Today, we go back into more of my bountiful memories of college creepers.
Once, I was in a college theater production of “Under Milk Wood”. In the cast with me, was a guy I’ll call “Othello”. I had gotten to know Othello pretty well, having been in chorus and other shows with him. What I knew of the guy was that he had a decent sense of humor but was sometimes annoying and kind of a brat. Also, his mom was very helicopter-y and insisted on walking into the auditorium to collect him personally and pick him up from rehearsals but that’s beside the point.
One day, he and I were chatting and he mentioned having developed a crush on “Annie” another member of our cast. It was a little weird that he insisted on mentioning repeatedly that he was “burning with passion” but I knew him as being prone to hyperbole anyway. Besides, in my experience I didn’t even remember a show where at least one person didn’t end up having a show-crush. I’d had many of my own in fact. So really things weren’t that far outside the realm of normal so far.
Fort least half of the rehearsals, things remained very normal. I didn’t even think about what he had told me until one night a bunch of us were very normally chit-chatting in the women’s dressing room. Annie had mentioned that Othello had asked her out and that she told him she had a boyfriend. Honestly, I didn’t see it working out with them, boyfriend or no, but “Too bad for Othello”, I thought.
Later, we were rehearsing a particular scene where Annie and some other cast members were behind me. As the narrator, I was tasked with strolling around the stage reciting pages long spiels about what was going on behind me. As I went on, I began to hear this strange, non rhythmic “THOOM!…THOOM!…….THOOM! THOOM!…” from downstage left. At first, I thought that someone may have just been moving some heavy props somewhere off stage but the THOOMs kept THOOMing. Then, when my stage cues prompted me to face in that direction, I noticed something just behind the curtain out of sight of our director, Professor Z who was watching from the house seats but just barely in view of us onstage. There, behind the curtain, hiding but not hiding was Othello… humping the floor???
As distracting as this was, I mustered the self-control to finish the scene and not look behind me to see if I was the only one who saw whatever the hell was going on. It seemed pretty clear what this was about and more importantly who this was…uh…for, but did Annie see it? If she did, my guess was that she’d be at least as distracted and disturbed as I was. But then, the rehearsal ended, we dispersed and no one said a word about it.
The next rehearsal went much the same way. During the same scene, the same thing happened more times. Once in the same spot as before and once, further off stage where he humped a railing instead of the floor. ( I mean the floor is cold concrete over there so…) Again, no one made mention of it and since it was the end of the week, all the girls from the show decided to go out for dinner after the rehearsal. While more plans and invitations were passed around backstage, I noticed on the empty stage, Othello humping the floor again, downstage center rather precariously close to a floor socket.
At dinner, everything continued to maintain its semblance of normalcy; working inside jokes from the script into normal conversation, talking about difficult scenes…
Then, being unable to contain it any longer, I awkwardly piped up,”Hey…uh… Did any of you guys notice…um…”
“OTHELLO HUMPING THE FLOOR??!!”, everyone seemed to fill in in unison.
Most of us had indeed seen what went on but none of us were exactly sure what to do about it. Even Annie, who was at the center of all this wasn’t sure of the best course of action. After all, we only had two more weeks till show time. Would it be worth potentially up ending the whole production over a floor humper? Even if we were to somehow inform Professor Z, kindly, jovial, fun uncle-y Professor Z, how would we put it to him? And if kindly, jovial, fun uncle-y Professor Z were to somehow have a talk with him, how would he put THAT to him??? And would Othello make the rest of this production even more weird and uncomfortable if we were to say anything? In the interest of making it less awkward for Annie, we left our collective decision up to her. We’d wait to show out and hope he cuts the shit once it was over. She reported to campus police if things get any weirder and we gladly corroborate her story with what we’d seen.
Fortunately, this is where the curtain closed on this fiasco.
Next, we examine.