It’s closing night of The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever. I can’t believe this is the last night! I’m so sad. I have loved this cast so much and this play, and this role, and I’m just so grateful to have been a part of this amazing group of people.
After the show, we have a little party. Wine, pizza, mingling, super G-rated, that ends with a little awards ceremony. Paul steps up to the podium and gives each of us an award, then has us come on stage to say a little something. Oh, um, didn’t know we had to do this, but, whatever, we’re actors. We love this shit.
I’m fairly early on the list. Paul looks down at the envelope. “Oh, Lindsay. Lindsay Lindsay Lindsay.” I do not like where this is headed. What is happening right now? Bree is not here to hand out the “award” with him, and he prefaces by saying that she was the one behind this award: “The Best Blog AssKiss Award,”
Oh my God. Are you fucking kidding me??? Paul then explains how I write a blog and wrote one about him and was really really “nice” about him. Fuck you, dude. That was a true account of what happened that night. I make my way down to the stage, fired up, as usual.
I start right into my typical, defensive stance, as I do in most situations, when Paul leans in and whispers, “Plug your blog.” So I do. Yea, I mean, whatever, fuck you guys, that was what really happened, but yea, I write a blog called Lindsayinlalaland, so, whatever. Read that. Hate you.
I’m so fake mad at Paul and Bree for giving me this award, that I think in this moment, you know what, Paul, I WASN’T going to write about opening night when we got in a fight and I hated you, but now that you’re calling me an ass kisser, I am totally going to write about it. In your face!
So here it is…
Opening night. I am a wreck. I mean, a total wreck. So nervous. I literally feel nauseous. Sick to my stomach. We have to come in early and run through this one scene because up until this point, we just haven’t done it right. Which is terrifying to know that we just don’t have it down and have to perform it in a couple hours. But whatever.
Not everyone is here who we need for the scene, but we start anyway, We start at the very top of the scene, which is not necessary because it’s not the beginning of the scene that needs work. Where it all goes to shit is when AB enters the scene with a large pepperoni pizza.
But OK, let’s start from the top. Fine. So we do, and Paul keeps stopping and interrupting people and telling them to be faster and louder and to have more energy. He keeps stopping us, and making us start over, to the point that we’re not even getting to “large pep” because we have to keep starting over, because he’s directing us and giving us notes on shit we don’t need notes on at this time.
Let me be clear. Paul is not wrong. His notes are correct. But I don’t need those notes right now. That’s not why we are running through this scene. On opening fucking night.
So now he has something to say to me. They’re playing with the lights, and he’s up on a ladder, and I can’t actually see his face when he starts letting me have it in his Paul-esque way aka condescending and sarcastic.
My line is, “So we’ll see you at callbacks?” And honestly, I don’t remember what he said, but it was something along the lines of, “What?” And I’m like, huh? And he’s like, “Yea, exactly.” To which I turn to my three castmates next to me and say, is he talking to me? Because we can’t see his face, and he’s up on a ladder, and maybe he’s talking to someone about lighting. And one of my castmates says, “I don’t think so.” And Paul, instead of just saying, have more energy and be louder, has to make me feel like a complete asshole and really beat it into the ground that yes, he can’t hear me, and I have no energy, and I suck.
Would you like to know what’s going on in my mind right now? Sure, I’ll tell you. Oh my God, are you fucking serious right now? I do not give a fuck about my energy on this line right now. I KNOW I don’t have energy on this line right now. Because I don’t care! It’s opening night! I’m freaking the fuck out! We are trying to get through this one scene and we haven’t even gotten to the point that needs work yet! Why are you stopping the scene??? AND dragging out your point when we have no time for this?? If you have a note for me, just give it to me. Don’t try and make me feel like an asshole for not having energy right now.
So, I do the line, and I mean, I milk it for all it’s worth. Over the top, cheesy, bad acting, Obviously, Paul stops me. “Lindsay, are you mad at me right now?” Let me just say that he has asked me this numerous times over the course of directing me. I think because I unintentionally make faces that look like I’m pissed off when I’m really not, because I’m just trying to tap into the character, because SHE is pissed off, and honestly, every time Paul has ever asked if I’m mad at him, I’m so completely thrown off and caught off guard that I don’t even know how to respond.
But. This time, I am pissed. And I laugh, because I don’t know what else to do. It’s laugh or cry at this point. No Paul, I’m not mad. “I’m trying to help you.” Yea, well, I’m just working with what I have. “Well it’s not good enough.”
I would love to walk off stage at this point. I don’t even know what I’m saying to him right now. I can’t formulate logical thoughts. If I could have a super power, it would be awesome reactionary one-liners.
Instead, I’m a jumble of emotions and uncertainty. No one else seems to be having a breakdown except for me, so it’s like, OK, shut up and get your shit together. Do what he says and move on. I guess I sort of do, but I’m still kind of a mess.
We have a little break where I have the opportunity to leave the theatre for a coffee run. I need to get out. I think I’ll walk to Republic of Pie, but AB is going to drive somewhere and asks if I want to drive with her.
Get in her car and she can tell I’m not OK. I try to play it off that I’m just nervous but I’m the worst liar ever. I sort of had it out with Paul, but it’s fine, I don’t care, I’m over it. No, I’m not. “Yea, you’re not. Let it out.” So I do. I vent to AB about everything that went down and she is super supportive and positive and everything I need in this moment. It’s great. We stop for a coffee and drinks and a pizza because we need one as a prop, and we’re back in her car, on our way back to the theatre. I thank her for letting me vent and she insists that I had to do it. “It’s all good. You have to get it out. We’re gonna T-Swift it up in here and everything will be OK.”
Uh, T-what? “T-Swift it?” I start to smile. We’re going to Taylor Swift it up in here?
AB turns the volume up. “You better not tell anyone about this. This does not leave this car. This never happened.” I can’t promise that I can do that, AB. We jam out hard to Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. The whole song. Beginning to end.
And now I have a new best friend. Happy opening night.