Carrying The Banner For Bad Phrasing

, , , , , , | Learning | July 18, 2021

In high school, I’m in a musical that takes place in New York around the turn of the twentieth century. One of our musical numbers is performed by a group of girls who are referred to in the script as “Bowery Beauties.” We’re at rehearsal, but we’re also on lunch break, and one of our directors is darting around to different tables.

He comes to our table, which is completely composed of girls.

Director: “Have you seen any Beauties around here?”

We connect the dots pretty quickly and figure out that he’s asking for the actresses, so we help him as best we can. He thanks us and leaves.

A minute later, he comes back to our table with an apology, reassuring us that we are all beauties and he shouldn’t have phrased it that way. I had a lot of not-so-great experiences in that theater, but that was one thing I’ll always remember in a positive light.

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Shorties Unite! Way Down Here…

, , , , | Working | April 14, 2021

I’m a techie, travelling with a small play to be performed at a Womens’ Playwriting conference in Galway. The lighting designer and I go to check out the performance space that the play will be performed in.

We enter at the back of the auditorium and walk the tiered steps down toward the stage. The lighting tech is asking his assistant to adjust a light over the seating, but before the assistant can get there, the lighting designer — 6’5″ — just reaches up and makes the adjustment; he can reach it easily.

The lighting tech, who’s maybe 5’7″ or so, looks at the lighting designer and then down at his own legs, and shouts, “GROW, d*** ye!”

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We’ll Leave The Ghost Light On For You

, , , | Learning | April 12, 2021

I’m in the high school drama production. I’m waiting quietly in a corner for it to begin when a little girl approaches me. It’s normal for there to be kids backstage because our show requires full families. I’m playing a nurse in the show.

Little Girl: “Hey, excuse me. Can I ask you something?”

Me: “Oh, sure. What is it?”

Little Girl: “Aren’t you a little pale to be a nurse?”

I’m really, really pale and my foundation is almost the lightest shade, but people don’t usually comment on it.

Me: “Umm…”

Little Girl: “You look like a ghost or kinda like you’re sick.”

She leaves.

Me: “Thanks.”

I later found out that this was the daughter of my music teacher and one of the directors of our show. Apparently, I was looking a little too pale, because the women who were in charge of the makeup tracked me down before the next show, bronzer in hand.

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Being Decent Isn’t Hard If You Make The Effort

, , , , , | Friendly | April 7, 2021

This story takes place at a theatre where I’m a performer. Also featuring in this story is the costume designer/maker who’s female and dating [Performer #2], a man I don’t know very well. [Performer #1] is a male performer who I consider a good friend. There’s also [Director], another guy I don’t know very well, as I don’t normally work on his stuff.

I’ve recently come out as a trans man and the name I’ve chosen is quite long. I’m meeting a group of people who I’m working with on an amateur and very small production; they know my situation. I am warned by [Performer #2] that his girlfriend, [Costume Designer] will seem rude and get my pronouns and name wrong. Whilst I’ve met her briefly before, I was presenting as female and she knew me by my deadname. I was already nervous about it, as it is the first time meeting up since I came out, but his warning about her has made me even more anxious.

When we meet up everyone seems fine. [Costume Designer] is a bit standoffish but seems to make a conscious effort to get my name correct; she’s pausing before saying it. She doesn’t really talk a lot to anyone, to be honest. A little bit further into the meeting, I’m with [Performer #2] and the director, who’s just offered to change my character into a male, when we overhear something going on. [Costume Designer] and [Performer #1] have their backs to us and [Costume Designer] looks kind of tense.

Performer #1: “Do you know where [My Deadname] is?”

Costume Designer: “I k-know where—” *pause* “—[my name] is.”

Performer #1: *Scoffing* “That’s utter BS; you and I both know it. Her name is [My Deadname] — born a she, always a she.”

Costume Designer: “He… They, He. They’re a g-guy. N-not a g-girl. He was by the… the… the…”

She pauses and it is at this moment that I realise she has a stutter.

Performer #1: *Mocking tone* “Are you st-st-st-struggling to sp-sp-speak?” *Laughs* “Spit it out, woman.”

She responds by giving him the middle finger, which [Performer #2] sniggers at. [Performer #1] hears that and looks around. He goes pale when he sees us together.

