The Most Dangerous Costume

costume

My middle school self was awkward to the extreme: owl glasses, a bowl cut (I was a serious tomboy), and an unfathomable desire to be in every school play.

My theatrical career started well enough with a small role in the sixth grade musical. I had one line, directed at the cutest guy in school, who was playing the lead. From there, I moved on to the roles of a main character’s lesser-known friend, a chicken, and a chorus member. I was going places, I just knew it!

The highlight of that career, however, came during our school’s production of “Snow White.” Our usual theater director was on maternity leave, and her substitute wanted to leave her mark: instead of just including the prince, princess, and evil stepmother, our stand-in teacher decided to incorporate a full cast of “woodland creatures” who talked, sang, and danced between scenes.

To be honest, not everyone knew what animal they were assigned, although we all claimed to have the best role. I was pretty confident about my status in the avian family, but I had a friend who was constantly trying to decide whether she was more affiliated with chipmunks or gophers.

This being middle school, we were asked to provide our own costumes. That inspired my mother, who’s an established textile artist, to the extreme of creating a Broadway-level bird costume. My wings were not bought at a dollar store or converted from an old Halloween costume; no, they were works of art. By sewing strips of chiffon and gossamer to a larger cut of fabric, which was then attached to a leotard, my mother provided me with an expansive and luxurious wingspan. Believe me, I was quite the hot topic in the woodland creature circle.

Going into our first performance, I was confident I had channeled my inner bird and would stand out as the star of the show. We had one particular dance– yes, birds, gophers, and rabbits, all happily dancing together in the enchanted forest– where half of us stood on one side of the stage facing the other half, then ran toward each other, threading between the gaps. The strips of fabric on my wings flowed beautifully, from my perspective: I was flying, chiffon and gossamer fluttering behind me as I went.

That had all worked just fine during dress rehearsal. If the tail ends of my wings had been slapping my companions as I ran, I was blissfully unaware. However, when we began that scene on opening night, music playing and adrenaline pumping, disaster struck: as I passed my friend the gopher/chipmunk, one of my long chiffon strips happened to catch the costume of the creature on her other side. My ambiguous rodent friend was down immediately, clotheslined right under the chin and sent sprawling onto her homemade tail.

I grabbed the offending piece of my wing, whipped it behind me, and continued on to the other side of the stage, so embarrassed I couldn’t even look back. My friend jumped up and did the same, both of us imagining that if we moved quickly enough, no one would notice what had happened.

That was the night my dad was videotaping. I’ve never lived it down.

 

Danielle Restuccia About Danielle Restuccia

Danielle Restuccia is a freelance writer in several industries, including education, healthcare, and insurance. She previously taught middle and high school English, and in her free time, she’s an avid runner and triathlete. You can follow her on twitter @DMRestuccia and check out her blog at www.daniellerestuccia.com

Danielle Restuccia About Danielle Restuccia

Danielle Restuccia is a freelance writer in several industries, including education, healthcare, and insurance. She previously taught middle and high school English, and in her free time, she’s an avid runner and triathlete. You can follow her on twitter @DMRestuccia and check out her blog at www.daniellerestuccia.com

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