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You can't exactly get stage-fright when you don't have to walk, talk or think.

Nonetheless, I was a bit tense before I took my star turn as Mother Ginger in the Victoria Ballet Theatre's performance of  "The Nutcracker." Somehow, I was roped into -- er, invited -- to provide comic relief for the annual Christmas show.

Producer Jim Busby and many others who introduced themselves to me backstage took great care of me. After having my exaggerated makeup applied, a scratchy wig placed on my head and fake boobs slung over my shoulders, I was all set to get loaded into a platform on wheels. (In case you haven't seen "The Nutcracker," I attached a You Tube video of another Mother Ginger. Fortunately, I know of no video of my performance.)

I literally had to do no preparation for the role. Receiving instructions through an earpiece, I just did as i was told: Wave to the audience. Count your children. Conduct the music. Sway to the music. Eat your cookie. Powder your face. Look at yourself in the mirror. Call the children back to your dress. Scold the child who dawdles.

Before I knew it, my four minutes of fame were up. I was wheeled off the stage, so there was no danger even of tripping and falling.

Along with giving my 10-year-old son a whole new view of his father, the experience gave me added appreciation for how hard those on the stage and behind the scenes work to put on a show. The dozens and dozens of children back stage somehow all came out on cue. The teenage and professional dancers worked as hard as any athlete.

Meanwhile, Mother Ginger tried to stand out of the way and not flub a role that was idiot-proof.