I love the intimacy of performers' dressing rooms. The excitement, the rush, mixed with a strong sense of quiet and calm, preparation and meditation.
The creative and charming clutter, makeup and dresses everywhere. The smell of sweat and perfume. The knock on the door: "You have three minutes!". The nervous giggles, the sound of the orchestra warming up. The silence.
Did I ever mention how I always wanted to be a performer? A dancer, a singer, an actress, a vaudeville star? :)
~ Entertainer Josephine Baker reflected in dressing room mirror while having her four-ft. chignon wound up into a three-tiered bun by her French maid before a show at the Strand theater during her US tour. ~
~ Dancer Gypsy Rose Lee relaxing in her trailer dressing room, with typewriter on her lap to use for writing between acts. ~
~ French Cancan dancers in various states of deshabille, getting ready in the dressing room of the Moulin Rouge nightclub before their performance. ~
~ Actress Betty Grable showing off black mesh stocking she is wearing for a scene that will feature her legs, in her dressing room at 20th Century Fox studios. ~
~ Debutante-actress Tina L. Meyer putting on false eyelashes in dressing room. (later known as Tina Louise, aka Ginger on TV show Gilligan's Island) ~
~ Actress Lucille Ball wearing tomato red lounging robe while lying on chaise longue in front of mirror in her dressing room. ~
~ Actor Charlie Chaplin at dressing room mirror giving himself a wide grin as a clown on set of his film "Limelight." ~
~ Natalia Ryzhenko, in dressing room of Bolshoi Theater, before performing "Swan Lake". ~
And here is my husband's take on the idea of a double, a wonderful part of his glorious book "The Bone Man of Benares"...
"I had always been fascinated by the idea of the doppelgänger, even if I never quite accepted what it was. To most people, the doppelgänger is a double––somebody on the planet who looks just like you, whom maybe you see one day walking toward you on the street and you think you’re looking into a mirror, but it’s no mirror and the person is not you, it’s somebody just like you, maybe more you than you, maybe the you you always wanted to be, maybe the you who turned right instead of left one day and became successful, the you who is happy, the you who exercises regularly and knows that too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing.
I never encountered my doppelgänger––well, once maybe, but that was far too disturbing an event to even consider––and I figured I was probably the better off for it. So, instead, I decided to just change the meaning. After all, the word doppelgänger is so deliciously German I figured it could sustain at least a few levels of interpretation, German being nothing if not mind-boggling.
I started thinking of my doppelgänger as kind of a gang of doubles––a gang that, I decided, was invisible and existed as a protective shield around me. It was essentially a giant guardian angel, for those seeking a simpler explanation, but thinking of it as a doppelgänger gave the necessary weight I was looking for. Guardian angels are for sissies. I needed something more formidable."