Hart Beat

Femme Fatale - Who me?

If anyone had ever told me that I would ever be considered a horsy woman, I would have let out a giant horse laugh. I certainly have never had anyone tell me I had femme fatale qualities, which evokes yet another high pitched snort.

I grew up around horses, learning to ride before I could walk. But as a child, I had the unfortunate habit of falling off nearly as many times as I climbed into the saddle. My adventures in the saddle can be summed up in one word - complete terror. OK, two words.

I love horses, don't get me wrong. I think they are beautiful, noble animals. But I am terrified of riding. I prefer to get my horse power from cars.

So, what does all this horse woman stuff have to do with being a femme fatale? Not a lot, until you happen to be cast as the very horsy Sally Cato McDougal of the Georgia McDougals in the Over the Hill Senior Theatrical production of "Mame."

I'll agree I look the part of a horsewoman, if you look past the extra weight I bring to that picture. I've always considered myself athletic, even with my surplus saddlebags. But horsy? No, that has never occurred to me.

However, it did occur to my friend Sheila Hazzard, who in her role as the director of "Mame" decided in August that I'd be perfect as the Sally Cato character in our little musical.

I admit the character held a lot of appeal to me. As Sally, I could use my phony Southern charm to bamboozle that "little Yankee upstart, who is trying to steal my intended," into riding sidesaddle in a good old-fashioned Georgia fox hunt.

Sally intuitively knows of course, that the dear woman Mame, who is being played by my other friend, Betty Minnich, has never rode sidesaddle and has probably never been riding. An action packed fox hunt over river, hedges and fences is just the thing to upseat that tart and disgrace her in front of Sally's true-blood Beau. With southern hospitality just oozin' from her wicked pores, Sally sets that cheeky woman up, to not only ride sidesaddle, but to ride aboard Lightnin' Rod, the meanest horse on the Burnside plantation.

Being the bad one in the play is great fun. I love the opportunity to be as nasty as possible, but in such a delightfully charming sort of way. Cool.

But the best part is that I never really have to go near a horse myself. And, I get to look incredibly great thanks to the work of the play's costume lady and make-up lady. "What could be sweeter?", as Sally would say.

I have to say, just sweeping into the play to give my few Sally Cato lines is exhausting. So in the past month of rehearsals, I've gained a lot of admiration for the for the hours of work the leads in our play, which, by the way, opens next Friday night (Oct. 15) at the Sunnyside High school auditorium, have dedicated to the show.

Those over-45ers, most of whom are closer to being well over 60, have displayed endless energy. After my tiny little scene I need a nap.

I invite you to pick up a ticket and come see this group of grandmas and grandpas romping around the stage as the carefree pre-30s characters in the group's production. They are worth supporting. Besides you might get to see me mess up my best line.

As Mame would say, "Now, wouldn't that be just grand!"


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