I told you that I worked at Universal Studios Theme Park in the show “American Tail: Feivel Goes West,” right? Just to refresh, it’s some animated kid’s movie that Spielberg came up with about a family of mice that move from Minsk to somewhere in the western part of the US (I think). We all wore giant mouse costumes and danced for a bunch of little kids (in a nutshell). First, let me tell you that the girls who played Feivel, the little kid mouse, had to be really short, and most of them were about 5 feet tall. They had to be short because the costume was made so that Feivel’s face was actually around their chest area and the girls heads were covered by the hat that Feivel wore. This also limited their ability to move their upper body. To really picture it, imagine Feivel’s face around the chest and then a human head sticking out of Feivel’s head…are you with me so far?
Another important piece of information is that there were two Feivel’s per show. One Feivel played the first part, when the mouse family is travelling out west, and the other Feivel was the “cowboy” Feivel, the one that would come out for the second part of the show, after the family arrived out west. The funny thing was that the first Feivel would run backstage, while the “cowboy” Feivel was waiting behind a banner to run out on stage for the second part of the show. The banner would be pulled up by the crew, and the timing was important so that only one Feivel was on stage at a time. Naturally, the kids didn’t know the difference, they were just happy the little stinkin’ mouse was on stage.
There was a Chinese girl on our team who played Feivel; her name was Felicia Wong. She hated me because she used to complain a lot and so I would say things to her like, “Oh Felicia, what’s wong?” She didn’t think it was funny.
Anyway, this one hot summer day, she was playing Feivel in the second half of the show. She was waiting back stage for the first Feivel to come back. Because the hat that covered her head was only attached with Velcro, it wasn’t tightly secured. As the first Feivel ran back stage, the banner didn’t go up on time, so as Felicia started to run out on stage, the banner got caught on her hat and pulled it off. She was now on stage without the hat to cover her head, and so what the audience saw was Feivel’s head cut in half with a human head sticking out of the top of it. And she also had a bandana around her forehead to keep the hair out of her eyes, so actually, it looked like a sushi chef was sticking out of Feivel! It was so hilarious because she freaked out and panicked and just stood there flailing her hands for a few seconds and then ran off stage. The kids screamed, the parents gasped, and because you couldn’t see our faces, all the other dancers were convulsed with laughter (inside our big mouse costumes).
She ran back stage so that they could reattach the hat while the rest of us did the routine without her. It was moments like that that made that job fun. When something would go wrong in the show, it made it funnier, and we could always laugh and the audience would never know. It was also more fun when we’d go to the bar and drink in between shows. There were definitely some buzzed mice dancing around in that show.
One time the giant mechanical cat that was worked by puppeteers back stage, broke during the show, and it was slumped over the rest of the show like a drunk person on the bus. Luckily, kids are too stupid to know the difference between a broken mechanical cat and a drunk.
P.S. I got my first threat of being sued yesterday for my blog about the boss who offered to pay my rent in exchange for sex. I’m very excited because if I get sued, I’m going straight to the news so that I can get more attention for the blog. Maybe I’ll get sued for this one too. I have to go eat my Rice Krispies now…..have a beautiful day!