The theatre department at my high school was entirely inhabited by a theatrical in-crowd, which largely overlapped with the generally popular kids. So I was never involved with it until its teacher retired and the entire theatre crowd quit en masse. Seeing an opportunity to do something where I wouldn't be a total misfit, I promptly signed up for theatre with the new teacher, a young guy who I will call Dan.

Dan, who had an entirely new group of students to work with, was sweet but perhaps not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He decided a very appropriate play for high schoolers would be "Snow White." Since the Disney version is copyright, these dwarves were named Wicky, Blicky, Flicky (etc) and Quee, the shortest of them all. I was Quee. Of course.

Snow White was a bit of a diva. She did not like the Prince, she did not like the dwarves, and she especially did not like me. She was supposed to be kind and loving to the dwarves-- the dwarves often commented on how very kind and loving she was-- but in all her interactions with us, her utter loathing was quite visible. And every time the Prince hugged her, she curled her lip and held herself away. (The Prince was a block of wood who could not pronounce "beloved" with three syllables. Unfortunately, he had a lot of lines addressing Snow White as "My be-loved.") The dwarves did not like me either. I think the only people who liked me in high school were the librarians, the chemistry teacher, the art teachers, and Dan.

Apart from the fact that the play was terrible and only the Wicked Queen could act, we also had some technical issues.

One was that Snow White was supposed to be carried in "in a coffin all made of the clearest crystal," as it was repeatedly described in dialogue. But Dan didn't know how to do this, so the coffin was all made of the opaquest plywood. But he refused to alter the text, claiming that no one would notice.

There was also quite a lot of scenery on wheels that took forever to maneuver, in long, long, long, interminable, noisy blackouts.

But the worst problem was the mirror. The mirror's dialogue was recorded. But due to some glitch, the words were completely incomprehensible, though you could hear the inflections quite clearly. It sounded exactly like the teacher in the Charlie Brown movies: "Wah wah wah wah wah? Wah! Wah WAH wah wah."

Dan insisted that everyone would be able to understand it. The Wicked Queen, during the actual performance, simply repeated everything it said:

Wicked Queen: "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?"

Mirror: "Wah WAH wah wah wah wah wah wawww."

Wicked Queen: "Snow White's the fairest of them all? NOOOOO! Not Snow White!!!"

There was a scene in which I was supposed to get dunked in a water barrel. But since we only had one costume, they were supposed to pour a bucket of glitter over my head, not water.

Did I mention that no one liked me?

On the night of the performance, with evil glints in their eyes, the two dwarfs, whom I will call Jim and Sue, dumped a full bucket of water over my head.

It so happened that there was a scene change right after that. The lights went down. I leaped out of the barrel, grabbed Jim by the collar, slammed him up against a large piece of plywood hedge on wheels, and punched him in the face. (It's possible that there were reasons why no one liked me.)

"It wasn't my idea!" gasped Jim. "It was Sue! Stop hitting me!"

With a snarl, I flung Jim to the floor, and dashed off in pursuit of Sue-- now vanishing backstage. I caught her and punched her. She said, "It was just a joke. You can't HIT people over a JOKE."

"I AM hitting you over your stupid joke!" I yelled. But it occurred to me that she had a point.

I dashed to the costume shop, ripped off my soaking wet costume, flung on another and totally random costume, and bolted back around the pitch-black backstage area to get to my next scene on time... And tripped and fell headlong into the coffin made all of very hard and very sturdy wood. The edge of the coffin slammed right into my solar plexus and knocked the wind out of me. I lay sprawled in the coffin, unable to breathe, thinking incredulously that I could not possibly die from running backstage, right? Right? Then I regained the ability to breathe, and lay there gasping like a beached fish for a while. Then I remembered that I was undoubtedly late for my entrance.

I leaped up, hauled ass in a slightly more cautious manner, and skidded onstage. There, to my surprise, I found myself face to face with Snow White. I had missed my entire scene and interrupted the next one, which was her solo monologue. We stared at each other.

"What are you doing here?!" she shrieked. "You're ruining my scene! Go away!"

"Er," I said. "I beg your pardon. I had to... er... find new clothes... since mine were drenched... in a stream... that I fell into. Goodbye!"

I ran offstage. Only then did I remember something that the script had earlier made quite a point of: alone amongst the dwarves, Quee did not speak.

