CriticalDance Forum

Anxious Moments #2 thread!
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Author:  Azlan [ Tue Feb 26, 2002 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!

Oy, gaeadea, the perils of being famous!

Author:  djb [ Wed Aug 21, 2002 12:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!

Azlan dragged out "Anxious Moments" yesterday, but I guess it makes sense chronologically to add to "Anxious Moments #2."

Many years ago, I was in a modern ballet in which the women wore floor-length skirts. Standing in the wings, I did a last-minute check of my costume and hair, and everything seemed OK. Everything went along fine in the piece, until my partner and I had to sit on the floor, in profile, with the right leg extended to the front and the left leg bent up. I was leaning back slightly on one arm, and the other arm rested on my raised knee, pointing directly right foot, which, to my dismay, was adorned with a raggedy striped tube sock with the toe and heel cut out!

We had to stay in that position for about a minute while everyone else danced, so I had time to try to figure out what to do (besides ignore the muffled snorts coming from my partner). My first thought was to simply take off the sock and throw it into the wings. But I thought that would spoil the mood. Then I figured I might as well, because the mood was already ruined by having this ridiculous thing on my foot. Then I thought the audience might think it was part of the costume, my rationale being that my character was supposed to be estranged from the group, and this tube sock could be a valid reason for being cast, it was obviously not part of the costume, because the costume was deep orange and the stripes on the tube sock were royal blue.

Then a story that one of my ballet teachers had told me popped into my head. He'd been in a children's ballet in which he wore a bear costume. He wasn't very familiar with the costume and had to change into it in the wings, which were poorly lit. There was a gasp when he went onstage, and he soon realized he'd put the costume on backwards, so the tail was sticking out in front, very suggestively. Luckily, the kids apparently accepted his being a male bear, because there was no laughter. But when he finally was back in the wings, he quickly reversed his suit, and when he came back onstage, then the audience broke up.

Back to my predicament...the lesson of the bear suit indicated that I shouldn't remove my sock. But I had a somewhat dramatic solo coming up in a couple of minutes, and the idea of doing it wearing a tube sock was unbearable. So at the first opportunity, during a chaotic section before the solo, I managed to get offstage and remove the stupid thing. There was no laughter when I returned, and the rest of the piece went just fine. But I was amazed at how many thoughts could go through a person's mind in such a short time.

I didn't feel too bad about this mishap, as it gave me something in common with Merle Park, who, in a performance of the Nutcracker pas de deux with Nureyev, wore a fuzzy, gold mohair leg warmer onstage. I don't know whether she didn't notice it any sooner, but she didn't remove it until near the end of the adagio, when she and Nureyev split and circled upstage. Park suddenly wasn't onstage, and then she came back from the upstage wing, minus the legwarmer -- very smooth.

<small>[ 08-21-2002, 03:00: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  Sissonne [ Wed Aug 21, 2002 6:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!

These are great! I have a couple to add:
During a local performance of the Nutcracker, it was obvious that the company's Christmas tree was on its last legs, looking pretty shabby and lopsided. After the dream scene, as the Snowflakes were coming on, the tree, which was standing on a piece of material, was supposed to slowly fade away into the wings. Well, the material apparently got stuck on the stage, and we could see a stagehand lying on the floor, desperately pulling on the material, the tree started swaying wildly, and an ornament fell off and rolled throughout the feet of the Snowflakes. All ended well, but it was hard not to giggle, and was pretty distracting. I felt sorry for the stagehand, and admiration for the Snowflakes who danced around the rolling ornament.

My other story concerns my studio's spring recital. Our teacher was performing with us in our jazz piece, and had for weeks been continually reminding us not to forget our props (hats, gloves, character shoes, etc). During the second night of the recital, things got very hectic, and she got really busy with the little kids. Well, in the middle of our piece I noticed she was wearing her pink ballet slippers with her all-black jazz costume! When she realized it she was of course mortified, being the studio owner and all, but we all laughed about it later. She had simply gotten so crazed trying to keep everything going that she forgot to change her shoes.

<small>[ 08-21-2002, 08:31: Message edited by: Sissonne ]</small>

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Aug 22, 2002 8:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!

I love these stories! Keep them coming.

When I was on tour with an opera, the clearance between the set and the lights was not very large in one venue we played. (Inconsistency was the name of the game.) Halfway through the first act, the set started smoking because one particular light was way too close. During the scene change into Act II, we figured out which light it was, unlugged it, sprayed some water on the set to cool it down, and continued on. All this accomplished with the curtain open. I'm sure the audience wondered why we were using a ladder in the middle of the set change, or maybe they thought we always went up into the grid with a squirt bottle from wardrobe during set changes.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Jun 21, 2003 9:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!

Actors Slip, Slidin' Away on Stage

Ron Cohen
Reuters Stage on Yahoo News

NEW YORK (Back Stage) - Cracked ribs. Raked stages. Vomiting.

They're all images in the gallery of fretful memories dredged up by a group of accomplished actors when asked what the most difficult performance experience has been thus far in their careers, on- or off-stage. <a href= target=_blank>more</a>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Apr 01, 2005 2:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!

An irristable piece of nostalgia on the perils of performance. Be warned that a four-letter word creeps in at the end:

Fond memories
By Patrick Newley for The Stage

When I was 20 I worked as a stand-up comic between acting jobs. The first working men’s club I played was in Middlesbrough, a town known as the comic’s graveyard.

The club itself was like a vast aircraft hangar - huge, dark and filled with grease. Backstage, I peered through a makeshift curtain and all I could see were rows and rows of middle-aged men furiously drinking pints of mild and bitter.

click for more

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