Me on Stilts Yesterday I had my first rehearsal for 101 Dalmatians.  It turns out this show isn’t the latest excretion of the Disney machine.  The producers went straight to a Miss Dodie Smith, or at least her nearest surviving relative, who penned the book 101 Dalmatians.  Who knew it was a book?  Did you?

Anyway.  Yesterday was lovely.  Not only were there bagels and coffee (no cream, though.  What is to be done with New Yorkers?)  and a few lovely speeches, but we ended 30 minutes early after a read-through of the script.  As the swing, I had no lines to read, which killed me of course, but I’ll get my chance soon enough!

If you’ve read my blog before, you may know that the human characters perform  on stilts.  The show is being told charmingly from the point of view of the dogs, and as such all the adults are taller and somewhat outsized, as they would appear to a dog.  Enter the stilts.

I was expecting pegs attached to our feet by strips of Velcro.  What I got was a highly technical prosthesis, the type of thing I might order for myself if I suddenly lose my lower leg, say, in a logging accident.  The stilts have shock-absorbing springs and very secure straps that go around our dance-sneaker-clad feet with remarkable comfort and efficiency.

Before mounting our stilts, however– and that term is accurate.  To get them on, we had to sit in high, stool-level chairs and be strapped in by a member of our physical therapy team, while being supervised by a member of Actors Equity.  I felt the way Bonnie Blue Butler must’ve felt the day Pork first set her on a pony.   But I digress…

We were led through a warm-up by Ashton.  She isn’t our main PT, but she ended up being the first one to help me walk in stilts, so I won’t have a word said against her.  Overall, the physical therapy team took their jobs about as seriously as the bag check people do at JFK.   In their noble efforts to emphasize safety above all else, they managed to kill a lot of the fun– except, of course, full-grown adults clonking around in stilts provides hours and hours of undeniable hilarity.  If said adults attempt to do a grapevine in said stilts, rehearsal becomes more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

I’m sure singing and dancing in stilts will be no sweat in a couple of weeks– days, even.  Meanwhile, after about 30 minutes of step-touching, step-clapping, and, of course, the grapevine, I could feel a burn in my ass and inner thighs.  We have to stay just slightly pitched forward with our abs engaged.  We’re going to be a smoking hot cast by the time we hit Miami.  Possibly we should put together a swimsuit calendar.  After all, there’s nothing sexier than a bikini on stilts.