The Performer’s Medical Dictionary

11 Apr

Doubtless, you have heard the adage that one must suffer for his art. But not until now did you know just how much. In honor of the opening weekend of my show, I’m presenting this brief glossary of pain and injuries particular to the theatrically inclined.

Acute Bonkititus – Any injury resulting from hitting or being hit by something, including but not limited to set pieces, flying costumes, and fellow actors.

Backne (backstage acne) – Breakouts, common during closing week, caused by successive weeks of cake makeup soaking in to the pores. See red rim.

Character blisters – open welts or sores caused by dancing or costume shoes that are new, not the correct size, or are not properly closed; so named because they give you character, or at least something to complain about which amounts to the same thing.

Express Manicure – tearing, chipping, or loosing a nail, usually below the quick, during any production-related exertion.

Green Gall – difficult to cure due to its nearly unlimited sources, G.G. is a spark of envy for a castmate’s possession or circumstances. Possible causes include: hair that curls/straightens easier, the “fun” line, a better costume, or of course, the best solo.

Lift Bruise – spots of painful discoloration on the torso, often on or about the hips, as a direct result of practicing dance lifts repetitively.

Mic Tape Rash – raw, red patches, usually located on the face about the hairline, resulting from the hurried removal of microphone tape or wig glue.

Mystery Ache – Often first noticed while sleeping, a muscle or muscle group that hurts when moved. The origin of the pain is generally not discovered until the move is repeated in rehearsal, hence the name.

Out-of-body Odor – a funk originating from garments, shoes, or hairpieces that have gone unwashed for several weekends, usually because their fragility makes cleaning them regularly cost-prohibitive, or because the wearer is too afraid of forgetting to bring them back to take them to be washed.

Owl Bags – a condition resulting from staying up and out later at night than is accustomed, characterized by red eyes, purple bags, sallow skin, and parched mouth. May also be accompanied by slow thinking and a zombie-esque shuffle.

Pin Poke –  a sharp prick wound as a result of wearing costumes that are in various states of completion and/or held together with pins. May also occur during quick changes.

Red Rim – a red or bright pink line, sometimes tender or painful, around the eye brought on by the nightly application and removal of eye makeup, especially false eyelashes. Redness occasionally extends into the eye itself, often causing it to be mistaken for Owl Bags.

Shirker Syndrome – reduced productivity during the day at work or school, as a result of depleted energy stores. Increases with proximity to opening night, usually culminating on Wednesday of tech week.

P.S. Come see Jekyll & Hyde if you’re in the Atlanta area! You won’t be sorry!

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