The following was an excerpt from the CITT technical diversions article posted a few years ago.

Going for the Gold - From Lillehammer to Claw Hammer

While watching the recent Winter Olympics, I was constantly amazed by the daily feats of skill, endurance and daring performances by the world's athletes. It occurred to me that we also witness great feats of skill, endurance, and daring feats backstage i n our theaters, often on a daily basis. Yet, somehow we have failed to catch the attention of the world - and those lucrative endorsement contracts - with our feats of theatrical derring - do. Clearly we should all have our chance to bask in the world's acclaim and to muscle up to the advertisers though. We asked the folks at the CITT sports desk (you've seen them - the guys with the Really Neat Blazers and Great Hair.) to come up with some De monstration Events for the next Olympics. We locked them up in a room full of Ikea furniture and gave them a week's supply of Norwegian beer, rye bread, pickled herring, Beano, and a box of accident reports from theaters across the country. Three days l alter, they faxed out a request for more beer, clean underwear, a case of hair spray - and the following list of proposed events:

The Short-Track Costume Splice

For Dressers. An Actor exits Stage Right, and must reenter Stage Left exactly thirty-seconds later. The Dresser is required to change three items of clothing, and repair a four-inch gash in a trouser leg. For this event, the set is reversed so the audience sees the back of the set. The theater is dark except for two 25-watt blue bulbs: judges and spectators are equipped with infrared scopes. Points are awarded for speed, dexterity, and ingenuity. Points are deducted for drawing blood, or permanently suturing the actor to the costume.

Free-Style Carbide Blade Demolition

Carpenters work in teams of two, and are required to wear full-body armor and head gear. Each team is given a bucket of nails, crews, and corrugated fasteners, and five minutes to embed them into a sheet of particle board. They then proceed to a table saw with a 90-tooth carbide blade and a cheap rip fence. From that point, they have two minutes to rip the sheet into 3-inch strips. Points are awarded for the quantity and range of sparks,number of demolished carbide teeth, and the ghastliness of the noises created. Points are deducted for any teeth left intact, or an excessive number of straight edges. In order to keep the sport environmentally friendly, the trips are donated to manufacturers of expensive office furniture, and the floor sweepings to the food service industry.

Full-Combat Audio Mixing

This event took place at the first preview of a musical. One half hour before curtain, the Sound Technician is locked in a dressing room and forced to listen to Barry Manilow tapes. In the meantime, all mic inputs are repatched in random order, all flags, log sheets and other documentation are destroyed; the actors swap radio mic transmitters; the PFL buttons are disabled; and a hyperactive child is allowed to play with the equalizer and the output patch bay. One minute to curtain, the Sound Technician is released, and allowed to sprint the the mixer. Points are awarded for bringing up the lead singer within the first two versus of any song, providing any sort of usable fold back by the first intermission, and getting the vocals into the cluster. Points are deducted for length and intensity of feedback, broadcasting noises from the toilet, or initiating a career change before the end of the first act.

The Pain Of Ellipsoidals

For Lighting Manufacturers. Awarded when merited by a new product. Ellipsoidals are judged on the basis of shutters which either jam or fall out; lens tube arrangements that result in the beam crossing at the plane of the gel frame; rate of gobo destruction; interesting patterns of spill light; and the ability to project a clear lamp filament image upon the stage.

The Purple-Forehead Special

For Technical Directors. The object is to construct a set price which is almost impossible to move. Points are awarded for difficulty in fitting through loading doors. Bonus points for the number of extra stagehands who have to be hired to run the set change. The Beached Whale Award is given for any set piece which can't even be squeezed out of the scene shop.

The Counter-Tenor Gusset

For Cutters and Lead Hands. An Actor is measured, and the team then has two hours to construct a pair of extremely tight cavalry breeches. The actor must be able to wear the breeches, and perform all the blocking which he has been given. The real object of this sport is to construct the costume in such a way that the pitch of the actor's voice is significantly raised - without, however, permanently impairing his reproductive capacity. The current world's record is an octave and a half, and several actors involved in this sport have gone on to new careers in baroque vocal ensembles.

The Milwaukee Luge

For carpenters who are tired of life. The track consists of one hundred meters of clear pine 1x3. The contestant is give a 15 amp worm drive circular saw, and a very long extension cord. The cutting depth is set to 1/4", and the saw is placed backwards on one end of the track. The contestant its of the saw, extends his legs towards the far end of the track, lays back, reaches his hand under his butt, squeezes the trigger, and attempts to dado the entire track in one pass. Marks are awarded for speed and straightness of the cut. Marks are deducted for missing digits, significant lacerations, and electrocution. Novices are advised to begin their training on belt sanders. No team has ever entered the Two-man Milwaukee Luge: carpenters get along - but not that well.

- By: Paul Court (

Originally from OnStage! at - Mirrored at