was zooming-out backwards into a tunnel of black. My imagination started to run away with me as I imagined what I had done wrong, what I could possibly be in trouble for…)
Kevin: YOU CHANGED YOUR COSTUME IN FULL VIEW OF AJ THE SOUND GUY AND HE WAS OFFENDED.

Kevin: YOU SLAPPED LAYKE ON THE BUTT IN AN ACT OF ENCOURAGEMENT YESTERDAY AND HE WAS OFFENDED.

Kevin: YOU LICKED YOUR LIPS TO MOISTEN YOUR MOUTH DURING YOUR SOLO, AND THAT BEHAVIOR IS NOT “FAMILY APPROPRIATE.” I WAS OFFENDED!

Kevin: ….willing to swing into Hot Summer Nights at the end of the season? Chelsea has to go to college, so we need a replacement for the last few weeks.
Me: What? Oh! You want me to swing into Hot Summer Nights? Um… Sure!
Kevin: Great! Thanks, that will really help us out. Okay. That’s all.
(I start to exit.)
Kevin: And hey- great job so far this summer!
Me: (Completely shell-shocked.) Oh! Thank you! And thank you for asking me to swing in for Chelsea! I really appreciate it.
(I exit. I go puke in the bathroom. Not really, but that’s what it felt like.)

And so, relieved that I hadn’t OFFENDED anyone in the cast, I started to imagine what the end of my summer would look like. During our lunch break we would walk passed the “Bandstand” stage to get to the employee cafeteria. I would see Matt and the other Hot Summer Night’s cast members dancing and singing, completely giving it to five or six people on the blacktop pavement in front of the stage. Alright, I thought. I can learn that and do that. This’ll be fun!

The 5 Major Differences Between Being In American Country and Hot Summer Nights:

1. You’re outside. You thought performing inside a humid Panda Express and LaRosa’s pizza cloud was bad?  Now, combine those smells with the aroma of dirty diapers, murky fountain water, sweating guests, and the King’s Island Skunk. Stir gently, add sunlight and 92 degree heat. Let simmer. Waft generously.
2. You’re wearing shorts. While wearing a little blowy pink dress in American Country would seem cool, you’re also wearing capizio dance tights and a belt, which basically act like a dam for the sweat flowing down from your neck and back to just… pool around. Now, in Hot Summer Nights, you’re wearing jean shorts. Awesome, right? They’re comfortable and cool! Right?!?
Wrong. The shorts I was given were too big in the waist and too small in the thighs. So, the costumers worked their magic. They tacked the back of my shorts to fit my waist (score!) while also “releasing the seam” of the leg holes. This is a nice way of saying, “We’re trying to cover up your fat ass as best as we can.” (Note: I also can’t help but hear “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!” when I hear the phrase “release the seam.” In the case, the Kraken just happens to be my thighs. Awesome.)
3. There are more special effects in Hot Summer Nights. It was kind of a joke in the country cast that our “confetti cannons” got cut because they needed budget cuts somewhere to support the amazing costuming and special effects of the 70’s show. Throughout the season we’d make off-handed bitter comments like, “Well, maybe the end of our show would be a little more emotionally effective if we had our CONFETTI CANNONS!!!!”
Now, in Hot Summer Nights, we have CO2 cannons. They spit out little explosions of steam to make the show have an EXCITING and DANGEROUS feel. Awesome, right? Well… not when your sound technician forgets to “un-mute” the entire show, so one of your biggest cues gets cut during her “Oh my gosh why is there no sound coming out!?” moment, and you find yourself in a fully committed lay-back pose with your head arched back OVER the steam cannon… when it explodes. Just… take a second to imagine that one.
4. You have to learn the show by watching. I have always been a very physical learner. I have always learned by watching a person in front of me do the dance moves, and then I copy them. Also, I’m used to learning in a space that has a mirror. This helps the whole “judging myself” process, and aids in correcting my loose linguini torso and flabby chicken arms. Take both of those things away from me (the person in front of me and the mirror), and I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked trying to learn a show simply by watching it. Everything the dancers did, I had to do the opposite. I couldn’t mirror their movements to learn the show because then when I finally got onstage,  I would be completely backwards. And so, I stood by the sound booth dressed in khaki shorts and a green button up, probably looking like a spastic archeologist while I tried to retain some sort of knowledge of the show. Kids would watch me instead of the actual show, and they would point and laugh. Teenage black girls would put their hands over their mouths and lean into their girlfriends to say, “Is this bitch for real?” Grandfathers would look to the stage, then back at me, then back to the stage, then back to me in a head bob of complete and utter fascination and confusion. I had found a new low in my life.
5.) Rejection is a daily occurrence. In the Festhaus (the place where the Country Show performs) park guests are seated in front of the stage for three reasons: A. They want to watch the show  B. (the more common reason) they are eating their lunch and C. all of the above. This resulted in at least 10 guests at every show, because at any given point in time, 10 park guests were hungry. The Bandstand (the place where Hot Summer Nights performs) is a little different… The stage is positioned at the head of a giant fountain, so our backdrop is a lovely view of the cascading water. However, there is only pavement in front of the stage… just, a big open space of pavement. No chairs for tired feet. No benches for guests hungry for quality family entertainment. And so, this results in the ability to watch people openly and shamelessly reject you, while you are currently performing.

Cast: EVERYBODY’S WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND! (Punch! Punch! Punch! Punch!)
(Two guests carrying a giant gorrila in what seems to be a massive zip-lock baggie pause for a brief moment, to see what the five young adults on stage have to contribute to their lives.)
Cast: EVERYBODY WANTS A NEW ROMANCE! (HAIR TOSS! HAIR TOSS! HAIR TOSS! HAIR TOSS!!!!)
(The two guests place their gorilla on the ground and shield their eyes against the blazing sun to get a better look. Both of them look utterly confused.)
Cast: EVERYBODY’S GOING OFF THE DEEP END! (PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH!)
(The guests look at each other, as if to ask, “Should we stay and-“)
Cast: EVERYBODY NEEDS A SECOND CHANCE, OH! ( BIG DRAMATIC POSE!)
(“-No.” They collect their giant gorilla and continue walking on their merry little way to do… well, literally anything else.)

You know, it’s fine! The kids really do seem to like our show, and we do get big crowds after the fireworks at night! (A little voice in my brain is saying, “Yes, but that’s only because the fireworks are the last thing to happen in the park before everything else closes, so in a way, the only reason anyone stays to watch that show is because everything else is closed…”)

Only two more weekends. That’s all. Only two…. more weekends…

Advertisements

Say Something About This... Or, you know, just something. In general. About anything.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: