Final week of rehearsals
Monday night is a change of pace. Instead of prancing and posing in workout gear or semi-costume, we have a make-up and hair workshop in our normal clothes. This means we actually get to sit down at a table1! But it gets a wee bit boring after an hour or so and, when the caretaker asks for the owner of car registration ABC123 to turn their lights off, about half a dozen of us use the opportunity to slip away for a reasonably early night.
Tuesday's run-through is one of those evenings when a succession of little annoyances build up into one huge frustration. First of all, my coat for One is not in the dressing room. I ask the wardrobe mistress about it. Oh, she says, it's been sent to someone else as a sample. But I don't have her phone number. And I don't know when I'll get it back.
Great, I think. God knows when I'm going to get the time to sew on the buttons and velcro on that one. Probably during the dress rehearsal. And as for getting some practice in actually dancing in it - forget it!
I mutter and mumble and slope off to the make-up room to powder my nose2. There, I'm accosted by the make-up lady who tells me off for not having my eyeshadow on strongly enough and wants me to sit down and redo it. Well no, I can't, I'm on stage in 2 minutes, I only came in here to... oh never mind.
I go back downstairs for a sip of my wine, only to find that someone has moved or taken my glass. I sigh audibly (which makes me look like a bad tempered alcoholic, I know...)
Wednesday's call back is a real slog - we spend hours on the finale, and then have to do a clean-up session on One (how to properly hold the hats that we've just received , working on getting the kick-line straight etc). Tempers fray, voices are raised, tears prick my eyes and I try to pull myself together and act professionally. But we're all exhausted. The girl next to me curses at the singers and I give her shoulder a quick rub as a gesture of support3. I go to leave, but it is pouring with rain outside. The ever-thoughtful caretaker lends me an umbrella and I drive home in a lightning storm, little realising the maelstroms that are to come the next day...
Thursday night is our last ever rehearsal in the old church hall. As usual, something happens to prevent it being a full run-through: this time it's the arrival of the local TV crew, so we hurriedly change into the circus costumes for the colourful and telly-friendly finale. And as usual, time slips by unnoticed - we're not allowed to wear watches in costume and the shutters on the windows and the artifical light give no indication of the time. So, once again, it's midnight before we notice it.
Into the penultimate number - the Gershwin tap medley. I have a hat that fits! I have a full costume! I remember to give it that extra burst of energy at 'I got rhythym'! I even manage to do the double-toe tap that's a real killer. So I'm beaming with smiles in my final pose... when 2 of the other girls turn to me and complain that I was in the wrong position at a certain point and that's causing collisions, and that they keep telling me this...
My confidence immediately vanishes in a puff of self-doubt, to be replaced by full-blown paranoia. I shouldn't be in this number - I'm not good enough - the rest of them are probably bitching about me behind my back - I'm spoiling the whole routine. Somehow I grit my teeth and smile through the finale, before finding a quiet corner and a friendly shoulder to cry on.
It will be all right on the night... won't it?