I had gone back to overseas for my second half of my 3rd year and first half of my 4th year of university. This year was exceptionally more relaxed than the first time I had been a student there. This time, I was not under the thumb of any club, board, or host parents; it was just me and my best friend who came with me. We rented a shitty but cheap and liveable flat close to the city and she worked while I went to school. I also managed to get a part-time job ‘under the table’ working two nights per week at a completely bizarre dinner theatre. One of my closest mates from the high school I went to had worked there – I forget how the hell she began working there, but she got me the job. It was totally hilarious and utterly ridiculous all at the same time. Although it was run by some higher-ups, the staff really consisted of the 4 stars of the show, 4 gay guys that made up the waitstaff and bartenders, one terrifying ex-marine chef, a dreadfully rude New Zealand girl and my mate and me.
The New Zealand girl was even scary to look at – kind of like she wanted to kick the crap out of me at every glance, but also looked so malnourished that she would probably faint if she exerted herself enough to throw a punch. Whatever she lacked in a physical threat, she made up for with her mouth. A toxic load of shit constantly flowed from this woman’s mouth; her entire life was a sob story that we unwillingly had to listen to... at great lengths... with no shame or limits as to what she would reveal. She would tell us how she had to eat dog food because she was so poor, but then 10 minutes later she would ask one of the waiters when she could purchase a bag of weed off him. She was one of ‘those’ people! She also despised me because apparently I was infringing on her territory as the resident ‘fag hag’. My mate hardly ever worked there, so it was really just myself and ‘misery bitch’ that competed for the title. I had to admit, I did get along fantastically with homosexuals, but it’s not like I was going to steal them away... hello... they’re gay! I think she just like being a queen bitch and I had come along and pissed on her flag poles.
Besides having to deal with that annoying cyst of a bully, I had a great time. I had always gone to musicals growing up. I had seen Phantom of the Opera live about 4 times, Les Miserables twice and many others. The show that played at this theatre was a parody show of all musicals – right up my alley. A musical soaked with sarcasm – it was made for people like me! I knew the words and cues to every act by the end of my 4th shift. While the show was on, we didn’t really have much to do – it was only before the show, during intermission and after the show that we actually ‘worked’. During the show, we would mainly hang out in the lobby and smoke like chimneys and have a laugh. The guys would make fun of me because even after being there for a couple months, I still would peak in and watch the show and laugh at it. My gay manager would dramatically ask me, “Honey, are you sick of it yet? I can’t bear to even think about those songs anymore! They give me nightmares!”
My answer was always, ‘No!’ I never got sick of it. I was also fascinated with the singers – as much as us waitstaff were dysfunctional riffraffs, they were actually all professionals – having performed in many of the actual productions of the ones that they were now parodying. I often would talk with them before and after the shows, although I must admit that I was a little star-struck and acted a bit retarded around them – I had no control. Then it happened... the one lead woman got the flu and she lost her voice last minute. There was no under-study and they really didn’t want to have to cancel the show at such late notice – it would mean a lot of refunds!
One of the waiters had an idea, “Jessie can do it! She knows every damn second of the show down to the last twirl! Just get her to lip-sync it.” O MY GOD! My heart began to pound with excitement – my big chance to take center stage! It was true that I had a voice that resembled more of a dying cat, but the rest? Theatre? Center stage? Oh Ya Baby! The owners and other cast members took it into consideration as a serious option; I really did know every part of the show and they did have a back-up voice track for every skit.
We went back stage and they had me try on some of the outfits. There were a couple that fit fine – like the giraffe costume for The Lion King act, and the tea cup from Beauty and the Beast, but there were some that worried me. The girl that normally played these parts wasn’t a stick by any means, she was probably a size 14 or so, but I was more like an 18. The dress for Les Miserables barely fit; I just couldn’t do it up at the back – and then there was the dress for Miss Saigon. That was a tight-fitting traditional Chinese-style dress and I couldn’t even get it up over my arse. Everyone was disappointed, but no one as much as me. Nobody said anything – there were a few sighs and tisks of frustration, but I knew what they were all thinking: If only she was a couple sizes smaller. Yes, if only! They ended up having to cancel the show that night – all because my arse was too big ;)