Post 36 — Toga! Toga! Toga!

Tuffy Ware and Roger Evans.

The centaur of the universe.

Kathy and Carolyn set out through Tafuna as dusk started to close in, each headed for a different house. Both had babysitting clients waiting for them and the girls were deep in conversation about who had the best stuff to eat in the refrigerator. A boat had come in a few days earlier, and that meant there was probably a three gallon container of ice cream waiting for them in the deep freezers.

As the night grew darker, a figure emerged from the shadows and staggered toward them with a sinister lope. It appeared to be half man, half goat, with a bronzed, bare chest on the top and endless legs covered in long strings that ended in dark hooves. A wreath of laurel leaves balanced precariously on his curly head, held in place by small horns that emerged from his forehead. The creature gasped and gave a small scream when he suddenly came upon the girls.

“Oh my God, you two scared me!” he shrieked, clutching a dish of homemade stuffed grape leaves to his chest. “What are doing out here?”

“Hey, Roger,” said Kathy. “We’re babysitting tonight for the Jacksons and Grants. Are you on your way to the toga party? Why do you have mops on your legs? Are you supposed to be a centaur?.”

“I’m a satyr, not a centaur. And you try making a costume with only the contents of your kitchen and some masking tape,” he sniffed and waved goodbye as he trotted off to the party. Those Broquet girls were too smart for their own good.

toga1As is often the case in an environment where there is not a lot to do but plenty of cheap alcohol available, the government workers frequently let their creative sides out to play, resulting in a variety of theme parties that encouraged props and costumes as well as different ethnic pot luck dishes that contributed to the overall decor. The culture celebrated that night was Greek, resulting in togas, saganaki and mop-headed goat boys. The challenge of the evenings was to see how far you could go with limited resources.

No reason was too insignificant to hold a party. The arrival of a washing machine was enough of an excuse to break out the booze. Rowboat launches inspired speeches and formal wear (long gloves and pearls worn with shorts and flip flops), and anyone celebrating a birthday might end the day by finding a ceremonial tuba on their bed (a brass precursor to the severed horse head meme from The Godfather, although meant to be less terrifying and more fun). On December 7, Pearl Harbor Day was recognized with a Salute to World War II. Larry attended that one as a shell-shocked soldier; his costume consisted of a large conch shell tied to his head with an extension cord.

Since most of the teachers were performers in front of the camera, there was a lot of natural talent to be tapped for other projects as well. Islanders found another outlet for their creative energy at The Island Community Players, a ragtag troupe of amateurs who put on a variety of plays and skits.

Monday night Jean and I attended the meeting of the Island Community Theatre, an organization devoted to bringing culture to the island whether they like it or not. We discussed the forthcoming production of Little Mary Sunshine, the musical comedy which is to be presented in March. Thursday night was audition night so Jean went to her art class while I auditioned for one of the comedy roles. I was at a disadvantage though, because they didn’t have anyone who could accompany me in my key, which was flat. I sang “76 Trombones”, but I didn’t notice anyone swoon, nor did the director call a quick conference of his assistants to discuss how they might utilize this brilliant new talent that they discovered on a remote tropical island. Strange, that’s the way it always works out in the movies. I wonder if Robert Preston and Rex Harrison started this way.  In case you’re not familiar with Little Mary Sunshine, it’s a take-off on all operettas and musicals in which the hero is true blue and the heroine is unbelievable chaste and naive. The whole thing is corn, from the word go, and we expect to have a lot of fun doing it. If I don’t get the part I want, I’m not going to let it bother me. I’ll just suck my thumb.


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2 Comments to “Post 36 — Toga! Toga! Toga!”

  1. I believe Roger may have been aiming for satyr, not centaur. Half man half goat. And you missed an opportunity to attach the screaming goat video here. It’s not too late!


  2. “You say satyr, I say centaur” . . . no, you’re completely right. I have amended the post. And while I do adore the screaming goat video, I fear that it is so hysterical that no one will read the post. They will just watch the goat over and over. It’s utilized far better stuck in the middle of Taylor Swift songs!


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