Fractured foot in photo shoot fails to foil first year

An actress did not "break a leg" during the location shooting of her wedding pictures. She broke her foot.

But for Marilyn Berger Kanes, a performer in Sunnyvale's Mystery By Design, and her husband, Richard Kanes, the show had to go on.

"We didn't know what else to do," said the bride in a phone interview from her San Carlos home six months after the accident.

In May, Berger Kanes and her spouse, who were married by Rabbi Jerry Winston March 18, were one week home from their honeymoon cruise when she fell during a post-wedding photo session in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Newlyweds and photographer were three pictures into a roll of film when the bride in full wedding regalia slipped on a rock in the middle of a pond and snapped the metatarsal shaft of her right foot.

"I knew it was broken," she said. "I blacked out for a second."

But, gritting her teeth, she hobbled for another hour. After all, she explained, they'd paid the photographer, she'd had her hair done and her husband had rented a tux.

It wasn't till after they'd posed at the Palace of Fine Arts and Baker Beach that they finally drove to Mountain View's El Camino Hospital where she made a grand entrance. A bride on a gurney was something no one there had seen before.

"I waved at everybody," she said, "waving like the queen."

The nurses were in a twitter. "They all stopped by to look at me." They told her they'd seen a lot of unusual people in emergency, but never a bride.

"Who gets married on a Monday night?" they asked.

Although her beaded satin gown was an off-the-shoulder design, it was not easy for the staff to wrench it off while she was "lying on the table" with a "foot [that was] turning black."

At midnight, with cast freshly plastered, she began a convalescence that would strain but not break the vow between husband and wife to comfort each other "in sickness and in health."

Still, "it was a hard way to start a marriage," Kanes acknowledged.

Doctors ordered her not to walk for three months. A heat wave seared the summer. Her condo had no air conditioning. Her spouse worked till 8 p.m..

"I felt like I was in a bad dream," she said. "It was so hot, I was trapped in my house on the second floor and I couldn't take a shower."

To pass the time she watched daytime TV.

"Frankly I was so depressed I really couldn't get involved in a book. I watched the O.J. trial. Thank God that was on."

With the Mystery By Design whodunit troupe, which recently performed at Palo Alto's Albert L. Schultz Jewish Community Center, she played her roles from a wheelchair. "We wrote it into the script," she said.

During a performance at Sunnyvale's Pacific Fresh Theater, the show's victim pretended to die in front of Peninsula Temple Sholom's Rabbi Andrew Straus. The audience began reciting Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. "I stopped myself from joining in," said the injured actress.

Straus' poise so impressed Berger Kanes, who was a bat mitzvah at Saratoga's Congregation Beth David, that she's now considering joining his synagogue.

By the end of September, she was back to work at her day job at Custom Color Lab in Palo Alto where she is chief financial officer. She and her husband also bought a house.

She did most of her house-hunting on crutches, attempting a staircase now and then.

After all the ups and downs, Berger Kanes says, "Married life is fine. We were tested immediately."

After undergoing an ordeal like hers, she says, "you definitely know when someone's there for you.

"You have to really rely on one another."