South Africa is in the midst of Women’s Month and why not celebrate women in theatre than by mentioning some of my favourite (and least favourite) personalities that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years!
1. Miss Meticulous
She’s always asking questions, she’s always double checking, this is the woman who’s walking around with a notebook just to write down what her (and everybody else’s cue) is. Her dressing room looks practically uninhibited and her outfits are always steamed and wrinkle-free. HOW DOES SHE DO IT?
2. The Bad-ass Stagehand
There’s always that one lady, who seems to be in charge of everybody else. Need something ASAP? Don’t even bother asking some other stage hand, she’s already heard your request for a mop. Without her the production would fall apart and no prop would make it on time to stage. And for her, I am forever grateful.
3. Tiresomely Talented
She’s a triple threat and ridiculously humble about it. She’s always the one to get the choreography almost immediately, and barely has to warm her voice up. And there the rest of us are, already out of breath and dizzy. She hardly breaks a sweat and looks good at the end of rehearsal (how? I’ll never know). It’s so easy to get intimidated by Miss Flawless but just remember. Unless she’s Beyoncé, there’s definitely somebody who intimidates her as much as she does you.
4. Snack Queen
Her biggest bag isn’t filled with costumes and backstage essentials, it’s filled with FOOD! Chocolates, salads, hot beverages, cold, you name them she’s got them. And it’s mostly just for her. It’s almost as if she raided a vending machine just before rehearsals. Every break is a snack break if you’re fast enough, definitely a mantra to live by!
5. Countess Competitive
She’ll never outwardly show it, but she’s the girl running to the front every time new choreography is taught, not only to be seen by the choreographer, but also to watch everybody else in the mirror. She rarely shows up to rehearsals without makeup, even if she swears those are her natural eyelashes and has to have the biggest bouquet of flowers after opening night (even if she sent them to herself).
6. The Show Girl
And by this I mean the woman who’s practically everybody’s understudy. She knows everybody’s lines, cues and positions. Everybody’s but her own that is. You see, she’s so distracted by whatever’s going on, on stage that she almost always forgets to run on for her own part!
7. The Cast Representative
There’s always the union leader who isn’t afraid to challenge ridiculous rehearsal times, or strange theatre demands. She speaks up when the plan suddenly changes and is the one who isn’t afraid to approach the choreographer or director to clear something up.
8. Barely There Babe
Always late, and she misses more rehearsals than is allowed. She’s also all over the place. Constantly in need of a hair tie and standing in somebody else’s place. Is she a good dancer? Yes. Does she remember the choreo?...maybe.
9. The Mother-hen
Need a plaster? Deodorant? Portable Charger? Don’t worry, mother hen has got you SORTED. Always prepared in case of an emergency, she’s also the one with the biggest supply of spare pins, hair clips and whatever you could possibly need during the show itself. She’s ever-ready and ever-helpful!
10. The Role Model
For me, this is almost every woman I’ve ever met in theatre. They all have that spark in them, that magic, that flame that makes it seem like the production is nothing without them, rather than the other way around. Every single one of them have something so special it unites them all together. And that is their ability to constantly be able to perform, regardless of whatever else is going on in their life. Their thick skin, their ability to take criticism like nobody else. Their perserverance and tenacity, determined with a smile. Always.
Happy women’s month, ladies. You rock.