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As we get into rehearsals for our next show, The Mistakes Madeline Made, Lydia, Krista, and Victor are going to post on some of the themes in the show, and how they approach them as dramagurge, director, and actor respectively. First up is Lydia talking about not taking a bath.

In The Mistakes Madeline Made, two characters suffer from ablutophobia, the fear of bathing. This phobia is fairly common among children, especially toddlers, but pretty rare in adults.  So what causes it? Like a lot of phobias, it depends. The shower scene in Psycho (apparently Janet Leigh never showered again after filming it).  A traumatic experience in the water. Or a traumatic experience elsewhere.

I find this last cause the most fascinating. In The Sky Is Falling, anxiety specialist Raeann Dumont talks about “magic thinking.” We all do it, just to different extents. Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Knock on wood. The Scottish Play. MANY of us say/do these things, knowing they don’t alter anything. The point is, we keep saying them. We know, really, that knocking on wood doesn’t do anything. But we just keep doing it. Not because we are saying a prayer and holding our cross or crucifix (the origin of the phrase). But because it’s a reflex. It makes us feel a little bit better. People with obsessive compulsive personalities take it to the next level. Something bad happened before or after I took a bath. Therefore, I cannot take a bath. Of course to most of us, that seems illogical and preposterous.  But isn’t it also preposterous to make an actor go outside and spin around three times if he or she says, “Macbeth”? What’s the difference between “tradition” and “disorder”?

That’s what I love about this play. Can you relate to the characters because they are afraid of bathing? Probably not. But you can relate on fear. Just fear, plain and simple. We all have something we are afraid of. Maybe it’s a big thing like death. Maybe it’s a little thing like snakes. But when you are truly afraid of something, it’s the biggest thing in the world.

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