At one of my semi-regular BBQ-eating meet-ups (more on that TK), BBQ club member and actress Uma related a tale of regional theatre woe that I thought I’d pass on. In any group dynamic, there’s always a “that guy,” the one who bears the brunt of the company’s anger/disdain/dislike, etc., in order to keep the unit as a whole functioning. It’s a necessary role to play, though woe be he who’s cast in the part. But this story tops my experiences working with degenerate alcoholics and militant raw foodists by miles. So, unexpurgated, this cautionary tale.
Uma’s friend was in Maine, doing a production of Romeo and Juliet. Towards the end of the run, one of the actors, a young-ish guy in his mid-to-late twenties, started behaving, well, odd. Onstage during a performance, he was distracted, and chose to inappropriately hug and kiss his fellow actors while in a scene. None of this planned, but perhaps he was just “in the moment.” Cut to late that night, Uma’s friend, an actress, asleep in her bed. She reaches over an touches a body next to hers, a naked arm. It’s the actor, asleep in her bed. She freaks, tries to understand how and why he’s in her room. He says he doesn’t want to be alone. She says he needs to leave, like now. He doesn’t budge. She goes to the other company members to get help.
Eventually, help arrives, again they ask him to vacate her room. He’s got the sheet pulled up to his chin. He says he can’t, he’s not wearing any pants. After getting him clothed and removed, said actress notices her room is well, not right. Things have been moved in her absence. Her laptop, in particular, is in a different location. She opens it and finds the keys covered, in Uma’s words, “ejaculate.” The crazed actor spooged on her computer while said actress was trying to rally reinforcements.
Turns out, the guy had a breakdown, and after evaluation was diagnosed bi-polar. He was shipped off, and the company had to split his roles between the remaining actors.
Uma related this story as she’s about to leave town for six weeks to do a show in Virginia. If she’s smart, she’ll leave her laptop at home. And lock her door.