Fankooo. Fankooo, lay-eez and genh-el-men. I wheel now place myself in a stay-ut of menh-uhl readiness for dis eavenenz puh-formance, an clear my innuh bein of all EXintrinsic and sumeranumerarial material.”
You understand that? Yeah. Me either. But, that’s my first line in a play called The 39 Steps, opening at The Warehouse Theatre on April 27th and playing for 3 weeks. During this romp, I get to (along with local juggernaut actor Jason Shipman) change characters about ten times, some while on stage playing another character. I get to climb the outer wall of moving train. I get to crash through doors and windows. I get to fly a plane. All these while trying maintain some sense of decorum and sophistication in telling the plot of the story.
But, this post is not about me. It’s not about the story, (although everyone should see the show at least 6 times.) No…this post is about my knees, elbows, wrists and feet. At one point in my life they were crucial to my success as a football player, baseball player, lawn mower and general athlete. I used love yard work, getting outside and building things. I rode my bike everywhere, no matter the distance. I was active. And, I could do anything extracurricular and feel perfect the next morning.
Then something happened. I got older. I’m not quite sure when it happened, but it hasn’t been that long. I think it may have been around the time I turned 35. Getting off the couch became a struggle. Putting socks on has been come a struggle. Sitting down for long periods of time and then getting up has a different feel to it. And, now when I work in the yard (which I still love,) the next day I feel as though I’ve been drug up and down I-85. I bruise easier. I scrape easier. My muscles, which I used to count on, are a lot more tired these days.
Now, I must say, my extracurricular activities have fluctuated over the last few years. It’s a lot more fun to have a wonderful glass of Jack Daniels after a long day at work than to put on some clothes and go for a run. So, some of my aches and pains have to do with that. But, I don’t think I eat awfully, except for the occasional pizza.
So, back to the play. In the show, I’m up. I’m down. I’m around. I spin. I leap. I fall. I get up. I get shot. I get back up, and on and on it goes. And, there’s very little time to rest. It’s more fun than one person should ever be allowed to have. But, there are those times when I’m bent over, sucking for air and remembered the last time I played a clown in a show who had to do all these things…
It wasn’t too long ago and there were a few older members of the cast. Not too much older, but older. And, I would run and jump and roll and reach and fall, etc and I would bounce up and be ready to go again. I would look over and see some of the older members of the cast sucking for air, or sitting down dotting their heads with handkerchiefs. I felt for them. But, I also had NO CLUE what that would feel like. I thought I would NEVER know what it would feel like. I was invincible.
Well, a few years later, many bottles of wine and an increased work schedule have proven to me that I am on that path. I found myself the other day sitting down in between a scene wishing that I had a handkerchief to dab my head. I had crossed over. Now, I don’t have to go home and ice my knees and shoulders so I can get ready for the next day (although it wouldn’t hurt) but I do feel it. The morning walk to the shower is a lot slower and more deliberate than it used to be.
But, at the end of day, each step has a smile in it. I get to do theatre. Not only do I get to do theatre, but I also get to do great theatre – with my friends at The Warehouse. And, I know that if I fall down, and I can’t get up, I’ll have plenty of folks there to lend me a hand and dust me off and give me the encouragement to keep going.
Check out the show. The 39 Steps
The Warehouse Theatre
37 Augusta St.