It's one of my lesser-known talents, and it's coming out of retirement this week -- much to my wife Becky's chagrin. I learned to "eat fire" a decade or so ago (has it been that long ago? wow) for a Beaumont Community Players production of Forever Plaid. Towards the end of this comical musical review (about a tight-harmony quartet of friends who died too young and are allowed to "come back" to do the one big concert they never got to do in life), the Plaids do a speeded-up version of an entire Ed Sullivan Show ("in two minutes and fifty-seven seconds"). At the climax of that segment, my character, "Smudge," eats fire -- flaming baton, inserted into mouth, extinguishing the flame, the whole works. We did the show two years in a row, and the fire-eating was always Becky's least favorite part. (Something about not wanting me to catch on fire or something!)
Well, a few weeks back, our church's worship leader Trent gave us the details of some humorous videos we'd be shooting soon to promote choir membership, keyed on the theme "It's different than you think." One of them, which we'll tape in a couple of days, will show what supposedly happens in the choir room when non-choir people (and our pastor) are not around -- conga lines, confetti, limbo, etc., a total party. (When the pastor shows up unexpectedly, we'll be in prayer circles!) When I heard that, I wrote to Trent and offered my particular skill (as part of the craziness, like we have circus acts going on too), and he took me up on it.
I've purchased the necessary supplies (including a new fire extinguisher!) and rebuilt the fire wands, and practiced some on Saturday. Part and parcel of doing this is safety, and I've recruited my dad to be looking out for me. The practice went well. You know, I've never been the athletic type, but when eating fire, I think I get the same rush as people who do extreme sports (without the exertion!!). It's an interesting mix of terror and fun.
I'll let you know how it goes Wednesday -- and I'll provide a link to the video once they post it online.