Friday, November 13, 2009

Huckle Buckle Backstage

This is Part Three of a three-part series. Please see November entries “Huckle Buckle: The Beginning” and “Huckle Buckle Goes to School.”

Almost two years had passed since I’d seen or heard from Huckle and I was lulled into a false sense of security. This past summer, though, I was in the play Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the brand new Dayton Theatre Guild venue (please see September entry “Costumeless in a Costume Drama”) and Heather was helping style all the crazy big hair for the women.

Production week, I walk backstage and there is Huckle sitting in my chair at the makeup table! He is naked, wrapped in a sheet (since this is the way I played my first scene in the show). His nakedness only adds to his creepiness! Heather was kind enough to leave his little checkered suit in a brown paper bag.

The cast had fun messing with Huckle. He was always under tables, getting under the women’s panniers, or peeking over the folding screen used for quick changes.

When the show closed and we had strike to clear the set and props for the next production, Huckle’s little bag of clothes accidentally got thrown away! So now he’s permanently nude...unless someone handy makes him a new set of clothes.

When the cast went to The Dublin Pub for a final cast party, I left Huckle in my driver’s seat with his creepy little face looking out my window. Hours later, when I left the Pub, some stranger had stuck a note--on a napkin--under my windshield wiper that said, “That is seriously fucked up.” So see? It's not just me who is deeply disturbed by Huckle Buckle.

Heather’s birthday was rapidly approaching. I knew just the gift!

I bought Huckle a party hat, wedged a party blower into his teeth, and sewed a “4” and a “0” candle to his crotch. Then I pinned a note to his chest that said: “Blow my candle, birthday girl!”

Heather’s good sport husband positioned Huckle in her closet where he greeted her bright and early on her birthday morning.

So...Huckle is now in Heather’s possession.

Heather and I are currently in a production together.

I live in fear and remain vigilant...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Huckle Buckle Goes to School

This is Part Two of a three-part series. Please see November’s entry “Huckle Buckle: The Beginning.”

So, after Belles closes, I go about my business, teaching at The Miami Valley School, writing in the wee hours before I have to be at work. All is well and I’m living in peace and happiness.

On the morning of my birthday, I get to school, unlock my classroom, turn my swivel chair around to face me...and scream.

Huckle Buckle is sitting in my chair!!!

He has a note pinned to his chest that informs me he is enrolling at MVS and I’m to be his advisor. Heather has used a mutual friend to sneak Huckle into my classroom for this birthday surprise.

Huckle Buckle my advisee? We’ll see about that...

I had such fun, updating Heather (and the rest of the Belles cast) with weekly updates of Huckle’s misbehavior at school. My students were more than happy to participate in staging odd photo sessions so we could send evidence to Heather than Huckle Buckle simply was not “MVS material” and was not fitting in!

Huckle was caught, among his many misdeeds:
1. vandalizing the school
2. sneaking into the girls’ restroom
3. cheating on tests
4. using my classroom computer to access porn
5. stalking students

Once Huckle was expelled, he was seen lurking around outside my classroom with an axe! The police were finally involved...and Huckle disappeared.

Actually, I bundled Huckle up the next time Heather was in a show. I asked the stage manager to deliver him backstage...with Huckle’s hands down his own pants. I heard Heather’s laughter all the way in the lobby.

I thought this was a truce, right? The natural ending to a fun game?

No such luck...

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Huckle Buckle: The Beginning

This is the first of a three-part series about a very creepy little ventriloquist’s dummy. His name is Huckle Buckle.

About five years ago, I was in a show at the Dayton Theatre Guild called Belles. In it, five sisters converse only on the phone with each other—there are no face-to-face scenes. [Tangent: my friend and fellow actress Heather Martin was one of my sister’s in this play. The first show I did with Heather, she stage-managed me in Collected Stories. Next, we were in Sordid Lives, but were never onstage at the same time. Then, in Belles, we got to speak to each other, but only on the phone. At long last, we are facing off in The Hallelujah Girls. We’re not only onstage at the same time, talking to each other, we’re laying on the hate because she plays my nemesis!]

So, Heather’s character—a bad, untalented ventriloquist—was a woman who couldn’t have children, so she developed an unnatural attachment to the dummy with which she performed. When the dummy is stolen at one point, she is absolutely devastated.

I once came backstage and found Huckle Buckle sitting in my chair in the dressing room. I made the mistake of saying, “I think Huckle Buckle is creepy.”

Big bad mistake.

My character made her first appearance of the show in a towel, rushing to answer a phone. After that scene and my hurried costume change, another cast member would kindly take my towel to the dressing room.

Well, I found Huckle wrapped up in my towel. Eww.

Next I found the perverted little puppet in my bra!

One night I was looking for my earrings during intermission and Heather said sweetly, “Maybe you should ask Huckle if he’s seen them.” Some of the cast had actually drilled holes in his plastic head so he could wear my earrings!

The war was on.

I threw Huckle out the back door of the theatre one night into the snow. Another time I shoved him in a drawer with only his hand poking out.

One day, as I went onstage before the show to pre-set my props, Huckle was in my bed! He had a cigarette in his mouth and was holding my prop vodka bottle.

I put Huckle’s head in the set’s oven. Another time I tied phone cord around his neck. Next, I tied his legs together in a knot.

I naively thought that when Belles closed, my time having to interact with Huckle Buckle was over. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I should’ve known trouble would start when the director allowed Heather to keep Huckle as a memento of the show. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Misadventures of Huckle Buckle. It only gets worse...