The next morning I learned that the lights had malfunctioned along with everything else, and instead of a real blackout, they had merely dimmed. The entire audience had seen me slam Jim into the scenery and clock him. I'm sure that was the highlight of the play as far as they were concerned. It certainly was for me.

From: [identity profile]

Bwahahaha. I have many ridiculous theater stories, but this tops even my doomed Romeo and Juliet one by a long shot.

From: [identity profile]

We had an after-school program run by a woman who volunteered her own time, and one summer she decided to try to do a show at the downtown theater which was used almost exclusively as a music hall for shows attended by teens. It was an awesome place, both as a cool old building and as a place for local kids to go to ska shows and not be on the streets, but it was pretty trashed inside and having the play there must have attracted the weirdo people who ended up being in the show (since not all of them were from the high school).

We never had a full cast rehearsal, as I recall, and by the end I'd picked up four different minor roles from people who disappeared. Lord Montague was a football player who'd never acted before and kept sneaking out to play videogames in the lobby during the show. Everyone was drinking backstage on the last night.

The show was never any good, but opening night was the worst. Mercutio had a heavily tattooed wife, an infant, and a angelic blonde toddler who decided it would be awesome to keep climbing up onstage during the first scene, despite the fact that Romeo had to pick him up and put him down. Twice.

Then there was Juliet's quick change, in which two of us had to zip her into a tight red velvet dress in the two minutes before her wedding. We took too long so we just sent her out with the back of her dress hanging open, walking like a paper doll. She sidled up to Romeo (her ex-boyfriend), who put his arm around her and promptly yanked it back as soon as he touched skin, flubbing his lines.

Everyone's favorite was the tomb scene. Romeo forgot his props, so he drank from his cupped hand. Juliet woke up, couldn't find the knife, went "Oh... happy.... dagger?" and stabbed herself with her fist.

(Actually, that Romeo was involved in many theater disasters, partly because he was our best and most-used actor, partly because he was just the kind of guy that things like coming onstage with an actress's bright red lipstick all over his face happened to.)

All of which reminds me of a story which I thought was apocryphal but the internet tells me is real: in a professional production of West Side Story Chino forgot his gun in the final scene and chucked his shoe at Tony, shouting "This is a poison boot!" Poor Maria had to finish the show subbing in "poison boot" for the rest of her lines ("is there enough poison in this boot for you... and you... and still enough for me?")

There is also, apparently, a shirt.

From: [identity profile]


Everyone's favorite was the tomb scene. Romeo forgot his props, so he drank from his cupped hand. Juliet woke up, couldn't find the knife, went "Oh... happy.... dagger?" and stabbed herself with her fist.

Ha! That reminds me of the time I played Flute in Midsummer Night's Dream when I was twelve. In the play-within-the-play, where Flute played Thisbe (so I was a girl playing a guy playing a girl), I was supposed to be able to stab myself with "Pyramus"'s sword, which he was supposed to have stabbed himself with and then dropped. Unfortunately, Pyramus dropped his sword... down his pants. As the narrator spoke, I hissed, "Sword?" and Pyramus hissed "Fake it," at which point I left the whole stanza about the sword out of my speech and died, randomly, of nothing in particular.

From: [identity profile]

I played "Duchess Thesea" and Snug the joiner in an ... interesting production of Midsummer that only had one male cast member. I, along with Bottom, rapped our lines. It gets a pretty big laugh to append "Word!" to Shakespeare's lines. :)

From: [identity profile]

Pyramus dropped his sword... down his pants. As the narrator spoke, I hissed, "Sword?" and Pyramus hissed "Fake it," at which point I left the whole stanza about the sword out of my speech and died, randomly, of nothing in particular.

ext_7025: (Boone)

From: [identity profile]


When I was in high school, my sophomore (I think?) Honors English class had to put on a sort of Shakespeare...dinner theater...thing. We had a swordfight. We had two wooden swords. One of which was broken, so of course we gave it to the guy who was supposed to lose.

Night of the performance? Wrong sword broke.

I don't remember what happened next, but I'm sure it wasn't pretty, whatever it was.

No punching, though.

From: [identity profile]

Juliet woke up, couldn't find the knife, went "Oh... happy.... dagger?" and stabbed herself with her fist.

Bwa ha hawesome!

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