Susan Hershey is *MUCH* cooler than Christin Kapp.
Susan is stylish, confident, popular, wears fabulous shoes and bright lipstick, lots of eyeshadow, and has hair with volume to spare. She goes to the club with her friends, and meets them for dinner after their dance class. She’s COOL. She’s not awkward or anxious, or self-conscious.
She’s also not real.
Susan Hershey is the character I am playing in The Full Monty at the Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center starting this weekend.
I decided right away, when I was cast as her, that she was basically everything I’m not.
That’s the fun of theatre, right? Getting to live someone else’s life for a few hours a night? Be someone you aren’t in real life? It is for me, anyway.
Last night was our first full dress rehearsal.
I’ve spent literally WEEKS watching youtube tutorials on how to do winged eyeliner and contouring, and picking out the right lipstick shade.
When I put Susan’s makeup on for the first time, I felt like an 8th grader experimenting in her mom’s bathroom.
Then I put on the clothing.
It’s all stuff that I already own – just in different combinations than I’d usually wear.
The opening outfit is a black tunic top with a rouched bodice and trapeze cut and empire waist, paired with some funky printed grey seamless leggings and a denim jacket……
And. BRIGHT. RED. SHOES.
Like – patent leather, shiny, candy apple red flats. With little bows.
They. Are. Awesome.
And I’ve only ever worn them in the context of theatre costumes, because they’re so bright.
Until I looked in the mirror.
Suddenly, that bright lipstick, that top with those leggings….those SHOES….
They didn’t seem so crazy all of a sudden.
Susan Hershey looked REALLY CUTE.
Not at all like Christin Kapp.
And I liked it.
And then I found myself giggling – because those crazy red shoes had just come up in conversation a few days prior.
I was having dinner with someone, and talking about some of my thought processes around leaving the army, etc, and, right there at the table, in Chen’s, she says, “show me your shoes.”
“Your shoes. Foot out – come on.”
So I stuck my foot out from under the table.
I was wearing my trusty black Clarks that I wear almost every day. Sturdy, extremely comfortable….
“You’ve been free to wear whatever shoes you want for 5 years now. So why are you still wearing army-approved, non-descript black flats?”
I thought about it…..and couldn’t come up with a good answer.
I *knew* the answer….but wasn’t going to say it, because I knew I’d get the little half-smile she gives when she’s right and knows it.
“I have shoes that aren’t black! I have candy apple red flats! ……….but I only wear them in shows.”
Yep. Tried to justify the crazy red shoes.
Of course this conversation came rushing back into my head as I stood there with the shoes on, in my Susan Hershey outfit, with my bright lipstick and colored eyeshadow.
Suddenly, the red shoes didn’t seem *that* crazy.
Maybe she was right.
Maybe I could try wearing them just as Christin Kapp.
She’d challenged me to wear them in real life the other day. I’d basically written that off as something that I’d ‘do later’.
But why not?
What was stopping me?
Ummm….the real reason that I don’t wear them – they’d draw attention. Me, thinking “I can’t pull that off.” Thinking that I’d look like a hooker or a child playing dress up.
But maybe not so much.
Maybe I could do it.
So I brought them home from the theatre and decided to wear them to work.
Paired them with a black dress, grey leggings, and a red cardigan. Couldn’t bring myself to wear the bright lipstick or colored eyeshadow at the same time….but I wore the shoes.
People commented on them all day. On the whole outfit, actually.
I was so self-conscious.
For the first few hours, I felt so awkward. So exposed. I wanted to stick my feet under my desk and just hide them.
But then, I started to think that maybe my co-workers were right. Maybe I DID look cute.
I survived the day.
Last night, I got ready for dress rehearsal, and again stood in the mirror with Susan Hershey staring back at me.
“I look really cute.”
I said it out loud.
Not “this costume is cute.”
Not “Susan looks really cute.”
I look really cute.
And I DID.
One of my cast mates came to share the mirror.
“I look really cute in this….”
She agreed – and said that the best parts of the outfit were the lipstick and the shoes.
The more I thought about it, the more I agreed.
The clothes are already mine…
So why CAN’T Christin Kapp dress like Susan Hershey?
I couldn’t think of a good reason why not.
So maybe I will.
Maybe it’s just the courage I get when show adrenaline is pumping, but last night, I felt really cute.
And that outfit
And that lipstick
And those shoes….
Those candy apple red shoes
Are going into Christin Kapp’s wardrobe rotation.