It takes a special woman to say “Yes” to a man who proposes to her just moments after wearing falsies, a dress, and combat boots. But I’m glad she did!
I’d been rehearsing a production of “A Tuna Christmas” lo those many years ago when I decided the time was right. The play had just two actors, myself and friend Ross Janes, who had to cover some fourteen characters, half of which were women. Each actor played seven different characters throughout the play, which meant when one actor was onstage delivering a soliloquy the other was backstage changing from Bubba to Bobby Sue. The quick costume changes (some of them had to be completed in less than seven seconds) meant that we had to have someone backstage helping us.
I conned Dagmar into it. She had a rack of costumes right offstage and would help me change characters every night. After a week of rehearsals it felt normal to be wearing a wig, falsies, and a dress overtop a man’s western shirt and combat boots.
The play opened on a Friday night and everything went well. Saturday night everything went off without a hitch as well – except Dagmar asked me several times, “Did you notice how many of our family and friends are here?” When we got to the final scene (for which I was, thankfully, dressed as a man), Ross (the other actor) slipped the ring to me. Moments later when we went out for our curtain call, we went out as planned, then motioned for our dressers who came out for their bow as planned. Then the spotlight narrowed down on me and Dagmar. Very awkwardly I stammered out a proposal… I thought she was going to pass out! All our friends and family cheered. (Two elderly ladies who had been sitting in the front row asked me later if that last scene was some sort of a segue into a sequel. “No,” I replied, “I actually just proposed to my girlfriend. We’re really getting married!” The ladies hugged me.)
But it all turned out well! Nearly a decade and a half later we’re still happily plugging our way through life…