Dec 24 2011
Kim C. Murphy, MS
Once upon a time in the mid-90’s, when I was taking a break from college and waiting tables at a nightclub in that same college town, a friend suggested that I give Community Theatre a try. Somehow I was able to muster the courage to go to an open audition, and I was cast in a small, small role in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: I was to play a prostitute. My theatrical debut consisted of me staggering onto the stage, intoxicated. I was to deliver two lines in a terrible “Cockney” accent, while talking off my shoe and throwing it at a “lying scoundrel.”
The scene that my character would disrupt with her antics involved Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present (I believe). Each night (shortly after the ghost began his visit with Scrooge by saying, “Rise, and walk with me…”), I would enter stage left; drunk, disheveled, loud, and unapologetic. I’d curse one fellow and proposition another. The audience would have a good laugh, and then something amazing would happen. The Ghost of Christmas Present, or the GCP, would benevolently lean over and sprinkle ‘magic dust’ on me, and I would instantly become a proper lady (unfortunately, the magic dust wasn’t powerful enough to make me a better actor, but that’s another story).
As I was an extremely minor character, I had plenty of time backstage during rehearsals to talk to the other actors in the production-most of whom were local celebrities of some sort. There was the newly minted attorney, whose office overlooked the town square; the artist in residence, who had painted murals on store fronts from one end of the town to the other; and the kindly Psychology professor, who was also a practicing Psychotherapist with an office down on Main Street. Even the director of the production was the Headmistress of the nice private school on the edge of town.