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7:08 a.m. - 2004-04-05

WHY SHOULD I REJOICE WHEN I NEVER JOICED IN THE FIRST PLACE?

So we did our little Easter play this weekend.

We're doing it on four consecutive nights ... Friday through tonight.

I only participated on Friday. Saturday I left to go to the church and there was a huge wreck at the intersection outside our subdivision. There were ambulances, fire trucks and police cars everywhere and traffic wasn't moving.

I toyed with the idea of jumping out of the car, running toward the cops in my costume and saying "Jesus needs me! Please move your vehicles at once!"

But I opted to just turn around and go home with everyone else who'd been waiting in line for 20 minutes.

And last night I had prior commitments and couldn't go to the play.

This is no big deal since I'm really just a face in the crowd. There's roughly 50 of us in the crowd and so I'm hardly missed when I'm not there.

Anyway ... the play.

Everything went fairly smooth.

I had some wonderful dramatic moments if I may say so myself.

At one point, during the market scene, I picked up a bunch of fake grapes and held them up as if I was inspecting them.

Uncle Bob. Fake grape inspector at your service.

I then decided to add a little dramatic flair to the improvised scene.

I held the grapes to my nose as if I were smelling them for freshness.

I never really took into consideration if this is done in real life. Do people smell grapes for freshness?

Then, feeling the need to add some dialogue to the scene, I turned to a woman who was standing there next to me and said "Smell these. Do these smell fresh to you?"

She looked as lost as I was since 50 of us were wandering around the stage looking for something to do.

She sniffed the grapes and said "Why yes! Those are ripe!"

Since we had been told numerous times to not take the props away from their respective baskets and carts, I was faced with a dilemma.

I had a bunch of ripe fake grapes in my hand.

But I couldn't buy them because the propmeister would go ballistic if I walked away with them.

So how do I make this look realistic?

I'm a starving man turning down some damned nice grapes.

I decided to just put the grapes back in the basket, turned to the woman next to me and said "Eh. I'm not much of a grape eater."

She did the right thing and walked away from me, leaving me hanging in my quest to win the Best Supporting Supporting Supporting Actor Award.


There's also a scene where I'm back on stage and Jesus cures a man of his blindness.

When Jesus does this, we're all supposed to act amazed and shocked and excited.

Basically, we were told to "murmur".

All through rehearsals, this was the part of the play when I'd just turn to whoever was next to me and go "Murmur! Murmurmurmurmurmur!"

With a look of astonishment on my face.

But on Friday night, with the adrenaline pumping through my body, I took a bold step to actually make up some dialogue.

"Did you see that?" I asked the woman next to me. "Jesus just healed the blind guy!"

"I saw it!" she said back, just a bit more excited than I was pretending to be.

Hmmm.

I could tell she was a ham.

And there was no way I was going to let her steal my spotlight.

So I raised the eyebrows.

I made my eyes open as wide as they could go.

And I said "I believe that qualifies as a bonafide miracle!"

I think she sensed my underlying dramatic skills and could tell that I was really trying hard to hopefully be discovered by a casting director for another play who just happened to be in the audience.

So she countered my statement with "Yes! A miracle!"

....Aaaaand then we had to leave the stage because the scene was finishing.


Now.

Throughout the weeks of rehearsal, I always had to go to work before we made it to the second half of the play.

Basically, I had no idea what happened during the second half of the play.

I had an inkling that we had to do some sort of dance at the end.

It's not so much a dance but a series of hand gestures.

I don't mind saying ... I'm not that skilled when it comes to choreography.

Granted, this was little more than wiggling your fingers and opening your arms to the sky and stuff like that.

But still ... you had to do it in a certain order so that it looked pretty cool with 100 people all doing the same thing.

I found out that we had to fill the aisles of the sanctuary while doing this dance.

So in my infinite wisdom, I decided that I would haul ass to the back of the sanctuary and do the hand jive to the last row of the place.

That way, when I looked ignorant, at least I wouldn't look ignorant in front of the whole audience.

As I watched everyone else and followed along with what they were doing, I heard the music that signaled the hand jive was about to take place.

Just my luck, the aisles were jammed with people standing in their spots, preparing to wiggle their fingers and do an overexaggerated "Itsy Bitsy Spider" routine.

So I'm pushing people out of the way, saying "Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, terribly sorry" like Bugs Bunny trying to find his seat in a darkened theater.

Everyone starts to raise their arms in the air to celebrate the glory.

Meanwhile, I'm only about halfway down the aisle.

I freeze in terror.

There's no way I can make it to the back of the sanctuary without looking like a purse snatcher fleeing the scene of the crime while everyone's dancing around me.

So I'm stuck.

I get behind a guy who has at least taken the time to learn the three billion hand gestures we have to do in succession.

I tried to keep up with him move for move but it had to be obvious to the hundreds of people in attendance that the fat guy in the blue dress had no clue as to what he was doing.

Mainly because I was flailing my arms around and looking like Corky from "Life Goes On" if he were to ever get attacked by a horde of wasps.

After the song, we got a standing ovation which I would have graciously accepted as being directed at my award-deserving performance had it not been for the train wreck of dance moves that I exhibited at the end.

Instead, I found Susie sitting in a pew, grabbed her and said "We are SO out of here".

As we pushed our way through the crowds of people, I was greeted with several "Good job!"s from the people in attendance.

I could have easily said "What are you ... blind?!?" but didn't.

I just smiled and thanked them and kept pushing my way out of there.

Tonight I go back for the last night of the play.

I think I'm going to "conviently" have to "go to work" before the hand jive takes place.

Either that or do a warped version of the Macarena to the horror of a bunch of Baptists.

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