I know exactly what the Dames mean now – you know – Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Maggie Smith.
After the world premiere of Fort Hemlock at The Station Theatre this summer in Smiths Falls, my star has risen. I just don’t know how far it will go.
And, like Dame Maggie, I indifferently fell into acting. It wasn’t something I actively sought out; as a matter of fact, the producer, Lynda Daniluk, sought me out!
I had sworn after my last (and first) appearance on stage that my footsteps would never darken the stage again. And up until July of this year, I was content to follow my heart, do a little writing, walk the dog, kiss my guy, and head on to a warm, peaceful sunset.
Daniluk changed all that. Close to her exact words were: “Sally, remember when you said you’d never go on stage again unless it was a part with no words? Well, do I have a part for you.”
She sold it really well. Just a walk-on in costume…I have since learned from others who have been taken in by Daniluk’s charm and persuasiveness that once she’s got you there, she adds lines.
Close to her exact words were: “C’mon. Only one more line…” It’s either a challenge or a beseeching — something like ‘I dare you to do it’, or ‘please, please, please’ as if the show can’t go on without that particular line.
She hooked me. Only one line, and only one word to boot!
My character was an old woman, Mrs. Dolan, who had been in mourning for 30 years and was stuck in the Victorian era. She wore a bustle (how many 2017 women get to wear a bustle?), a jabot (know what that is?), and was dressed entirely in black. My costume consisted of 13 articles and it took about 15 minutes to get dressed, not including make-up.
The clincher for me was the ear trumpet. Ear trumpets are hard to find these days, so my guy made one. He went to the dollar story, bought a large plastic martini glass, bent and moulded the stem of it with his hot-air gun, and painted it metallic silver. It was a hit with the cast, the backstage crew, and the audience.
The first night came; it was obvious we were a hit. The last night went, and
now it’s over. The week following was anti-climatic — no rehearsals, no costumes
and make-up, no mints or potato chips.
So my dilemma is this: where are the roles for ‘older women’? I can really commiserate with the Dames — they can’t find them either. But should one come along, as long as it’s one line and I get to wear a costume – oh, and I’m paid well – I’ll be there! Just call me Dame Sally Smith.