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  • Writer's pictureKathy Coudle-King

Making the Sausage Part III: Crank up da heat!

This is going to be short because it’s almost time to plate up this meal.

Last week had more ups and downs than The Tower of Terror at Disney World.


If you are following along on our adventures getting my new play “Retail Therapy” up on its feet for the first time, you know that last Monday one of our actors bowed out of the show for personal reasons. I was sad for her, sad for the show, just – sad.

But, as we like to say, “The show must go on!” So, I made the decision to step in. After all, who could we get with 17 days left? Who could we get that I’d trust with “my baby”?

So, like every mama who has stayed up till 1 a.m. helping their kid finish a science project only remembered at 10 p.m. -- (the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell), I dug into the lines.


24-hours go by: Ding!

My phone goes off. It’s Jace, my stage manager and, apparently, the show’s casting director. He and Ashley, the show's lead, have an actor for me.

Right. Sure you do.

Ding! --Nicole Quam.

Don’t fuck with me, Jace. I have a gazillion lines to memorize.

Ding! -- Seriously, she said she’d do it.

More expletives from me – but used joyfully. (“Fuck” is versatile that way.)

Not Quam -- too busy to take rehearsal photos!

I heard her laugh before I walked into the rehearsal room. It can and has filled many an auditorium.


I was still pinching myself. Quam was doing my play.


At the end of rehearsal, she was still there, and she said, “This play is really funny. I don’t know why I didn’t audition to begin with!”

Yeah, me either. But I’m glad she’s here now.

All week - Set and costumes

There were a few minor glitches here and there – but that’s to be expected. Those will get smoothed out this week. They’re the good kind of challenges that come along with a show. The solution is often better than the initial idea.


A little thing called my “day job.” End of the semester. Yeah, “Retail Therapy” ain’t paying no bills. Teaching writing does.

It’s the last week of the semester. An avalanche of papers is about to slide down into my lap. Tensions are high. All of a sudden, everyone cares about grades.

And then there were those tickets for Hamilton in Minneapolis I got back in the fall. I’d waited how long to see the show everyone has been raving about since – when? Lin Manuel Miranda did a song from it at the White House for Obama. Remember that? No? Check it out here: Lin-Manuel Miranda Performs at the White House Poetry Jam: (8 of 8) - YouTube


So, no. I was going. Jace ran the rehearsal on Saturday (apparently, he is also my assistant director – I am so lucky), and my daughter and I hopped in the car at 9 a.m. and joined friends for the evening show.

My review: I am amazed that all that -- book, lyrics, and music -- came out of one brain. (I’m just trying to get Nicole Quam’s chimp mask to fit so it doesn’t slide off her head.)

Applause. Applause. Standing ovation. "The room where it happened. . . . " yadda, yadda.

Okay, let’s go.


8 am. Hit the road. A five-hour drive.

Rehearsal at 2:00. Don’t wanna keep ‘em waiting.


Rehearsal went well last night. But bad news:

Stomach flu.

Two actors, one stage manager down.

10 days till show time.

It’ll be fine. Breathe.

And pray to the theatre gods:

Dear Dionysus,

Please don’t make me have to break out the puppets.

Your devoted servant,


Writing prompt: Every now and then, the Universe will surprise you – like a fantastic actor shows up when you least expected her. Recall a time when you got a wonderful surprise. What was it?

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