You know that saying, 'it never rains, but it pours'? You also know the one - 'a baptism of fire'? Well both these wise old adages are perfect for Jak's and my introduction to the world of backstage crew.
During final dress rehearsal for Darker Shores, the legs of a wooden doll (a prop) weirdly and randomly fell off and landed on the floor with a clatter backstage, during a quiet moment. Jak and I clapped our hands to our mouths and looked at one another with wide eyes - 'oops!' we were both thinking. One week later, and we are both looking back fondly on the time when a doll's legs fell off - such a small and insignificant mishap. Oh how we laugh when we think of that crazy, crazy day.
This last week, during performances, we have had the lights brought up on set too soon, so we were still on stage doing a reset, a door on the set broke and wouldn't open at an important moment, and a large scenery truck decided to get stuck fast so we couldn't move it onto the stage. More troubling than the doll's legs, but still, we kept calm and carried on, because that is what you do.
Then last night, thanks to 'adverse weather conditions' as they are politely known, one of our leading men got stuck in traffic on his way to the theatre. "Did he arrive in time?" I hear you cry. No, dear reader, he did not. Eventually we decided to bring the curtain up anyway, slightly late, dressed a willing yet nervous director in the character's costume, handed him a script (which we hoped he would be able to see without his specs) and with a hearty amount of Blitz spirit and back slapping, shoved him onto the stage. He did very well, he has, after all, been directing the play for the last few months so knows it inside and out. But as I have mentioned before in other posts, there are magic tricks in this play, which he can't do, certainly not holding a script, so things were never going to go quite according to plan.
Eventually the missing actor arrived in a flurry of panic and snow, only to discover once half undressed, that he had no costume. So then commenced the most bizarre moment I've had for a many a year, as two grown men stripped to their pants in the dark of backstage and swapped clothes in a frantic high-speed manner. The actor resumed his rightful place on stage to applause from the audience, and the director was packed off for a stiff sherry in the bar. All's well that ends well, to coin another phrase.
The show has been cancelled tonight, due to those pesky adverse weather conditions, so I have a quiet evening planned of curry and Strictly - so much tamer than panicky men in pants. Hopefully all unwanted meteorological phenomenon will have cleared enough by tomorrow so the matinee can go ahead as planned.