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Date: Sat, 14 Jan 1995 15:06:09 +0000

Mailing-List: Stagecraft

Subject: Funny Stories

(Subjects varied message to message)


It all started with: "David Jensen" <>:

Fellow Technicians,

I have been asked to speak at an arts luncheon on the humourous happenings backstage. Maybe I'm too anal, but I don't seem to recall any funny experiences associated specifically with the circumstances surrounding a show. Most of the time it's just a relief to get through a show with no disasters. Not that showbiz doesn't have it's share of funny characters and good times, it's just that staging a show is most often a serious undertaking and mistakes are usually unpleasant for most participants.

At any rate, not too long ago someone submitted a humourous rendition of stage directions; up is back, down is forward, etc. If anyone has that handy I would sure appreciate getting a copy. I already have the Technician's Bible and Words Of Wisdom.

If anyone does has a funny tale about a show, I'll be happy to relate it to the luncheon attendees.


FINKELSTEIN RICHARD S <finkelst@spot.Colorado.EDU> replied:

On the call for funny stories: Here's the funniest that ever happenned on my watch without question.

Around 1981 we were doing a BIG production of R&H's "Cinderella". We were using all the tricks and then some (with Peter F.'s personal supervision). We had 9 people flying, the coach, the magic name it. The show calls for two "instant" costume changes and we were doing these the way they were originally done on Broadway. For the first big change, the "feather woman" had to change to the fairy godmother....after first flying in. For this we used a souped up old technique. She was overdressed in a costume made in one piece. The back had a big handle on a cord incorporated into te design. At the appropriate time the actress was to meander over to our large fireplace. A team hiding inside the unit was to grab the handle and on cue with a flashpot covering.....literally take off running full speed ripping the outer layer from her body at the speed of a whip crack. Now to set up the imagery, our fairy godmother was a dainty soul. Plus she was really weighted down. First the two massive costumes, then the summersalt harness, then as I recal THREE battery packs. One for the wand, one for the wireless mike....and who knows what the third was for. Well the first time to try it all out was the first time the orchestra was in rehearsal with the cast. These were in the days when the arts could hire larger orchestras. But with union considerations the push was to keep things moving as efficiently as possible. The cue line: "Don't you know...I'm your fairy godmother" is whare the magic is supposed to happen....on those ...s that playwrights love. The moment came, the crew took of at the requisite gallop and poof up the chimney the fairy godmother got sucked! That giant sucking sound Perot talks of wasn't NAFTA but our Cindy 10 years earlier! It was so funny that it took about 30-40 minutes before anyone could attempt the scene again without laughing. The worst were the orchestra members. It made their millenium. The moral: Who says velcro won't hold? (William McLachlan) continued with a head-splitting story:

Hello all..

Some of you may remember my post a while back about the full cup of beer landing on the sound desk at a nine inch nails show...well here's a new one for you...

A few nights back in Toledo, Ohio, we were all minding our own business running the last half of the last song in the nine inch nails show, when someone in the crowd decided it would be a good idea to go out to the hot dog vending stands, steal a 5 gallon jug of yellow mustard, a 5 gallon jug of ketchup, a gallon serving pot of pickle relish, and a gallon serving pot of chopped onions, AND THROW THEM AT THE FRONT OF HOUSE POSITION ! ! !

In the space of 1 second, the Avolites console and the VL Mini-Artisan computer tower were splashed with a couple handfulls of relish and mustard, the Midas XL3 40 ch. sound desk and 16 ch. extender and the Effects racks were splashed with most of the rest of the relish, and the rest of the riser and snake cables(where thank heavens there wasn't any other consoles) was covered in the rest of the ketchup and mustard.

As for me? well, I got the onions The VL Artisan console caught some onions, and my Mac computer rack was sprayed with the rest of the onions since I seem to have blocked the actual serving pot with *the back of the head*, leaving me stunned and(according to the sound engineer) sitting there with my forehead on the armrest of the VL console and one hand continuing to push the buttons.

I was then treated to a C-collar, a taping to a paramedics Backboard, a fun ambulance ride, and neck X-rays "just to make sure" I was okay, which I was.

I may not have been as bad off as the FOH sound tech who spent the next 2 days in Chicago in a lukewarm shower with a toothbrush scrubbing each and every module and fader block of the Midas sound desk clean of congealed relish, and then blowdrying them with a hairdryer.

The things we go thru for "the business" Just the thought of the damage in monetary terms is pretty staggering.

If you drop by a nine inch nails show soon, make sure to look for the sign at front of house that says:

$150,000.oo EACH
PLENTY OF CONDIMENTS (Roy Harline) had another story:

A funny thing happened on the way to the theatre. Our student that handles publicity sent out a press release announcing the date, times, and prices of tickets for our production of Chicago. Imagine our surprise when the Fort Worth Star Telegram published a picture of the band *chicago* along with our announcement. OOPS. Needless to say, Our secretary is upset, and sick of explaining to people that no the band is not appearing in our 300 seat theatre for 4 nights at $10 a ticket, but they are welcome to come see the play. We try not to laugh to hard around her.

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