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]

I think that tops all the weird stuff I got into during high school drama. Awesome.

From: [identity profile]

The entire audience had seen me slam Jim into the scenery and clock him. All things considered, that was probably the higjlight of the play.

Well I'm certain *I* would've enjoyed that scene! What a great story, thanks for sharing.

From: [identity profile]

You are so awesome. I so needed a laugh today.

Did I ever tell you about the time I was cast as the lead in Robbie the Robot, our school musical, despite the fact that I am *tone deaf*?

From: [identity profile]

Oh man, I gotta wonder what the heck teachers are thinking when they do casting sometimes.

Anyway! Robbie the Robot was a musical that was written on mimeographed sheets--you know the kind, with the funny blue-purple ink? Probably because it was SO BAD no one would publish it for real. I have vague memories that it was partially written by a friend of the music teacher's. Yeah.

The music teacher (granola, hippie, liberal) and my fourth grade teacher (born-again and very strict about it, prayed in class, and yet also hippie in her own way) were best friends. They cooked up this scheme to put on plays and musicals, supposedly for our self-esteem. (Later there was a play with some poor kid in a bunny suit, and I only had to be the secretary in that one, thank god.)

They didn't do any of that malarky of having people try out. Oh no. We were given our parts based on what they thought was best. We were to do them and like them.

I got cast as the male robot and lead star of this little production. (Keep in mind that this is the heart of the bible belt, we prayed every morning for anyone who was out sick, and had a moment of silence as dictated by the principal over the PA, no matter what them libruls said, we were one nation under god.) The genderbending confused practically everybody.

I was a sickly kid and prone to being floored by viral pnuemonia for a week or more at a time. I have no idea what they were thinking; possibly that I could memorize all my lines. I was out sick for some of the practice rehearsals. I did not, of course, have an understudy.

So my parents helped me make a large cardboard box with armholes, spray painted silver, with my dad's extra big socks for leg warmers (also spray painted, ew), and duct taped box helmet (through which I had to sing very loudly), more of dad's socks doubled up and sprayed for 'shoes', and I had to move around on stage one limb at a time. I wasn't supposed to move my legs if I moved an arm. No arm if I moved a leg, etc.

There was a song about my sad lack of oil and how my hinges squeaked.

The music teacher played the piano--none of that stuff on tape for us. There were dances. There were group songs.

And as the star, I got left off the program.

After I was done warbling my way through all the acts, my parents took me out for pancakes. I spent most of the time worrying that we'd get kicked out because the sign said "NO SHOES NO SHIRT NO SERVICE" and I was only wearing dad's spray painted socks. The cheese blintzes were good, though.
genarti: Knees-down view of woman on tiptoe next to bookshelves (me cheerful)

From: [personal profile] genarti

I'll have you know that with this story added to Rachel's, I have just had a terrible time not giggling aloud at my desk.

Oh man.

From: [identity profile]

//expires from trying not to shriek with laughter and wake entire apt building at two ayem
ext_3743: (chibi Haru Kyo Rin (roostah))

From: [identity profile] Nope, there's nothing like live theatre. *g*

From: [identity profile]

I would have paid good money to see that, let me tell you! I have bad memories of being the fattest snowflake imaginable in infant school (imagine a child pretty much as wide as she was tall in a white tutu with cotton wool balls stuck all over it and you'll get the picture).

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!

From: [identity profile]

That cracked me up. All in all my favorite theatre stories now involve the kids in the productions I've been involved with either throwing things, or expressing their anger with rather inappropriate improvisations. I can't tell those stories because A) You either know some of them because you were there, or B) They're confidential anyway. But they're some of my favorite memories now.

And in the category of backseat driver or comebacks that came too late: "I AM punching you because of a joke." (Punch) "That's my punchline." (Punch, punch) "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" (Punch, punch, punch, punch, punch.)

From: [identity profile]


OMG, I wish my theater stories were this entertaining! Not that I would've enjoyed living through it...

From: [identity profile]

I never had the talent (read: was too fat) to actually have an acting role, so I did tech theater, which was just as fun, plus we had radios and got to play with power tools.

One of the shows that was put on was a series of monologues/skits/etc that the senior acting class was supposed to be doing for their final projects. As you might guess, seniors in a spring semester pass/fail class really didn't give a shit. Of course, the techs didn't know this, since up until the two dress rehearsals, we had not interacted with the actors in any way. (Bad Idea #1).

One of the skits worked on the premise of two people interacting at a party. Every time they'd say something "wrong", a buzzer would sound offstage.

For example:

Hey, girl, you've got great tits! (buzz)I must say, you've got a lovely figure! (buzz)I couldn't help but notice your eyes from across the room, and said to myself that I'd have to come over and get your opinion on Apocalypse Now (buzz) When Harry Met Sally?

