I am the youngest of three girls…so I’m accustomed to being picked upon…not the one doing the picking on. I was Little Miss Apple Dumpling at age 6…10 years later I was Miss Apple Dumpling then…Miss Congeniality…Homecoming Queen…Miss Kempton Fair…---so what’s it like to play a tough girl? It’s feckin’ refreshin’. Cut my hair off…grow out my arm pits… My Nana…a beautiful make-upped and beehived woman has a whole lot to say about my haircut…which she hasn’t seen yet. She said my “beauty” was in my hair. She said “You’ll never get a boyfriend.” (way ahead of ya Nana). She comes from the age of aprons, baby-making, and hair hopping—so she also asked, “Will you be wigging yourself when you go out?” This really got my goat. I told her it’s not like that anymore. A gal really shouldn’t and doesn’t need the excuse of a show to be a “tough ole git”.
Being the only girl in the cast, though great in theory…and pretty kick ass most of the time…can really fire a girl up to being a “tough”. ‘Tough” got me into a lot of trouble during rehearsal. I felt I needed to prove something. I needed to push more. Spit more. Grab the balls I don’t really have more. The best way I recently discovered to learn about tough is to ride the subway. Everyone is trying to act like they aren’t looking at one another. Not scared of the loons singin’ their hearts out. Not skeeved out by the smelly lady sleepin’ next to ya. Not worried when the train gets real loud and its rush hour and all the wild kids bash around. Toughest woman is the Mom who rides the subway with four kids. Anyone can act tough. But who really is tough?
I think about when I trained for a marathon. I think about when I’m feeling the burn doing push ups with Padraic before every rehearsal and show. I think about how I didn’t cry when I had to put my dog to sleep…just so Mom could cry. Finding “tough” for me was not applying…but finding my own version of it and refining the playful kitten-cutesy stuff that gets in the way. Cute. Feck Tough. Feck Cute. Sometimes it takes me thinking about my own pets or other people messin’ with animals. Other times I just have to look at Davey’s long pony tail and it sets me off. One night in particular stepped it up for me—my gun. My beloved “Lucy-gun”. She broke right in two as I fell to the ground. I never knew how much I could be attached to a gun. My cat, sure. My baby blanket (shh don’t tell), sure. Even my softest pair of sweatpants…but a hard plastic gun that can shoot a cow’s eye out from 60 yards? I once saw a stage hand who I didn’t know handling it and I could feel my palms sweating. The rest of the broken-gun show I was pumped. I was enraged…on fire. The guys were a little scared…as they should be. The fecks. So tough for me….its not just spittin’ and shootin’ and hangin’ out with the dudes and cuttin’ my hair. (although I’d be lying if I didn’t say those things were a part of it too). Yeah. Just break my gun…make me take an ice cold shower after the show, or just mess with my cat. It’s a blast and I am still learning.
– Elena Bossler "Mairead"