I'm having a hoot portraying Sugar Lee Thompkins in the Prairie Players' production of The Hallelujah Girls, but only a few people know how it almost didn't happen. Back in June when auditions were held, I was still undergoing tests for my crazy lung ailments and was half convinced I'd be dead by now. Suddenly, "overdoing it" consisted of merely staying up all day.
"Surely you'll be better by fall," my husband encouraged me.
So on the way to auditions, I prayed "God, if I'm not going to have the energy for this, please don't let me get a part."
I got a part.
Then summer continued and so did my condition. Although it won't kill me, it has me sleeping ten out of every 24 hours. No way could I put in a three-hour rehearsal at the end of a work day!
"Pull out now, while there's time to replace you," I told myself daily but never followed through.
Then the rehearsal schedule came out. With no knowledge of either my health issues or my work schedule, our director had set the rehearsals for the days I don't work. I could take naps in the afternoons! Hallelujah!
And so I got acquainted with Sugar Lee. Our conversation, had there actually been one, might have gone a little like this:
TT: So. Sugar Lee, it appears you and I share a chronic condition. Any idea what caused yours?
SL: Nasty spell of pneumonia in '81. Yours?
TT: My decade as a fire breather with the Cirque du Soleil.
SL: No way! Are you pulling my leg?
TT: Yes, I am. No Cirque. No pneumonia. Still a mystery.
TT: Yep. But I'm taking a week of holidays so I can sleep during the day and keep up with you each evening.
SL: Well, it's like I tell my friends. You are the heroine in the story of your life. You can stand up for yourself and live your dream!
TT: I disagree, Sugar Lee. Being your own hero is asking for an empty life. You can live your dreams, but they are pretty small in the grand scheme of things.
SL: Sweetheart, sounds like you need an ego massage. You are woman, hear you roar.
TT: Real hope is not based on emotional quick-fixes. We can’t save ourselves, Sugar Lee. We need a Savior.
SL: See, it's hangin' onto those old beliefs that keeps you from finding your happiness.
TT: Sometimes stuff happens that we just can't control. Life is strewn with unpredictability and hardship. Multitudes have died seeing their hopes and promises left unfulfilled, but that is what defines faith.
SL: Honey, this is the very part of your life that needs fixin.'
TT: Sometimes the reason God doesn't grant us our dreams is because he has something better in mind.
SL: Like a hunky cowboy in tight blue jeans?
TT: That's another thing. Please don't think the love of your life is the answer to all your prayers, no matter how sexy his legs might be.
SL: Are you done? 'Cuz my next gig is on another stage in a different community in a healthier actor's body.
TT: Yes, I've said my bit.
SL: Well, hallelujah.
TT: It's been good knowing you, Sugar Lee.
SL: Back atcha. Now seriously...get yourself some help. And no, you can't keep my pink shoes.
|L to R: Rosa Albanese Rawlings, Christopher Kitchen, Me, Nita Wiebe, Connie Krawec, Kevin Hamm, Laurel Giesbrecht, Lisa Marie Tessier. (Kevin plays Bobby Dwayne, Sugar Lee's love/hate interest. What a good sport!)|