Months ago, when we were still wondering if there would be any snow this year, the April production of “The Deadly Game” at Stagecrafters Theater was already in the works. I was lucky enough to be asked to help with costumes. The costume director, Coco, Joan Blake and I have worked together before. Last February our crew met to measure the actors and start looking for their costumes. We three jumped on our task as soon as we found the tape measure.

Ana-Maria Arkan and Paul McNair will star in “The Deadly Game,” a psychological thriller by James Yaffe, after a story by Friedrich Duerrenmatt, that will be performed at The Stagecrafters, 8130 Germantown Ave., from April 13 to 29. For more information, call 215-247-8881or visit (Photo by Sara Stewart)

I’m not saying that all actors are liars. I’m merely suggesting that they tend to think they’re taller and thinner than they actually are. Our mission is to uncover the truth. We start with the men. We have a chart to fill in:


“Six feet.”

We write down 5’8”.


“180 pounds.”

We exchanged glances and recorded “200.”

Then we got scientific.

“Do you know your waist measurement?”

“36, I think.”

We used the tape measure and wrote “39 inches.” And on it went.

The men who wear suits to work every day often know their sizes, but we double-checked everyone.

This might not sound like hard work, but we switched jobs halfway through; she who filled in the chart now measured, and vice-versa. The switch kept our brains alive.

The women were next.

“P___ doesn’t like to be measured in public,” Coco told me.

We took her to a distant corner of the room.

“Weight?” I whispered.

“Too fat.”


“32 inches, on a good day.” Sigh.


“Oh, God, don’t ask.”


“Thousands of inches. I’m not really sure…”

Poor actresses; the measuring process alone would scare me off the stage before I began.

Finally it was time to buy fabric. Coco, Joan and I met at Jo-Mar Fabrics at 5300 Whitaker Ave. in the Northeast. Ah, Saint Jo-Mar, the patron saint of cheap fabric. We love going. We walked slowly through the aisles, mooing in pleasure when we found something at Jo-Mar’s ridiculously low prices. Jo-Mar also has clothing; there were women mooing everywhere.  Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo-moo. Extreme bargains do that to people.

We bought fabric and trim to make four judges’ robes for “The Deadly Game.” Coco took it all home with her. We only had one pattern and one set of directions for four seamstresses. No one knew where the tape measure was.

“I’ll cut out the pattern pieces and put the markings on them. Then I’ll bring them to you. I hope you can understand my chalk markings,” Coco said.

I examined the pieces she dropped off. Then I called her. “Understand your markings? Sure, Coco, I can read directions in hieroglyphics written in invisible ink; not a problem. I’ll do my best. You can count on me.”

Putting aside an entire week to ignore my family’s needs, I threw myself into sewing for THE THEATER. The robe was progressing reasonably well. Four days in, I got two frantic voice-mail messages and one e-mail from Coco, all saying, “Stop sewing immediately! I’m very sorry for all your work, but we found robes in the costume barn!”

She doesn’t understand. I’m a volunteer. Everyone at Stagecrafters is a volunteer. As long as I’m not in charge of anything, I’ll do whatever they ask. I can start and/or stop with equal ease. I’m their hand-maiden.

I stopped sewing.

Now, a minute saved is a minute spent on the Internet.  Just cruising, I saw on Facebook that a former student of mine, who now owns an art gallery in Bridgehampton, New York, is friends with Christie Brinkley, the model. There was a picture of Christie “like so excited” to arrive at the Ambassador Theatre, New York City, to start rehearsals on stage for “Chicago the Musical,” the longest running show on Broadway!

So I friended Christie. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to hear from her. I got a message within three seconds: “Sorry, this user already has too many friend requests.”

Boo hoo, poor Christie Brinkley.

My son told me that you can have a maximum of 5000 friends on Facebook. I have 23. I think 23 is a very good number, and I don’t really need any more Facebook friends. Believe me, a lot of super-models have tried to friend me in the past. Not just women. A lot of male models have tried to friend me, too. I just turn ‘em down. I work in a theater, I know that actors and models love to hang out with ordinary people; it makes them look better and boosts their self-esteem, especially after they just lied to their costumers about their measurements. And since when is Christie Brinkley an actress, anyway? She’s a model. Say cheese, Christie. Next thing you know, she’ll want to be a columnist. Go ahead, Christie, try it; you’ll probably trip over your beautiful long blonde hair and fall flat on your tiny butt. I don’t need your phony Facebook friendship. I’m not like you, Christie. I’m famous for depth of character.

I’ll just take my tape measure, if I can find it, and wait for my next Stagecrafters assignment.

Readers: I have to lie down for a while. My blood pressure is way up.

Go see “The Deadly Game.” The play is spellbinding, and the costumes are to die for.