When you see the president at first you have to remind yourself that you are not watching a T.V. You are in fact seeing THE real live President of the United States.
I was performing an underwater dance on the north lawn of the White House decked out in a faux scuba gear with a bubble machine strapped to my back pumping out 1000 bubbles a minute, staring at Barack and Michelle Obama pass out candy on Halloween.
I went there with Redmoon Theatre Company and shared one side of the driveway with Chewbacca and R2D2 and a hand full of drone soldiers on lent from Lucas Films I guess. I mean I overheard someone saying that the guy playing Chewbacca was the real thing; you know the one from the movies. The other half being flanked by the minor characters of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Belle and the Beast curiously missing.
What was I doing here?
For a split second I pictured Secret Service agents flanking me and dragging me out while children cried and bubble juice leaked down the driveway. Michelle would look up and see me, I would reach my gloved scuba hand out to her. She would turn to have someone do something, anything, but it would be too late. I would be out.
I was snapped back to reality when the Press Core attacked me to get my picture, fifth-teen cameras all clicking the same frame, while I stood frozen with fear of doing the wrong thing. My first paparazzi moment and all I could do was stand there and wave my hand with a stupid grin pasted on my face.
After the Press Corps left, the kids swarmed around me with their parents all clamoring to get a picture with someone that was clearly important. And I was wasn’t I? I was an actress on the front steps of the White House.
“Whoever is in the that costume must be special! Quick Alvin, go stand in front of her! It is a girl, right? Ok, now smile!”
Then Malia and Sasha came out a side door and I was deserted. My moment had passed. I was left standing in a puddle of my own bubble residue on those presidential steps.
The girls left and the line continued to snake past me. Every once and a while kids would come up and try to catch my bubbles or pull on my costume, a family here or there would ask for my picture. But the magic was gone; I was just a costumed performer. And although my costume was designed by amazing artists and looked really cool, the person inside the costume wasn’t famous so therefore didn’t matter to an 8 year old or more importantly to that 8 year olds parent.
Just I was struck with the reality of the situation, Frank Maugeri the director who thought of me for this gig in the first place, said something along the lines of “Yep, that happened.” ,he smiled, congratulated me, and went inside for the company’s photo op with the President and First Lady.
I realized then that if I wanted to have my moment with the President, to shake his and the first lady’s hand, I was going to have to do more then just be a performer inside a costume. I was going to have to be something special in my own right, costume or not.