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...

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