BWW Blog: THEATRE HORROR STORY: A Perspective Story for Spooky Season
In honor of the Halloween season, I asked the following questions on my Facebook and Instagram:
"What are some of your THEATRE HORROR STORIES???"
The amount of responses I got was insane! I was both laughing and cringing as people shared, each time going- Now THAT is scary!!! I thank everyone for sharing and bonding over the MANY mishaps that can happen in theatre! Below is a little short story I conjured up from people's responses!
Tonight is opening night of Peter Pan and you couldn't be more excited! It's your debut as a lead character and you, of course, are playing Peter Pan! Months of rehearsals and training have led up to this day and so you wake up from bed with a big stretch and let out a yawn.
Oh that's funny, why does your voice feel like that? You let out a few coughs and sip on water- NO. Your voice is gravelly and your throat is sore, THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING. You had gallons of coat throat and tea this week, you couldn't possibly have any problems. You decide to whip up some of your favorite herbal tea in hopes of your voice restoring itself.
By the time you have to leave to make it to the theater, your voice feels better and you do your vocal warmups while listening to the soundtrack in your car. You left the house early but you hit traffic on the way there and minutes pass by as you realize you're getting late to your call time of 5PM. You try calling the stage manager, but truthfully, you're scared of her. So instead you call your darling partner-in-crime Wendy and tell her that you'll be running a bit late. She panics, but you assure her everything will be alright and that if the stage manager asks, you're in the bathroom!
By the time you get to the theater, it's 5:45PM and you run to your dressing room in an attempt to dodge any confrontations- you just want to get ready, wear your harness, and test with the flyer so you don't fall like you did earlier in tech week. When you are just 15 feet from the dressing room you're met with your stage manager, who rightfully tells you off about your lack of professionalism. You're sorry, you'll never do it again, you just reeeeally need to get ready!
When you're finished you get in your dressing room and ready yourself. As you go to grab your costume, you realize it's not on the rack... it's under a chair. You say a silent prayer to yourself as you reach for it, but your prayers were not answered- your leafy green top is RIPPED IN HALF from shoulder to bottom! You quickly run to the costume crew sobbing and they bring out their sewing kits to immediately fix this emergency.
Once that is sorted and you have thanked the costume crew one million times, you hear the FIVE MINUTES TIL SHOW. "Thank you five!!!" echoes throughout the area and you feel your heart beating faster than ever. Your friend Wendy Darling comes up to you and gives you a big hug, "You're gonna be amazing! Break a leg!". For one second, you feel like all is well. Soon, the curtain opens and the show begins.
As you watch the first scene from backstage, you notice the actor who is playing the father keeps pulling his pants up, you notice from the side that perhaps his belt is missing. You keep your fingers crossed for him, but later in the scene as he uses his hands to make a gesture, his pants go loose and drop to the floor. You look away but hear a whistle from the audience... hey, at least it wasn't you!
You can't help but laugh from backstage, but in the midst of this, you forget your cue! You're supposed to be flown onstage through the window into Wendy's room, BUT since you forgot what you were doing, you instead look like you're being DRAGGED in the air through the window! You try to play it off but as you attempt a landing you knock down and break a table! Sadly, there was a glass of water on the table so that goes down too! You improvise your way through, talking to Tinkerbell and saying what a mess you've made, but internally you're SCREAMING.
Now you're into your song "I've Gotta Crow". You open your mouth to sing and surprisingly, it's not too bad! You're feeling good and confident however, midway through the song as your Wendy walks towards you, she steps on her dress and falls flat on her face! OUCH! That did not look too good. You help her up and make a witty comment. There's a slight tear in her eye but you two continue- THE SHOW MUST GO ON! You make it through the rest of the act and fly with Wendy and her brothers successfully, without knocking anything down-score! The lights black out, intermission!
It is pitch black as you exit the stage and head to the bathroom, you've really had to go since the opening scene. As you make your way by, you hear a scream onstage! You head back to see if everyone's okay, and find a crowd of people around Wendy's little brother who has fallen down the stairs! Yikes! There isn't anything you can do about it, so you still run off to the bathroom.
