There have been certain moments in my life where it feels as if a majority of my disparate life experiences are combining to inform a particular critical moment. In some cases, it’s not entirely surprising – like the feeling that all that Sim City play as a kid was meant to inform my future job at Maxis.
There are other times, however, where one’s experiences combine to create something so utterly inexplicable that my brain has difficulty parsing the situation. As if all of the folds in life’s blank sheet of paper have come together to form some astonishing new shape that you couldn’t see before.
Tonight was one of those nights. As regular readers are aware, this Friday was the penultimate performance of “Where No Man Has Gone Before”,the improvised original Star Trek parody I’m in as the “alien female” the crew runs into on foreign planets.
Regular readers would also likely understand what my face might have been like when the suggestion for planet name came in from the audience – “Planet of the Muppets”. I assumed, being backstage and having no view of the audience, that this came from someone who knew me, knew my history, knew my handle (MuppetAphrodite). As it turns out, whoever it was is a stranger to me.
Oddly, it’s a lot of pressure when the suggestion is something so close to your heart; my brain seized up for a time with the sheer number of possibilities and my own self-pressure to do something awesome. I ended up as my planet’s equivalent of Miss Piggy, who fell for Captain Kirk and began calling him “Kirky” while also Muppet-dancing with the crew members who were drunk on fermented radish juice. Dancing around like a silly Muppet with uniformed Starfleet crew was just… yeah. Awesome. And then Kirky got hit on the head and began acting like Kermit, voice, singing, and all – and we were betrothed as of course Piggy and Kermit always are. Spock using Near and Far to trick his crewmembers? Priceless. Captain’s supplemental log as Kermit? Priceless.
In the end, I will probably be coming up with things I COULD have done for weeks. (I could have been more aggressive as Piggy when Spock turned a phaser on me, for example, rather than taking the Muppet standard love-and-peace route.) But there was something overwhelming and yet joyful about this mashing of worlds. (Let’s not go into the sheer oddity of Muppet-style kissing with Kirk. That was… odd. Hard not to burst out laughing in the middle of it.)
It’s moments like that (the show, not the weird Muppet kissing) that make me marvel at the narrative efficiency of the universe. Sometimes it seems as if no experience is wasted; as if every bit of knowledge attained is meant for reuse somewhere down the line, like the proverbial gun on the table in Act I meant for use in Act III. What other metaphorical guns are waiting to play their part in a memorable life moment down the line?
And afterwards, I got to share the company of my fellow cast members at a bar a half block away, where we ran into old faces and played Skee Ball, which I haven’t played in ages and didn’t know was available there. So there too, I got to fold a bit of life origami forward, using the Skee Ball lessons I learned from my childhood best friend’s late father while I vacationed with their family in Wildwood, New Jersey. Plus since our Spock is also the first person who ever cast me in a Seattle area show, improv or otherwise, there’s an element of origami there too. All the folds come together to create something new and joyful.
It’s also moments like these that make me think the universe has some sort of deranged order to it; that there are higher powers with fantastic senses of humor helping us to tell stories with our lives. Odd, perhaps, but the moments when everything folds in upon itself are some of my most spiritual.
Tomorrow is closing night of this run. We didn’t sell out tonight, but we were standing room only last night and closing night only has 2 presale tickets remaining and will undoubtedly be crazy full. I will be incredibly sad to see this run end, but the cast and crew has bonded magnificently and we are all determined that come hell or high water, this show will rise again, and hopefully again and again.
As the residents of the Planet of the Muppets would say, “Many Hensons” to you all.