TWO plays in repertory. Two leading actresses. Two cases of the walking wounded declaring that the show must go on, hobbled lower extremities notwithstanding.
If any more injuries crop up during the yearlong "Season of Shores" at the Zephyr Theatre, Del Shores, the playwright, director and co-producer, may have to consider casting a paramedic and a physical therapist.
"I think we have taken this 'break a leg' thing a little too far," he quips, relieved that Delta Burke's sprained and fractured left ankle will delay but not derail her four-week run playing the three maternal roles in "Southern Baptist Sissies," a show about gay men in the Bible Belt trying to come to terms with their sexuality. Burke follows in the tripping-but-getting-up-again footsteps of Patrika Darbo, who sprained an ankle rushing to rehearsal for "Sordid Lives" in January but who managed to maneuver onstage while leaving her boot-like cast in the dressing room.
Burke's tumble running up steps while rehearsing a climactic scene last Sunday has had sterner consequences: The former "Designing Women" costar, who has done turns on Broadway in "Steel Magnolias" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," had to push back her L.A. stage debut by a week, until Wednesday. She'll go on in a cast, which has meant changes in the staging and a bit of script doctoring on Shores' part. In a scene in which one of her characters explains to a preacher that she's been missing church because her husband "gets mean when he's drinking," Burke will lift the cast for all to see and say, "Case in point."
Shores says that when he asked her to say something he could put in a news release, Burke joked that "in a 'straight' play, maybe somebody would have run over and caught me, but those Sissies just stood there and screamed."
Actually, Shores says he managed to break Burke's fall after her heel got caught on a step but not in time to prevent "break a leg" from turning into a worse example of ironic humor than it already is.