Well... I learned a LOT doing Phantom of the Opera on and off for three years. It was an amazing experience. That's a whole blog in itself! But this is about just one of the things I learned there... okay... maybe two things...
Being backstage at the Majestic Theatre after the show is over, calls to mind the actual story itself. Is there a shadowy man living under the Opera house teaching a woman to sing?... Maybe... When a show runs for 25 years it's got a lot of history, stories and ghosts that haunt it's nooks and crannies. And some of it's occupants have been there as long as the show. I got a note on my performance from an usher once... highly irregular but she'd probably seen it more times than anyone else.
I love theatres. They are my home. Like Epidaurus was to the Greeks, theatres are my sanctuary. A place to heal and be healed. And there is a spiritual aspect to theatre that will always be important to me. The feel of a quite theatre reminds me of being in ancient temples in Japan or in old European Churches, or in the desert with a full moon. It's like going to any place where humans pray or play, or a private natural oasis or a mountain or the seashore or the desert. If you listen you'll hear it singing to your senses and you can taste the history hanging palpably in the air.
And at the The Majestic Theatre if you listen you can hear it's history too, all the actors who've played the Phantom or Kristine or the song "Masquerade" floating just above the dry ice vats and candelabras. Thanks to George Lee Andrews" target="_blank" data-content="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrZt_ZCQpAs" target="_blank">George Lee Andrews" data-type="external" rel="undefined">George Lee Andrews (he's in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most performances of anyone in one show on Broadway and he's an amazing man!) there are photos backstage of every actor to perform in the show from it's beginning until he left, 24 years later. I'm not to my point yet... bear with me and all my ellipses... and I'll get there eventually.
Anyway, like most New York theatres, the Majestic had been there for a long time, 1927 in fact. So along with it's memories come dust bunnies and costumes that have been in and out of storage spaces and on many an actor for years. It has 1645 seats and close to 100 people backstage just to make the show possible every night. I don't know if you remember being in kindergarten, the petri dish of childhood, or perhaps you've run out of movies to watch on that endless flight to Australia where everyone is coughing and sniffling or just been at work when it's flu season?... But imagine that 1700 times over coming into the theatre every night. "That's a lot of meatballs!!" It's a lot to deal with physically and your body gets run down and overly sensitized. To top it off, I'm also sensitive to different chemicals, detergents and additives not to mention make-up. So as I got a bit run down my skin started to reject me. My job requires me to wear stage make-up almost every night. But it was irritating my skin and taking it off was awful. The week came when I couldn't wear any stage make-up at all. So again I started looking for alternatives to the commercial products on the market.
I found some great alternatives for taking off my make-up besides gentle baby wipes, even those were burning my face. One is Coconut Oil. You can get it at Trader Joe's or any Health Food Store and it's cheaper than most make-up removers. It makes you smell like a cookie though so be careful of racoons... or people who like to eat coconut off your face. You can also buy Fractionated Coconut Oil from doterra It's a great carrier oil and it's odorless. Sometimes I alternate with Jojo Oil from Trader Joe's or Vitamin E Wipes from The Body Shop. I find mixing up my regiment helps keep my face from being mad at me. It's also made my skin feel a lot less sensitive.
But my favorite is Vitamin E Oil. I started using "Jason's Vitamin E oil" on my face as a moisturizer at Phantom, but it's a little thick on it's own, so now I cut it with two drops of doTerra Lavender Oil at night before bed. The Vitamin E Oil is about 8 bucks and lasts about two months. My husband lets me smear it on his face occasionally.
Another thing I learned, Lavender is great for sunburns too! You can apply it gently with oil or put in a spray bottle with water and stay cool all day. I don't peel anymore after spending time in the desert.
So for the moment my face is not angry at me and tears that spring unwanted from television ads that get me all emotional don't burn into my skin. Ah...
And that's one little lesson for now on what I learned to use at Phantom.