There is a huge line for the bathroom and no one lets you go ahead of them, so you wait patiently and chat. Wendy passes by and you ask her if the actor was okay from that fall, she holds up a bottle of pain killers and tells you she needed them for her faceplant earlier, but is heading to give them to the fallen actor. As you wait in line, you see your pal Captain Hook running around in a sheer panic. He can't find his hook!!! You ask him what to do, but he quickly passes by in a rush. The show so far feels like a NIGHTMARE, but you continue on. 1 MINUTE TILL PLACES! WHAT??? You still had to go to the bathroom, and you weren't needed at the top of the scene, so you decide to run into the bathroom anyway!
As you rush to the stage, you notice you don't hear the music... From the wings you notice total chaos onstage. Your director is behind a set piece crying, stagehands are crowded around the curtain. The CURTAIN HAS FALLEN DOWN ACROSS THE STAGE. Someone fills you in- as the curtain was opening from intermission, it fell to the ground and scattered across the floor knocking down set pieces. THIS REALLY IS A NIGHTMARE.
The show is on hold and it gets resolved with some time. The curtain will be removed and the show will go on. The Lost Boys go out and you think everything is going well until a dancer twirls her way into the orchestra pit! How did that happen??? The missing set pieces had thrown her off (literally, I guess) and confused her routine! The audience gasps and the ASM tells everyone to continue despite the occurrence.
Captain Hook steps onstage and you remember he had lost his hook, you try to take a peak at his false hand and realize it's been substituted for a plastic coat hanger... hey, at least he has SOMETHING. The audience laughs and it is light. Maybe things are looking up! Just when you think that, it all goes downhill again. Smee goes to sit down on a rock and a huge RIIIP echoes throughout the theater- "oops" he says. The audience bursts into laughs! Meanwhile, poor Smee has genuinely ripped his pants and the cries of the costume crew is heard in the distance.
As you go out to sing "Wendy", you hope nothing bad happens to you or anyone else. There is a whole cast of characters on the stage and all you can do is wish for the best. As you perform the number onstage, you notice the usual lighting isn't playing out. It gets increasingly harder to do the number when the light is not focused on certain areas of the stage... what is going on???
Meanwhile, everyone backstage is in a sheer panic. THE COM HEADSETS ARE OUT! The ASMs backstage are sending stagehands to run to the stage manager in the booth, who is frantically flipping through her master script watching the cues go by without any form of communication. From up in the booth, the stage manager screeches as she sees a fallen prop that has been lying on stage since the top of the act. She also spots someone from the tech crew hiding behind a set piece because the lights went up before they were able to completely move the piece in. THIS IS A DISASTER.
Back onstage you continue to do the dance routine, but since it is so dark you bump into another actor who then splits their toe on a set piece! He yells in pain, then casually dances his way offstage. You are trying your absolute best to make it through, no matter how difficult this is getting. The lights brighten up and you are hoping the previous mess up has been fixed. Of course as the song ends, another inconvenience occurs. The fog machine has been turned on! Fog spills onstage, you and the cast ignore it for sometime. As the scene goes on however, it builds and builds onstage to the point where people are waving it out of their faces. All you can see is fog and try to clear your view but end up bumping into frazzled actors. This is too much.
"ATTENTION! ATTENTION!" It is the voice of your director in the house. The house lights turn on and you can suddenly feel your head hurt. He calls off the show and apologizes for the inconvenience. Audience members who have been booing, BOO more. You can't believe this is what your opening night looks like, as you think about the horror and embarrassment you feel dizzy... you feel light-headed... you faint.
You wake up... but you're not onstage! You're in bed! You check your phone for the time and date. Tonight is opening night of Peter Pan and you couldn't be more excited! It's your debut as a lead character and you, of course, are playing Peter Pan! Months of rehearsals and training have led up to this day and so you wake up from bed with a big stretch and let out a yawn. But this time, your voice is just fine!!!
And that concludes my theatre horror story! Again, I'd just like to thank everyone for contributing to my online polls and posts! I wish I could have incorporated them all, but that would've truly been horrific! Thanks for reading!