Friday, 1 February 2013

Flashback: This is Showbusiness Kid!

So, I just reread this post, first published on 27 January last year, and I thought it was funny. I am in a bad mood, have a sucky headache and a pile of crappy life weighing me down, so I needed a laugh... is it self involved that I make myself laugh with posts about me? Perhaps. Whatevs.

So, here is a little flashback to January last year, and then to the late eighties. You're welcome. :-)

This is showbusiness, kid!

Palmwoods Hall- home of The Palmwoods Players
When I was younger, my sisters and I (including my extra-sister Angela) were part of our local theatre company The Palmwoods Players. The first show I remember being in was Peter Pan. I played Wendy's daughter. I think my character was made up. But I had a kick ass yellow sleeping bonnet thing that my mum made me. I think I was about 9 at the time. I thought I was the shit.

Now, my sister Jodi was Peter. She was the star. Angela was Tinkerbell. My other sister Debbie was one of the Lost Boys. She had to wear a fern hat thing on her head and the girl playing her twin had really stinky breath. I don't think she has ever recovered, but that is her story. This is mine.

So, Jodi was often the star of the Palmwoods Players. She was (and still is) very pretty and a very good singer. I was always cool with that. "My sister's kind of a big deal" and all that.

When I was about 12, The Players were putting on Jack and the Beanstalk. I decided that I was totally going to get the role of the Princess. (Is there a princess in Jack and the Beanstalk? Another made up character!) I figured I was getting older, I could sing, I was Jodi and Debbie's sister- I was totally due a good part! I was awesome!

So, we all auditioned. The night that the parts were being announced, I was nervous, but I was also confident. It was my turn. I had nailed the audition (I assume. I have no actual memory of the auditions whatsoever)

Mike and Muriel (the funny old couple who ran Palmwoods Players, and who were responsible for all the made up characters) started announcing the cast. 
"Jack will be played by... Jodi!"

"The Queen will be played by... Debbie!"
YAY! Hang on... I don't remember there being a Queen in Jack and the Beanstalk either! What the hell?

"The Giant will be played by... some dude!"
( I can't remember his name. But he had red hair. And he was tall. Talk about type casting.)

"The Princess will be played by..... Whatever-her-name-was!"
NOOOO! I'd missed out on the part to some girl! I was super disappointed, but I thought, Hey, surely I'll get one of the other decent supporting roles. Won't I? I'm awesome, remember?

So this went on for a while.. The villagers, Jack's Dad, sundry other extras, whatever. 
And my name still hadn't been called yet.

By this time, there are only a two people left in the place who don't have parts. 
Me and Stinky Breath.
Mike says, "And the role of the front of the cow will be played by..... Stinky Breath."
My mind is screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Muriel says, "And finally, the role of the BACK of the cow will be played by... Gillian!!!

I beg your pardon, Muriel, I thought you said,
This is me and my family around this time. I am the uncomfortable looking one with the large bosoms. I am a self conscious, twelve year old girl, who's two sisters are playing starring roles. And I am the back of a cow. This is totally not going to mess me up psychologically AT ALL.

Muriel sees that I am not peeing my pants with joy and she says, "Don't worry Gilly, you are also the understudy for the front of the cow if Stinky Breath can't do it.

I remember oh so vividly, the shame and embarrassment of bending over and holding onto Stinky's waist under the musty blanket we used as our cow hide. 

Unfortunately, the show never made it to the stage. (Theatre critics around the world were devastated.) I can't remember why. Perhaps Mike and Muriel were sued by the creators of all the musicals they cavalierly added characters to over the years.  Eliza Doolittle's gay brother Donny was the straw that broke the fake cow's back.

My lovely Mum did however, make the most gorgeous cow costume for me and Stinky Breath. I actually kept the head of the cow for years. I even took it with me when I left home. 

Maybe as a reminder that if you are too cocky and arrogant, you may just end up being a big cow's arse. 

On a related, weirdly morbid note, when I was in Year Eleven in High School, I played the mayor of a German Town in a crap vampire musical. My character was called The Burgher. (German mayor's are called Burghers. You're welcome)
I think the girl who was making my costume didn't like me, because my costume included a hamburger bun hat and a lettuce tie. The hat had sesame seeds. 
Mine wasn't this cool
In 5 years I had gone from cow to hamburger. And I STILL WASN'T THE FRICKIN' STAR!!!

Were you in local theatre as a child? Have you ever played an embarrassing role in a play? Or just in your lounge room?

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  1. Love your header - looks good !!!!!
    I'm sorry that you are feeling so cr*p at the moment. I hope that you get whatever is happening resolved sooner rather than later.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE this story - sorry it is at your expense though !!! I hated doing anything where someone might actually look at me (still do !!!!) so was definitely not in the theatre - ever - except to go to shows !!!
    Have the best weekend - if you want to chat - I'm only a short(ish) drive or phone call away !!
    Lotsa hugs

  2. And then you went on to all of your minions fawning and bowing at your feet. This is the dawning of the days of Aquarius , the days of aquarius. Let the sunshine in, let the sunshine in, let the sunshine in!

  3. Time for a weigh in. I was not the queen, but dame notre, jack's bitter and crippled mother (ironic much?) This is a role that I landed after proving my talents as a dramatic actor, but a cringe-worthy singer due to a fat suit and a rendition of eat-it. You were always a star, remember the house of the rising sun audition? Whether it was I don't know how to love him or I know him so well, you frickin' blew their minds, people were slipping around in the carnage on the floor.
    Your's sincerely,
    Old ferny head
    P.s. stinky breath's name was Lisa, let's not be disrespectful

  4. German Mayors are called "B├╝rgermeister", which roughly means "Peoples Master".


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