Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Walgreens Run

It's a well-accepted fact that at some point in the week before opening night, every dancer must make the Walgreens Run.  It can be the weekend before, or perhaps a quick jaunt to a drugstore downtown during rehearsal breaks at the Keller/Newmark, but it will inevitably happen.  Before a rep opens various sundries need to be puchased, basic health and beauty supplies need to be replenished in theater cases, and for that there is the Walgreens Run.

(Author's note: this errand does not necessarily have to involve Walgreens; indeed, Rite Aid, Fred Meyer, and even Whole Foods can stand in.  But hey, if any Walgreens people are reading this, I do enjoy your stores and product selection and would not turn down any complimentary merchandise.)

So I made my Walgreens Run today, and I thought for general amusement I'd itemize my receipt to portray the essence of the Run.  Most of what I bought is standard dancer fare, but some items are Swan Lake-specific.

Hairpins, a small brush and plastic comb: Pretty self-explanatory.  Every so often I replace the hairbrushes and combs I use at the theater since hairspray buildup leaves them a little gunky after awhile.

Hair nets: I stock up on these whenever I can find them.  There isn't much of a demand for thin, almost invisible hair nets, so not many drugstores carry them.  But thankfully the fantastic Walgreens up the street from me does! (See author's note, last sentence.)

False eyelashes and eyelash glue: I buy a new set of lashes for each rep, and I replace my eyelash glue pretty frequently.  I don't know why, but for some reason when eyelash glue starts to get old it smells positively foul.  Truly rank.  Anyway, once Halloween is over I'm sure to clean out the stores' discounted false lashes, especially the long wispy ones that prove equally useful for both the holiday and the large Keller stage.

Clip with long piece of false hair attached: At the end of last season I had my hair cut very short.  And I do mean short; I hacked off a good ten inches or so.  So for Swan Lake I'll be sporting a fake bun that I fashioned out of some hair attached to a fashion clip.  It was actually quite a nifty arts and crafts project; once home I pried the hairpiece from the clip, twisted it, braided it, looped it and pinned it into what is now a small guinea pig-sized bun.  Fake hairpieces, or hair supplementation, is pretty common in dancers.  It's safe to say that a good handful of swans will be pinning little hair hamsters to the back of their heads.

Baby wipes: The swans in Acts II and IV wear translucent white powder on their collarbones, shoulders and arms in order to project an ethereal and swanlike sheen.  Under the lights the effect is quite beautiful and enhances our uniformity as a swan corp.  The powder, however, must be removed for Act III and, naturally, at the end of the ballet.  That's where the baby wipes come in.  When OBT performed Swan Lake in June 2006 a few of us were instructed to wear a little more white powder than others, so given my (fading) summer tan I anticipate wearing quite a bit of it again.  But I'll be leaving the theater powder-free and baby-fresh.

Epsom salt: After a show, nothing beats a good dinner and a long soak in a bath of epsom salt.  The salt (magnesium sulfate) relieves muscle tension and does a pretty good job of easing aches and pains.  I do find it a touch ironic, however, that after portraying a swan maiden I'll return home to my apartment and poach myself like poultry.  Oh well.  Call me a method actor.

That's about it.  Later in the week I'll probably make a supplemental Walgreens Run for little good luck trinkets (merdes) or anything else I forgot.  I'm impressed with myself that I was organized enough to make my Walgreens Run this early; usually it's a late night errand after a theater rehearsal lets out.  Then again, it is a matter of tradition and preparation, and it puts me in the mood for the theater weeks to come.  Throw some false lashes and hairpins in my basket and I know that it's a Walgreens Run and it's time to perform.  

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