It's a piece that depends on snappy dialogue and precise timing with regards to the buzzer. And that might have happened, if the actors had bothered to learn the lines, or rehearsed with the buzzer operator present, so that everyone could get down the rhythm of delivery.

But no. At dress, I was handed a copy of the 8 page script, and the buzzer and told, literally, to "wing it". (Bad Idea #3)

At first, it was merely awful. The actors sort-of knew their lines, but since I'd never heard it before, I couldn't keep up with the buzzer. Then it got worse. By page 3, it was obvious that the actors were jumping all over the script or simply making stuff up as they went along. And it went on for at least fifteen excruciating minutes.

At the actual performance, the tech crew decided the time was right for a little vengeance. Since our grade wasn't affected, there was little disincentive for us not to.

When it came time for buzzer operation, I played along for awhile, trying to guess when I needed to sound it. But after five minutes of stumbling, I just started hitting the buzzer at random intervals, with no noticeable change in the quality of the performance. After minute ten, I walked out on stage and mutely handed the buzzer to one of them. I turned to the audience, shrugged, and said "Actors." before walking back offstage. It was the only laugh that skit got.

From: [identity profile]

That sounds a lot like David Ives's Sure Thing! About which my only funny story is that I once performed it with a migraine, and was praised afterward for my refreshing subtlety and understatement (by someone who didn't realize I'd been unable to move without jabbing pain). This is probably a lot funnier for people who spent a whole summer watching the people around me overact, though.

From: [identity profile]

I think it probably was. I seem to recall that the script was fairly funny, but they butchered it so badly that there wasn't a trace of amusement to be found.

From: [identity profile]

Have you ever seen Snowie and the Seven Dorps, A Passive-Aggressive Fairy Tale? 1990, Vincent Cafarelli and Candy Kugel. All their work is wonderful (Fast Food Matador still runs through my mind) but this one was particularly mean to LA.

Snowie is supposed to be shipped to Detroit to rot, but ends up in LA as the housekeeper for the dwarves, who are sleazy agents (one is named Illcallya).

From: [identity profile]

BEST worst play EVAH

Making me guffaw at work and embarassing self! How embarassed!

From: [identity profile]

AHAHAHA. Omg. This is why high school plays are awesome. Awesomely bad, anyway.

From: [identity profile]

I used to get cast as 'little old ladies' in grade school a lot b/c I had the kind of blonde hair that was white. I also had stage fright.

I remember the last play I was ever in, where I walked off the stage, promptly had a nosebleed in a pile of clothes or something, my nose would NOT stop bleeding, and then we went to the ER to have it packed with some kind of treated gauze (which it still bled through) and then cauterized.

Oh that nostril to this day can't bleed.

From: [identity profile]

Oh, gods, I'm so sorry.

And yet, this is awesome: all made of the opaquest plywood.

As is "but I am hitting you over your stupid joke." That just seems very correct.

From: [identity profile]

You all are so getting me thrown out of the computer lab!

I did some graduate work in playwriting, ended up telling the Playwriting Prof/Grad Director off for being a sexist pig and leaving before doing the exams, but never saw that much hiliarity....except for the one time the Popular Girl in the department who slept with my friend's boyfriend actually let my friend do her makeup in one production....*snickers*
ext_2414: Brunette in glasses looking at viewer with books behind her (Default)

From: [identity profile]


This story and the ones in the comments are hilarious! Reminds me of a couple of months ago and went to a play my high shcool put on for nostalgia's sake. It was Beauty and the Beats and there was so much improv and so many dirty jokes that went flying over the heads of the kids.

From: [identity profile]

What a great story! You should have punched Snow White, too.

From: [identity profile]

At some point I'll tell you about the play where I drove the other stage manager from the auditorium, cursing at the top of my lungs, and got applause from the cast.

From: [identity profile]

//dies, dies, and dies again

"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.

Ohhh man. I love Young Scrappy Rache. Oh my god., the most interesting thing that ever happened to me in junior high school theatre was when we did a really stupid-ass melodrama, and the guy I had a crush on and I had to walk sidewise in front of the stage carrying giant "BOO" and "HISS" signs when the villain was on, and "YAY" and "APPLAUSE" signs when the hero/heroine were on, and all the disaffected teenagers booed when they were supposed to yay, and vice versa.

From: [identity profile]

I love that where other people's stories end with, "I should have punched him," yours end with things like, "and because the blackout got screwed up, everyone in the audience saw me punch him."

From: [identity profile]

Punchline: And now I'm a therapist!

ETA: Pun actually not intended.
Edited Date: 2014-02-23 06:16 am (UTC)

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