Just enough hair for… Hairspray! (Wind in my Roots)

Posted: April 5, 2011 in Just enough hair for... Hairspray!

“Oh My Freaking Goodness”

My mind looped the horror that continued to grow louder in my ears. My seat began to shake and my palms gripped the under-flesh of my trembling thighs- the skin piercing in pain begging me to let go. I tried to keep my cool as strangers were all around me, some of which threatened to get to know me better for the next two months. The pores on the back of my neck squeezed tight suffocating the hairs. My head spun once again:

Is it too late to turn back? I just remembered… I HATE FLYING!!!

As, I struggled to regain some ounce of peace, I rehearsed the road that led me to such an unsettling fear.

It happened back in February.

Another typical audition day loomed ahead of me. The clock struck 8:30 a.m. as I peeled myself out of my lumpy bed. A black comb imprinted itself on my lower abdomen, traces of the bristles breaking my flesh as I removed my body from crushing them. I sped to dress myself, going through my usual clothes tossing ritual, knowing I am one to constantly flirt with lateness.

After the fourth trip to the bathroom, my nerves causing me to become a lot more regular than I would like to be in the span of thirty-five minutes, I grabbed my bag – dance shoes, protein drink, protein bar, reese’s cups, razor, three tank tops, peanuts and songs.

I got off of the train, just in time to run the wrong way, three times, and burst into the studio hoping the sign-in sheet had not been closed. With sweat slipping into my mouth, followed by the discomfort of entering a room whose heat had been turned to hell, I cautiously walked up to a gentleman in spectacles, daring to boldly ask:

“Oh, do you need my resume?”

Puzzled was the understatement of his facial distortion. Whipping his head to me, neck cocked back and ready to fire, as if I had formed the funk of the air, he proclaimed:

“Well, first, sign in and I will call you.”

He pushed the paper towards me and quickly forgot my presence as fast as he acknowledged it, continuing his roll call as if he had not missed a beat. I scroll down to the nearest line:

One-hundred and Nineteen… What the hoochie-tooch booty pop?

Looking around the room, I couldn’t help but notice a sea of humans possessing an extra appendage, none of them being female. My nerves thumped against my skull:

I am one-hundred and nineteenth and there are still people walking in.

By that point I knew my presence resembled nothing more than a heifer on a cattle drive to the sea of eyes sizing me up and making their assessment. I slumped to the floor, near the only face I was familiar with (another guy I had met at a previous audition) as we surveyed our environment. Before we could fully appraise our surroundings, the herdsmen began the cattle call.

I sat on the floor, pretending to stretch as I was intermittently attacked by outburst of nervous laughter. Some seem annoyed by my explosion, as others successfully ignored me, brushing me off to be an amateur. I had to urge to jump to my feet and yell:

“I am an amateur ‘tricks’, so how you like them pineapple slices?”

However, I had no time to form a comeback to my, perceived, silent rejection. Just as quickly as the animals were called into slaughter, they were back out licking their wounds. Tears were being fought in some eyes, while fake smiles replaced disappointment in others. I took a deep swallow, only to create a blow-fish in my throat. I struggled to catch my breath as my wind was temporarily cut off.

Soon, my friend had entered the room, only to leave me with the following advice:

“I made it through. Make sure you don’t get cut.”

In that moment I wished I had some Vaseline and switch-blades as I was certainly bent on cutting him. I muttered a few words under my breath and took to the room, making sure to get a front row seat.

The choreographer started. Her arms contorted, her feet low-fived the floor as if she was in flash dance, and she made leaps and bounds as if praising the Lord. And approximately five minutes later, after her revival dance, I was wondering what to do on count one, searching my memory bank for the first beat. Nevertheless, as they say in showbiz:

“You betta work b—-.”

And WORK is what I did. My mind worked to stay afloat and my body worked to make sense of what my eyes could not comprehend. And before I could fully grasp control of my flailing limbs, it was my group of four’s turn to perform for the butchers. The only problem was I didn’t finalize my big finish.

There were jazz hands, thumbs ups, one-knee leans to the crowd and on-the-hip cowboy approval smiles being displayed in every group at the conclusion of the music. But I needed to stand out. I needed the sis-boom-bang-pow that would snatch attention and fling me to the next level. And as I sped through the moves, just before the finish, I found my finale signature:

Instead of doing some smiley cheese of approval, I am going to do something you NEVER see in a performer’s big finish.

In theatre, everyone’s goal is to be seen. Those pearly whites that have been bleached, straightened and root-canalled to display perfection, but I had come up with the perfect scheme, a sure showstopper:

I am going to do a back bend all the way to the floor and totally catch them off guard.

I went into my last move.

I jumped as high as gravity would allow, knowing that I would soon rebound and be completely upside down, mesmerizing them with my originality. And everything seemed to be going as planned, as I hit every dance step and was on my way to being a true original. However, adrenaline devised a plan for my humility.

My back arched and my hands reached for the ground, waiting to catch the brunt of my weight. The only problem was that my hands, instead of reaching down, reached out. Because of this, I got the bang I was looking for.

My head ricocheted off the wood floor, making the sound of a bowling ball being dropped. Gasps and grunts of pain was felt and heard throughout all that observed me, some twisting their heads in horror.

With me, a sharp pain seared down my neck as my cranium bounced, twice, against the floor. Trying to put on a brave face, I jumped to my feet, laughing, as if nothing had happened. Still, I fought the urge the run in circles, like a child, rubbing the back of my head wanting my mother to kiss it better.

I looked towards the butchers, only to see some grimacing in pain and fighting off the urge to comment with laughter. Agony struck me as I studied the placement of my headshot, wishing it into acceptance. And thus, my name was called. From there the surprises kept coming, but none as surprising as a contract offer to be in the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s Production of Hairspray!

So, here I sit, terrified that the laws of physics are going to forsake and praying to God that I am not sent spiral-plummeting towards an unforgiving earth being led by gravity.

Is it too late to catch a train… or better yet… walk?

5…4…3…2…1 Cap off!!!

It’s hard to believe that I have Just Enough Hair for… Hairspray!



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