CriticalDance Forum

Anxious Moments?
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Author:  Michael Montgomery [ Sat May 06, 2000 9:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Neither me!<BR>Thanks for sharing with us, Salzberg.<BR>This page reminds me of when I worked on the crew of "Phantom" in London for 3 months prior to joining the cast. Her Majesty's Theatre has all the original Traps and technology which was fascinating to come to understand. During this time I was general swing and in the end had learned every que set in the show. This was a boon when it came time to take my place on stage, I came to appreciate every person I worked with more than before and the importance of real teamwork.<P>This reminds me of an Anxious Moment experienced then. I was in the Fly's and was supposed to fly "out" a drape at the end of the Manager's Scene, well I accidently flew it "in", right onto the head of Monsieur André ... OOPS!<P>Needless to say, I was moved from the Fly's rather soon after that.

Author:  salzberg [ Sun May 07, 2000 3:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Michael, you've reminded me of a story. . . .<P>Sometimes, it's just as dangerous to have a stage manager who knows the show but doesn't understand stage management.<P>Many years ago I was designing the scenery and lighting for a production of <I>Scheherazade</I>, for a company which decided that, rather than hire a stage manager or pay me extra to do it, the artistic director would call the show.<P>This gentleman was simply unable to understand the concept of warnings, standbys, and goes, so when it came time for the show's one fly cue -- a jail cell that was supposed to fly out -- he started shouting, "Jail! Jail!" Unfortunately, with his thick Czech accent, it came out, "Gel! Gel!", so the startled stagehands went running for the booms, thinking it was time to change color in the head-highs and shinbusters. When they finally figured out what he wanted, the flyman grabbed the wrong rope and the jail cell -- solid wood -- came crashing to the deck, with dancers scattering everywhere.<P><BR> <P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg,<BR>Lighting Designer<BR>NEW URL: <A HREF="<BR>" TARGET=_blank><BR></A>

Author:  Intuviel [ Sun May 07, 2000 5:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

In my school's production of Swan Lake, there is a cliff at the back of the lakeside set with a trampoline/net sort of thing hidden behind a few rocks so that Odette and Siegfried can jump into the "lake." Well, the first time we did Swan Lake with the new scenery, there wasn't enough time to rehearse with the scenery, and the trampoline was a little too springy. So on opening night, Odette jumped off the cliff, into the lake, and up over the rocks and into the wings! So from the audience, you sort of saw Odette go into the lake and then fly off the stage~~it was hilarious! Then Siegfried jumped in, trying not to bounce, but he bounced off the trampoline, over the rocks, and back onto the stage! The poor guy didn't know what to do, so he climbed over the papier~mache rocks, crumpling one in the process, to get back into the lake and off the stage! I was the first swan to run on in that performance, and I had to look tragic, and all of us were giggling as we tried to look sad and dramatic now that our queen had died. When Odette and Siegfried appeared in the shell boat that rises off the lake, they were supposed to look happy to be together and they were both miserable. It must have been an interesting sight for the audience to have a weepy Odette reunited with her Siegfried and all the swans shaking with laughter as the curtain came down. Rothbart did not have to fake his mirth that time, although it rather looked as though he was having convulsions long after he was supposed to be dead. Needless to say, the net was adjusted immediately, and handles were added so that this would not happen again!

Another time, again during Swan Lake, a girl was standing too close to Rothbart's castle when it burns down and collapses, and the back of her skirt almost caught fire! We had all been told to stay very far downstage, and she had quite enough room to stay out of the way, but she wasn't paying attention, and just about got burned. Actually, the flames are small, and they all stay well inside the castle, but she was MUCH too close. The funny part is that one of the stagehands DID think she caught fire and threw a bucket of water on her. So we were all standing there doing our beautiful port de bras, and suddenly we heard this yelp from the back because of the water. She had to finish the ballet soaking wet! The audience saw a sort of wave come out of the wings and hit this little swan girl~~I guess it was plausible since she was so close to the "lake." After that performance, she certainly stayed far away from that castle, and so does everyone else who does her part!


