• Rebecca Parham: So as some of you have come to understand, I am a theater brat, and in my high school days, I was heavily involved in my school's theater program. Now I can tell you a lot of stories about high school theater, but we're just gonna stick with this one for right now. So in our department, we put on two shows every year, and for my sophomore year, our teacher chose for our spring play "Alice in Wonderland". I'm pretty sure you're familiar with the story. I audition of course and I get the part of Tweedledum and the old Griffin. I wanted Queen of Hearts, but my teacher was a mentally unstable vindictive woman who didn't really like me, so what can you do? Also, there were no two people in our department that looked anything alike, so we had to go for the opposite effect with the Tweedles: A tall thin boy and a short round girl. So as per usual for high school theater, we had no budget so we had to design and make our own costumes. Now, the tweedle concept that we came up with was kind of cute. We had propeller hats, black shirts, but then we made these big wide hula hoop pants that held up over our shoulders with ribbon suspenders. The other costume I wore was for the griffin, which was basically just a peach colored sweat suit covered sparsely with feathers to look like a balding old griffin. Like I said, no budget. Now chronologically in the play, the tweedle scene comes first, and in that scene, we would recite the walrus and the carpenter. The way we played it was he and I were constantly fighting for the spotlight pushing each other out of the way. A lot of choreographed physical humor type stuff, then immediately after that, we would have a battle with feather dusters and bucket helmets, and once all of that was done, we would rush offstage and go get changed for the mock turtle and griffin scene. Pretty straightforward stuff. So after weeks of rehearsals, we finally open to the public the first three nights they go off about a hitch. They're great, they're wonderful, nothing bad happens. But the fourth night, things didn't really go according to plan for me. The tweedle scene comes up and we start our whole walrus and carpenters feel. Now one of the things that we had choreographed to happen was Tweedledee would stand next to me and he would open up his arms really wide, really fast, and hit me in the stomach. But on this fourth night, he hit so hard that both of my flimsy ribbon suspenders snapped.
  • [Sound effects of her pants falling intensify]
  • Rebecca Parham: Of course, my pants immediately fall. I picked them up as fast as I possibly could, but the audience had already seen and they were all roaring with laughter. Now don't jump to conclusions, nobody actually saw my underwear, because I was wearing the griffin pants underneath. But also keep in mind that the griffin pants were peach colored. So in that fleeting moment of my pants being down, the audience thought they saw nothing but skin, and I'll tell you how I know that in a minute. I looked at Tweedledee for help. He's giving me this blank stare, Alice is dumbfounded, I'm panicking inside my head. I was terrible at improv back then. I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to do to cover for this, so I just carried on with the poem holding up my pants for dear life. I think at one point Alice tried to covertly fix it onstage with some safety pins, but the pants were beyond repair. And my hands were full because here's a little bit of life wisdom for you: You need two hands to hold up a pair of hula hoop pants. So I basically continued the rest of the scene including that feather duster battle without the use of my hands, which apparently proved to be very hilarious because the audience was dying anyways. I make it offstage in one piece, we finished the show, nothing else happens and then afterwards it was always our tradition to go out into the lobby in costume and talk to the audience as they were leaving. So I'm standing in the lobby in my griffin costume, talking to people, which was nice because it kind of felt like I was in disguise, like, nobody will know I was Tweedledum nobody will know the disgrace that I have brought up on my family. But I guess because I was in disguise, this old man didn't mind saying in front of me:
  • Aged Pervert: My favorite part was when we got to see the girls heinie.
  • Rebecca Parham: Yeah. Creepy, very creepy. Moral of the story: Don't use ribbons to hold up your pants. WHAT KIND OF MORAL IS THAT?!