WorldWide Drilling Resource®

The Un-Comfort Zone II by Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. Not the End of the World ~ But Felt Like it i took a drama class in college. it was fun. We studied famous plays, practiced dialogue, performed scenes, did some really goofy stuff like pretend to be different types of animals, and learned how to say, “i love you” or “i hate you” using only the word “rhubarb.” One day, the profes- sor asked if we’d like to be supernumeraries in The metropolitan Opera of New York City when it came to Atlanta. Supernumerary is just a fancy term for “extra,” and my professor pitched it as a way to get to see an expensive sold-out opera, up close and personal, while get- ting paid to do it. i didn’t see any downside, and signed up right away for three of them. my first “super” role was for Richard Wagner’s “lohengrin”. On the night of the opera, i arrived by a backstage door. i was hustled into a dressing room with all the other supers where we were quickly given costumes. After dressing, we were moved as a group onto the stage. i recollect i participated in three scenes with a costume change between each. it was the last one that has remained burned into my memory. Back in the dressing room, we were each given a soldier uniform. it included a shiny metal medieval breastplate, a leather-strap battle skirt, metal shield, spear, and a pointy Norman-style helmet with nose plate. We dressed quickly while sev- eral people pushed us to “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” i was the last to receive a helmet, and it was too large. i told the costumer, who said, “That’s the last one; it will have to do.” i suggested perhaps swapping with someone, but she said there was no time. So, off i marched in a column of 15 to 20 other supers. We were taken to the top of a very tall stage set, and told to march back and forth. The top of the set was a very narrow walkway. Below us toward the audience, were several levels that tiered down to the main stage. Below us to the back, was nothing, just a sheer drop of 40 to 50 feet down to a concrete floor behind the set. Ordinarily, i was not afraid of heights, but my helmet kept sliding down over my eyes and i couldn't see. i couldn’t see where to put my foot, and several times i felt it on the edge. There was no rail - there was nothing to keep me from falling off. With a spear in one hand and a shield in the other, i could not reach up and tilt back the helmet, so i would jerk my head with just enough force to make the helmet move back enough for me to see. it would last just a few steps, then i’d have to do it again. We’d march to one end of the stage, do an about-face, and march back. A dancer in the opera troupe was dressed as our ranking officer and marched beside us one tier down. meanwhile, i was sweating under the helmet, and the wetter my hair got, the more slippery it got, and the less it would hold the helmet out of my eyes. it got to the point where i had to shake my head back with each step so i could. i wondered if i looked like an idiot to the audience - the one soldier whose head was constantly bobbing forward and back. Then my foot went a little further over the edge than usual. i didn’t fall, but the feeling of nothingness under my foot freaked me out. Before my next step, i thrust my head back a little hard- er. And that’s when it happened. This was when i wanted to die, because my helmet when flying off my head and down behind the stage. if it had only fallen onto some canvas, a folded cur- tain, or pile of clothing, it would not 21 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® MARCH 2020 Atlantis Vault • Self-Contained • Simple installation • Trouble-free operation For more information call: (270) 786-3010 or visit us online: Wilson cont’d on page 40.