As you may have noticed, I kind of gave up on this blog for a while. I was really into it, and then I got a job as the opinion editor for The BYU Daily Universe and was getting paid to write a personal column for a WAY bigger audience, so I lost interest. But I'm no longer at the DU and I'm starting to miss all of that opinionating. So I'm starting up the blog again, same as before-- random, mostly light-hearted musings on life with the occassional political statement thrown in.
The topic on my mind today is that lovely phrase "the show must go on." This afternoon, about six minutes before the matinee of the high school production Mame was slated to start, Cole called me all in a panic because he's been running the light board and neither one of his spotlighters had shown up yet. He wanted me to come and run one of the spotlights, because he didn't know what else to do, short of pulling the two spotlights next to the lightboard and running one with each hand while pushing buttons with his feet. Since I ran lights for a show once I was at least slightly better than that option. That being said, if his spotlighters hadn't shown up at the last second, it would have been a disaster, since it's kind of hard to follow an actor around with a spotlight when you've never seen the show before and have NO IDEA where they're going. It would have been exactly like the anxiety dreams I always get before a show, when I dream that I show up and they're doing a different play than the one I'd been rehearsing.
Anyways, it brought to mind a few of the funniest mishaps I've seen on and off stage:
1) When I was a chorus member/talking apple tree in Wizard of Oz, during a dress rehearsal that had an audience, Glinda asked Dorothy if she was a witch, Dorothy replied "Oh no, witches are old and ugly!" All of us Munchkins giggled, and at that point when Dorothy asked why we were laughing Glinda was supposed to say "They're laughing because I'm a witch!" Instead, she accidentally said, "They're laughing because I am ugly!" There was really no covering up that mistake.
2) Also in Wizard of Oz, one night backstage I ran into a certain red-haired chorus member who played one of the Wicked Witch's soldiers. When I whispered "What are you doing on this side of the stage, you're supposed to be walking onstage right now!" and tried to shove him toward the curtain he hissed back "I'm not wearing any pants!" I looked down, and sure enough, he wasn't. Someone had accidentally grabbed his pants during a costume change.
3) When I was the stepmother in Cinderella, the footman was trying the glass slipper on me when the heel got all caught up in my long petticoats. When one of my stepdaughters reached down and said "Here ma, that's my slipper, I'd know it anywhere," I gave an extra hard tug to free it, and all of the sudden I was watching in horror as the slipper went sailing through the air and into the orchestra pit. There was a second of silence, then Hannah said "Well ... it WAS my slipper," and then the whole audience burst out laughing while the footman calmly, and in character, went to retrieve it.
4) When Lance was in Suessical, I saw the tape of the night when Leah, who was playing the bird in love with Horton, came out with her hugely long tail and started singing about how lovely and long and voluminous it was. Right at the beginning of the song, her tail got caught on something and ripped off. Poor Leah had to sing the entire song about how long her tail was with a stump about six inches long.
5) During Sweeny Todd our lighting designer decided to reset a cue one night before the show to add more blue. Unfortunately they forgot the house lights were on while they were setting it, so that night in the middle of the most sad, emotional scene of the whole show the house lights popped on.
There have been a million other missed cues, forgotton lines, panicking over lost props or costumes, technical difficulties, set pieces breaking, actors not showing up when they were supposed to, people running off stage between scenes to throw up, things being knocked over backstage, injuries before and during shows, wardrobe malfunctions, actors tripping, etc. that I've seen over the years. A few of them the audience has noticed, but many of them were covered up by the brilliant improvisational skills of the cast and crew. And afterwards during the cast party, talking about the things that went wrong every night is always good for a laugh :)