Bless Yer Beautiful Hide

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July 26, 2012 by jooshanoosh

Tonight I am heading up Provo Canyon to go see 7 Brides for 7 Brother, directed by PTA’s own Topher. I can’t wait. Firstly, because Chris is a masterful director and I have never seen one of his shows that I didn’t love. And secondly, because when I was a young lad of 17, I played the Adam Pontipee in Provo High Schools production of the same show (perhaps you remember it?)

Adam, if you are not versed in 7 Brides lore, is the oldest brother: the one who initially kidnaps an unwilling bride, thus causing his ill-bred brothers to do the same, bringing about a reign of terror as the women sing about being rescued and the men sing about how “they acted angry and annoyed, but secretly they was over-joyed.” It’s cute, right? Being in the show was a fantastic experience and full of countless great memories and I am sure tonight’s production will remind me of how great it was to be young and confident with a full head of hair, and how much more talented these actors are than I ever was.

One memory in particular stands out from that production. The lead female role in our high school production was double cast. Two very talented girls alternated nights playing Millie. During rehearsals we would simply do each scene or song twice and the Millies would swap out so that they each got the practice time that they needed. As we neared opening nights and were doing full run throughs of the play, one Millie would do one show and the other Millie would do the next night, just like it would be in performances.

There is a moment at the end of the play where Adam decides he does love Millie and he doesn’t mind her trying to domesticate him and goes back to profess his undying love. After they sing about how love never goes away, they embrace and kiss. After one run through, the director gave me and the actress playing Millie the note that she wanted the final kiss to be bigger: deeper, full of passion. After all, these are two people who, although their relationship started with kidnapping, have realized that they are soul mates and need to be together. Millie #1 and I took the note and vowed that at our next run through the kiss would be MUCH bigger.

The next night we were doing the run through with Millie #2. It was one of our final dress rehearsals and we were using, for the first time, body microphones. We had never had these in my whole, illustrious high school career and I really felt like we had hit the big time. Millie #2’s parents were there that night to watch and the entire cast and crew was watching from the auditorium when they weren’t needed on stage.

The moment arrived for the dramatic reunion for Millie and Adam. We sang our love duet and went in for our passionate kiss. Millie #2 did the typical short smooch that we had been doing up to that point. I panicked. She hadn’t been at the previous nights rehearsal and hadn’t heard the note about making this kiss BIGGER and more LOADED WITH MEANING! So I pulled her in tighter, locked my lips onto hers and mumbled, so that only she could hear “Kiss me harder!!”…which my microphone easily picked up and broadcast around the auditorium at full volume. Millie #2 was mortified and ran off stage. I was terribly embarrassed and thought her Dad might make his way up on stage to teach me a thing or two about “blessing yer beautiful hide.” And the rest of the audience, full of high school kids was whooping and hollering as only high school kids who witness public humiliation can.

Millie #2, it turned out, forgave me. She was only slightly scarred. Her parents, to my knowledge, didn’t hold a grudge. And I finally had a story to tell when someone asks you what your “most embarrassing moment” was.

So tonight, as I lounge beneath the stars in lovely Provo Canyon, I’m sure I’ll hear some beautiful songs about lonesome polecats and June brides. There will no doubt be some high-stepping choreography with axe jumps and barrel rolls. But what I’ll really be waiting for that final kiss between Adam and Millie. It’s supposed to be a big one.

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