Performer #1: “Oh! Hey, [My Dead]—”

Costume Designer: *Interrupting* “[M-my N-n-name].”

She struggles heavily with my long name.

Performer #1: *Once again mocking* “That’s n-n-n-not his n-n-n-n-name, either, dips***.”

Director: *Cold fury* “Get your stuff and come with me, [Performer #1].”

They leave, and [Costume Designer] walks over to us. She’s a mix of angry and upset.

Costume Designer: “S-Sorry—” *pauses* “—[My-My Name].” *Scowls* “[My N— N-Name].”

She scowls harder, and then says under her breath:

Costume Designer: “F***.”

Me: “What?”

Costume Designer: “Hard.”

Performer #2: *To me* “Yeah, sorry, man, but your name is hard for her to say, so she feels bad. When she gets angry or very emotional, or even tired, she gets worse. Plus, like, she has mild aphasia from an accident. Basically, speaking is not easy for her.”

Turns out, [Performer #2] was trying to warn me about her speech-related conditions; he just did so really badly. He had messaged everyone separately to inform them that she’s likely to mess up, and he hadn’t really considered the further implications that would happen with me. He said she’d seem rude because she doesn’t chat.

[Performer #1] never returned; the director asked him to leave. Fortunately, we were quite early into the practices, and [Performer #1] had a very small part, so we could easily get someone else to do it. I don’t talk to him anymore, but I became close friends with [Costume Designer] and [Performer #2].


This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup! This is the last story in this roundup, but if you’d like to read more of our favorite stories, you can always check out March’s roundup next!

Read the next Best Of April 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of April 2021 roundup!

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His Wife Is The Best Actor Of The Bunch

, , , | Right | February 28, 2021

During my summer vacation, I volunteer at the box office of a local theater where two shows happen on alternating nights. This year, we have a play and a musical.

Occasionally, the people in charge will have sales to sell a few more tickets to days that need a bit of a boost.

A sale like this is currently happening for 50% off tickets to the play; a few weeks ago, there was another sale for the musical at 30% off. All sale tickets are final sale — we can exchange to a new show for non-sale tickets — and musicals are a bit more money than plays.

I answer the phone.

Me: “Good morning! This is [Theater] and my name is [My Name]. How—”

Caller: *Cutting me off* “I want that deal I saw in the paper today.”

Me: “The 50% off?”

I start the process of bringing up her account and the availability of the performance.

Caller: “No. I already have tickets. But I want to get them refunded for the deal.”

I am looking at her orders for that year.

Me: “I see you bought tickets to [Musical] using the 30%-off deal.”

Caller: “Yes, I want a refund on those so I can buy this new deal. It’ll be cheaper.”

Me: “I understand that, but your tickets to [Musical] were bought using the 30%-off limited sale and those are final sale.”

Caller: “You are not understanding me! I want a refund and to buy the cheaper tickets!”

Me: “Your tickets to [Musical] are marked final sale. I can’t give you a refund.”

Caller: “Check with your supervisor.”

Me: “Okay.”

I put her on hold. I explain to the box office manager what the caller wants. The manager agrees with me that it’s not in the policies and won’t give in to the caller. I get back on the phone and explain to the caller again why we can’t honor her request.

Caller: “What if I came into the theater?”

Me: “The same policy applies.”

Caller: “My ticket money pays your paycheck, young lady! Do your job.”

Me: “I am a volunteer.”

The caller hangs up. I leave a log of the call on her order file and shake my head. A few hours later, I am getting programs ready for the performance that night and a man walks in.

Coworker: “Good afternoon.”

Customer: “Hi. My wife said she was told on the phone we had to bring in our tickets to move them to something else. I have all the information.”

Coworker: “Okay. Let me look up the order… Oh, your tickets are marked final sale.”

Customer: “Yes. But she said the lady on the phone said it was okay.”

My coworker brings up the order file; I can see my note on the screen.

Coworker: “Yes. She did call in. But she was told by both our volunteer and the manager because these are final sale tickets, they are not refundable. She got upset at our volunteer and hung up.”

Customer: *Upset* “I should’ve known [Wife] would try something like this!”

He stormed out, leaving the original tickets on the counter. My coworker and I just looked at each other and sighed, and I continued getting the programs ready as my coworker added to my call log.

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