Weekly thingy and theatre stories.
So we’ll be doing West Side Story soon, and one of the joys of working a show is learning the names of characters that may or may not ever be said aloud. So far my favourite Shark is Nibbles. That’s already a ridiculously adorable gang handle, but he’s being played by a 5’3″ dancer with a mop of curls, so, just, awwww. I want to write a children’s book about Nibbles and then get Danny Trejo to narrate it. I want Nibbles to turn up as a guest character on Dora the Explorer, and she can teach him that backpacks are great and gang banging is bad. (Nibbles could also be an INCREDIBLY TERRIFYING gang handle depending what he’s nibbling, but this is more of a jazz hands gang than a scary cannibal gang.)
Speaking of laughably inadequate gang members, did I ever tell you guys about the time I played a gang member in high school?
So, for background, I went to a deeply weird high school, which had a sort of capsule Vanguard school of about 200 students contained within a much larger, incredibly shitty and underserved inner city school (Houstonians, it was Jones Vanguard). The two programs existed primarily independently of each other, but there was some crossover here and there. In particular, the Vanguard program didn’t offer a theatre class, and the regular school did.
So, in that class, I was the only Vanguard kid and the only white girl (for the record, I’d been the only white girl plenty of times before, but not in a hostile crowd). The first few days were legitimately scary — an awful lot of the kids in that class were actual gang members, and nearly all of them were legitimately angry at the privileges the Vanguard students got. You know, crazy stuff like good teachers, and books, and freaking chalk. Luckily for me, they decided two things: 1. being Jewish means you’re Hispanic (don’t ask me why, I don’t know why, I wasn’t going to argue). 2. my nerdy Shakespeare loving ass was HILARIOUS, and not worth beating the shit out of. In fact, they told their friends to leave me alone too. It was actually my safest year at Jones.
Anyway, we were doing a new play by local playwright Thomas Meloncon, who was friends with the drama teacher and wanted to support the program. I got cast as a gang member. This is where shit gets weird: we went and performed this show at various detention centers. I had to go to the edge of the stage in front of a SUPER hostile audience and yell, I swear to God, “Imma cut you! Imma cut you up!”
I’m pretty sure my blind terror wouldn’t have made for a terribly convincing performance regardless, but as it happens, we were also responsible for providing our own costumes. I can’t find any high school pictures to hand, but I was basically wearing a lot of girly grunge. Also, I was terrified to accidentally pick an actual gang colour. So, I settled on a fitted lavender T-shirt, a baby blue plaid flannel, my light-wash fitted blue jeans (oh, 1996, I remember you), and a pair of cream colored hemp boots. The closest I got to halfway appropriate were big hoop earrings, a high ponytail, and red lipstick, and if I’d really been smart that would have been nude lipstick with brown liner. I looked like an IDIOT, but I definitely wasn’t wearing any actual gang colours.
And that, my friends, is only one of the many reasons I’m not an actor.
Places to buy stuff!
- TEEPUBLIC: mostly t-shirts, a few other products. Watch for sales, when shirts drop from $20 to $14!
- REDBUBBLE: Just, I don’t know, a ton of different stuff. T-shirts are more expensive than Teepublic, but there are a lot more options.
- AMAZON: Home of the Geeky Gals Coloring Book!
- ETSY: beaded jewelry, bags of creepy tiny dolls, and The Neurotic Owl Tarot
Did I miss something? I think that’s everything.
What’s making me happy this week:
- Wakanda Wakanda Wakandaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!