But in this same space we cleanse ourselves – we “make” – we think our deepest thoughts with our pants around our ankles – we pluck, comb, scrub, clip, snip, and shave. We polish and brush and groom ourselves into a high sheen. In that sacred space framed in tile, we sword-in-hand face our demons like Michael, we dream up our theses like Luther, we become Harry Belefonte with a hairbrush.
The set is coming together: tub, toilet, vanity sink, and tile wall are framing out the next few weeks of our lives. I find myself some time before rehearsals to creep over to the clawfoot tub and settle in. I take notes and soak-in the room until I become raisin-skinned. I lift myself from the cast-iron cradle. I check and double-check the eyes of the stranger in the mirror, playing out these eight plays as if compulsively washing my hands. I remind myself that we laugh at our own flatus – that we’d be fools not to – and relax a little.
The cast flits through the door, washes over the stage. Like water, each play finds its own level. Like in-laws, the players settle into the seat with crossword puzzle scripts.
I take in David’s direction and watch for reactions: it is like finding a man filing his toenails with his teeth – acrobatic, full of surprise and skill and experience. I eavesdrop on Brandi and her cast: it is graceful and thoughtful – the hum of a beautiful woman as she powders and pencils herself, a hint of fragrance from the next room.
I wonder what surprises will come from my own direction: if I will try to fuse my soap-sliver-notes to make a whole bar, or else forget to buy more toilet paper.
At this point, I am glad that chamber pots are a thing of the past.
-Matthew S. Hinton