Saturday, 28 January 2012

Wardrobe Malfunctions

Our brains will often turn against us. It's something you can understand. My mind puts up with a lot on a daily basis. I have filled it to the brim with pointless 90s Britpop trivia and 80s song lyrics. And then, on top of that, I'm constantly asking it where the next packet of crisps will be coming from and if it can drag out another amusing audition anecdote. So, I can't complain when it goes on strike. Those wonderful times on stage or in front of a camera where it just decides to have a little snooze. The times in an audition where it does a bit of cross-wiring and it feeds the wrong word to your mouth. That glorious moment when you're faced with someone whose face you recognise but their name is as familiar to you as quantum chromodynamics (nope, I've never heard of it either.) Those special little happenings are all when your brain is getting its own back on you. Just like you falling asleep during your friend's slideshow of their two years backpacking round Belgium, your brain needs to be a rude, charmless beast too sometimes.

But what excuse do clothes have? What stresses do they have to deal with? Ocassionally we might try and squeeze into them when we've clearly grown out of them. And sometimes we might tip a whole glass of red wine down them when we should really be heading home. But that's about it. Clothes at least get a rest. They get to curl up on the floor or hang sleepily once the day is over. Even pyjamas, the nightshift workers of the clothing world, get to laze around in bed all day.

So why do clothes feel the need to fight back sometimes? My first wardrobe calamity occurred during my second year of drama school. It was our first ever public performance as our flounces around a stage before that point weren't deemed worthy for the unsuspecting eyes of people who existed outside the drama school cocoon. We were all as highly strung as a guitar on Mount Everest and everyone wanted to make sure that it all went right. We were performing a musical and as I possessed the weakest singing voice in my year, I was given the only character who didn't have one sung line. This meant that I spent much of the first act backstage while everyone else got to prance around on stage setting up the story. The introduction to my character was right before the interval (presumably to give people a chance to escape after seeing me hamming it up) and I was wearing a dress almost entirely made up of strings of pearls. The scene I entered was one of four men sat around a poker table and all I had to do was walk around the table while making some dry remark about whether women were allowed to play. However, I only got as far as stepping on stage when a strand of pearls from my dress managed to intertwine themselves with one of the chairs meaning that I was stuck in a bungee run that was about as fun as Blackpool in January. Sadly I didn't realise what had happened until I suddenly unable to walk any further and then had to spend the rest of my scene desperately trying to untangle three feet of pearls behind my back. Exit pursued by a thousand pearls spinning across the stage.

Another awful moment was during a play I was in when I was in my first year out of drama school. The play was about the Iraq war and one of my characters was a young Iraqi girl who had been raped. I'd just been on stage where we discover that she has been brutally attacked and her mother desperately tries to come to terms with her daughter dying in front of her. For some reason, it had been decided that it would be best to drag me off stage. I can only presume that this made me look like a sack of potatoes in a pretty skirt but I was young and inexperienced and unaware it was ok to question these directorial decisions. However, I'd clearly not tied said pretty skirt tight enough one evening as, while being dragged off, I feel it coming undone very quickly. To add to this, whoever was in charge of the blackout (we were on such a low budget that we only had two lighting states: church hall lights or off and it was up to whoever wasn't on stage to do them) failed to flick the switch. So, our poor audience was subjected to the sight of my most childish knickers (they have elephants on) under very unforgiving striplights. It's a miracle no one asked for a full refund that night.

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