Saturday, 15 May 2010

Who Designed the Toilet Cubicle Anyway?

A question I have asked myself many times when I have found myself wedged up against the wall, one foot on the bowl, surrounded by bags, trying to squeeze into a pair of tights.

Toilet cubicles, railway platforms and, when you’re feeling flush, coffee shops have long been the place for a busy actor to regroup between appointments.

Many a time have I bolted down my lunch on a tube platform. Changed shoes and done hair and make up on a train. My fetish for being ridiculously early for everything has meant I have loitered like a permanent ghostly presence in many a Pret a Manger.  And regularly had a complete costume change in a public convenience.

Particularly good are the times when you are performing in a venue with little or no backstage space.  I did a show once in a small community centre which provided a 6ft by 5ft cupboard as wardrobe and make up for 6 actors including 3 large men. Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms about changing in front of other people, but some things a lady really needs to attend to in private. So I would trot off to the freezing dimly lit ladies room to find myself doing a masterclass in advanced gymnastics trying to squeeze into my epic suck-it-all-in pants.

If I had my way, toilet cubicles would be considerably bigger. With shelves, hanging space and a stock of essentials. Perhaps actors should form a pact, much like Arctic explorers do when they use those huts in the middle of nowhere, of keeping the fire laid and the matches out for the next poor frost-bitten soul.

Whoever changes in the cubicle last leaves out tissues, hair grips and some Echinacea.

Frothy Mocha x

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