Author:  Michael Montgomery [ Sun May 07, 2000 6:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Oh my god Intuvial, I wish I'd seen those performances!<BR>Your writing really cracked me up!

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon May 08, 2000 5:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Intuviel's two stories are lovely, but the second one gives me some pause for thought on the safety issue, despite the warning to - stay far enough away. It reminds me of some of the points that the admirable Salzberg raised on the question of the safety of school performances and others. <BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited May 08, 2000).]

Author:  Maggie [ Mon May 08, 2000 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Grace, to quote the comedian, Steve Martin, "Those French have a word for everything!"

Author:  Intuviel [ Mon May 08, 2000 5:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Actually, they've had some fire~proof clear material installed over the part of the castle that "burns" so that there isn't any danger at all. And you'd have to have been WAY out in left field anyway to have been in any type of danger at all. Even if you get close to the thing, you're not in any grave danger. I'm still not entirely sure what she was doing, but it must have been pretty stupid. <P>------------------<BR>~Intuviel~

Author:  Azlan [ Mon May 08, 2000 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Intuviel, thanks for bringing us back to the topic.<P>I wasn't aware that fire-retardant spray is used on stage. Salzberg, can you enlighten us?<P>and has anyone ever forgotten what they're doing on stage? Like not remembering their steps?<p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited August 01, 2000).]

Author:  trina [ Sat Jul 29, 2000 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

These moments do happen...mostly when you've just learned a dance and haven't performed it a lot...or you learned the dance too fast. Once it happened in a Bill Evans dance that I did the wrong phrase at the wrong moment. In real time, it's usually only couple of seconds, but as a dancer it feels like a lifetime....when you see yourself on video doing it, it looks like such a glaring mistake....most of the audience doesn't even notice it!!

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Jul 29, 2000 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Trina, more than once I've noticed dancers almost colliding with each other and think to myself, one of them forgot where they're supposed to be. That's why I asked the question. Amazingly, more often than not, I find that no one else noticed the near mishaps! I guess there's just too much to watch on stage for the average audience.

Author:  cherylb [ Mon Jul 31, 2000 5:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

This episode didn't happen to me, but I was in the audience at the Kennedy Center in the mid 70's during ABT's season....Well, during a performance of "Etudes" the audience members began hearing little 'pings' along with the music and one by one the dancers began slipping, sliding, and colliding with one another. The weights at the bottom of one of the raised curtains began to come free and were scattering all around the stage! Needless to say that after about 5 minutes of this mayhem, the dancers could no longer perform, the audience was nearly in stitches, and the performance became a walk-through! No one could perform full out, for fear of breaking their necks...What a sight! I was a student at the time and was so glad to see that crazy things also happened to such professional dancers. I was comforted to know (in some weird way) that they were human after all.<BR>

Author:  Azlan [ Mon Jul 31, 2000 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Oh my word, Cherylb. Did anyone get hurt on stage? I usually don't laugh at these things because 1) I get embarassed for the performers and 2) I am afraid of someone getting hurt.<P>"Etudes," where precision is so fundamental to the ballet, is definitely not a work you can fake either.

Author:  cherylb [ Mon Jul 31, 2000 12:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

No,no, no, no one got hurt...They remained onstage for approximately 5 minutes trying to dance, but eventually had to stop the piece altogether. They resumed it in a few minutes. It was only after they stopped that the audience found out what happened. I agree with you....As dancers, we didn't think it was too funny; we were in shock about the whole episode. These dancers were our idols, our heroes and we would have simply died had anything happened to any of them. It just seemed to make them (and their tech people) seem more human to us.<P>Cheryl B.

Author:  BabsLights [ Tue Aug 01, 2000 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

I expect it took a bit for the stage manager to realize what was happening, and where it was coming from. I also expect it took a minute or three to find the guy on the curtain Image

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Aug 20, 2002 8:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

I had a laugh going through these messages again. So, I thought I'd resurrect it. And don't forget its sister thread:

Anxious Moments #2

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