This weekend is Doors Open in my home town. The historic buildings open their doors to the public at no charge, allowing them a glimpse inside of buildings they may have passed by all of their lives. I help out at two venues for this event. Yesturday was the Vaughn Street Jail.
The old jail was built in the 1880’s but currently stands gutted and empty except for some storage spaces and a handful of offices. There is a group of the old cells still standing in the basement. But, the jail’s most interesting features is all of the famous and infamous characters in my city’s history that have had connections to that jail.
In spite of being gutted, the jail is one of the most popular sites because the organizer has arranged a bunch of volunteers to do mini skits and vignettes representing some of these historical figures (some of the skits are done in the remaining cells, which is the very popular finale to the tour). Last year I played a very respectable female doctor with a bit of a religious and feminist bent.
This year, I wanted to “stretch myself as an actress” so I volunteered to be one of the “girls” of a well-known madam…Minnie Woods. I actually had a ton of fun with this. I was going against character but being IN character AND costume gave me the freedom to say and do things I normally wouldn’t! It was very empowering. When ever I am biting my tonge and holding in things that I want to say, I should tap into my inner harlot!
In Canada, in the past, a lady of the evening was paid with $2 bills. Because of this, it was considered to be in very bad taste to hand a respectable lady a two dollar bill. Which is why I put mine in a very strategic place.