the day before

There is just not enough coffee this morning. I had a double espresso and it hasn’t touched my fatigue. I was buzzing on the adrenaline of performing last night during tech rehearsal, finally for a small (but friendly) audience, which heightens everything. I tossed and turned throughout the night, with weird stuff popping into my almost-asleep subconscious, about Dan the quarterback, the pain in my foot, how I really needed to be getting some sleep, about all the corn in the fridge that needs put up, some school supplies I need to get for my kid, and where are the new shoes I ordered for him? Also, what to WEAR at the Pandemonium party once the ecstatic state of PEFORMANCES: COMPLETED is achieved and I am turned loose into the mass of party goers. I remember a ton of stair climbing last year; my knees are not in much better shape now than they were then, and I recall the difficulty and pain last year, so I need to prepare for that. Comfortable shoes are going to be a must, especially with all the stairs and with bad knees, and putting together a rocking party outfit from my closet of clothes-that-mostly-don’t-fit-anymore with granny shoes is not going to yield great results, methinks. But there is no time to shop.

The recent running has returned my knees almost to their pre-PT state, even with the strengthening stuff I’ve been doing alongside, so I’m probably going to have to stop it completely for a while. It’s almost impossible to strengthen weakened, damaged muscles, I’m learning. Riding the stationary bike is excruciating, so that’s out. Every step forward I take in rehabilitation seems to countered by two steps back. I’m almost certain at this point it’s the biceps femoris at fault, and general left-sided weakness all caused by my back problem, which is left-sided (spondylolisthesis grade 2, if you are a Googler). I’ve never had to work this hard at getting into shape and for so long with so few positive results, and it’s almost impossible to make any progress when working out causes you to be damaged for the next several days after, instead of just normal soreness in the progress of getting stronger. But I persevere. I’ve been dealing with this knee thing for more than two years now and am still not on top of it. Maybe I never will be again. But I’m not giving up.

Everything came together last night at the theater. All the rituals and special language that performers share, the fluidity of movement of people backstage. The communication with the stage manager. The camaraderie of everyone helping with props and sets so that the show can go on (three shows, in the case of my little performance corner, and I am in two of them so it’s a bit complex, going from nun’s habit to army fatigues in four minutes in the dark of backstage). Neighborhood people walked by the windows that face the street and looked in curiously last night, wondering why there was a guy in a dress, a nun and some people in camouflage all milling about together, but hey, it’s that crazy theatre, who knows what those people are up to in there.

I stopped at one of my regular haunts for dinner before rehearsal. My bartender asked how the lines were coming and, before I left, gave me a hug and told me to break a leg. Truly a supportive community for artists here, if not a lucrative one. The regular performance opportunities I get here are part of why I stay here. Evenings like Pandemonium are fantastic, but even sitting around in a funky art gallery slogging our way through the entirety of Shakespeare’s canon as part of the monthly Cleveland Shakespeare Festival group’s readings help nourish the acting part of my brain and keep my tongue sharp, as do the monthly Dark Room activities at CPT – it’s the same part of my brain that used to sight-read music when I was a viola player, but now it sight-reads lines from plays. My soul feels better when that part of my brain gets work, I know that much.

I’m going to take it easy tonight, after I find the special supply box my kid needs. Packing my performance bag and a little yoga. Playing with D and his eleventy billion pirate pieces associated with his toy pirate ship (Santa hit the bulls-eye on that one – nine months after Xmas and he is still playing with it). Maybe I can sit out on the patio at some point with a glass of wine if it’s not too cold, and maybe with a light blanket if it is. I need to hear the crickets and relax.


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