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The Best of Midsummer

We leave for Kodiak tomorrow and have 2 shows of Midsummer. I'm actually looking forward to it. The show grew a lot while in Anchorage. There were some amazing moments during our run. My (very) Mark-centric list of highlights....

1) At least the lamp had a sense of occasion.
We are using a clip light with a blue bulb for the moon in Pyramus and Thisbe. My dear husband plays Peter Quince and he as a bit where Lion steps on the cord, he yanks on it in disgust while being heckled by the court and it comes unplugged. Lion pulls Quince off the box in his zeal to get it plugged in again, the pages of Quince's script and much hilarity and a pratfall ensue.
Or at least that is what is supposed to happen.
Opening night, Quince yanks the cord, the lamp unplugs, Lion grabs the cord and hauls Quince off the box. Quince loses his hold on the lamp (but keeps a grip on the cord) so the lamp swings free, hits something (probably the side of the box) and the bulb shatters. Lion picks up the lamp, plugs in the cord and looks into the lamp just as the filament flares. userinfoghost_light attempts to race from the booth to where the cord is plugged in backstage to prevent something really happening but there is an actor between her and the booth door. userinfoghost_light whisper-yells for the actor to go pull the plug but he insists "They got it" and never looks away from the stage. They did have it, the audience was in hysterics, especially as Quince stares at them in utter panic and simply says "All I have to say is that this lantern was the moon" instead of his actual line of "is the moon". People were laughing so hard I thought we were going to need to order in oxygen.
Noe, fast-forward to closing night. Lion and Quince have changed the bit so the lamp never flies free. All goes as normal, Quince hits the floor after Lion yanks the cord.....and so does the bulb. It doesn't shatter, it just snaps off at the base and clunks to the floor. Quince immediate takes off his hat and snuggles the bulb into it as thought it is a rare and precious egg that must be protected at all costs. His one regret is that "this lantern was the moon" didn't get as big of a laugh this time.

2) Pussy Willow Apocalypse.
Quince also carries a thorn bush in Pyramus and Thisbe. Finding that bush was a thorn in my ass most of the rehearsal process. The directed hated the greenery I came up with, everything that looked like a thorn bush in Alaska in January actually turned out to be thorn bushes with rather deadly-looking spikes I was not going to let NEAR my actors, so finally I just cut several sticks from a bush growing right outside the office and gave my Quince the world's saddest, most straggly thorn bush. A few days into our run at Cyrano's, Bottom adds a bit of running up to Quince during Pyramus' death scene, latching onto his shirt and pulling back and forth on it as he yells "DIE!" The next day, Quince added a bit of whipping Bottom with the thorn bush in rhythm with each tug (do you see why I don't give my actors real thorns?) We were giggling about it in bed the next morning and Mark asked just what the thorn bush was (to make sure it wasn't some priceless, obscure tree, I suppose). By this time, I'd figured out it was a pussy willow and he got the idea that it would be hysterical if he came out with blooming pussy willows, not just with a collection of sad sticks. I refused to get it for him, utterly convinced the director would kill me since getting a thorn bush he approved of in the first place had been such a trial. Mark let it lie for...about a week...then came in with a fully pussied out pussy willow collection (which the director laughed at). Unfortunately (but hysterically), the first time he whipped Bottom with it, all the little white pussies went flying all over the stage and part of my pre-show checklist became picking up pussy willow remains until the entire branch had been utterly denuded in one stunning pussy willow apocalypse.

3) The Helpy Helperton Award.
Snug (also Lion) wears a pair of Carharts in our production. For those not in Alaska, these are versatle, tan work-overalls. At the end of Pyramus and Thisbe, the Mechanicals do their Burgermask Dance which includes a samba, waltz and conga line. Closing weekend, the fastener on Snug's Cartharts fell off during the samba and the more he conga-ed, the more his pants fell down until they were past his knees (he wears tights under that, so there was no under-age nudie show, luckily). He got to the turn in the dance, grabbed them with both hands and hauled them up with a mighty hop. Quince, standing right behind him in line but not knowing what was happening, conveniently grabbed him around the waist and held up Snug's pants for him until the next turn. Sadly, Bottom, who was on the other side of Snug, did not return the favor and grabbed too high so Snug's pants slipped down until the next turn-pull-hop sequence when Quince began acting as a belt again. Mark swears his has no idea this happened.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
stagemanager
Apr. 15th, 2005 02:58 am (UTC)
You have better theatre stories than I do.

I'm jealous.

(I like your new layout -- looks like a grape explosion!)
ghost_light
Apr. 15th, 2005 08:21 am (UTC)
Thanks! It took me a while to settle on one that I like. I kind of pick them by what looks good with my icons.
sionainn
Apr. 15th, 2005 05:08 am (UTC)
Having seen the production for the first time on opening night (Night of the Exploding Light), it was not immediately apparent that the light was NOT supposed to shatter. It was only later that we realized it was definitely not supposed to go that way.

You have an amazing cast... :-)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )