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He Was A Very Convincing Rolfe, Apparently

, , , , , , | Learning | January 31, 2023

After my high school performance of “The Sound of Music”, the student actors are mingling with audience members in the lobby. An elderly man is approaching various actors.

To the actor who played the lead role of Maria:

Man: “You were amazing! So talented! I hope you pursue a career in music.”

To the actor who played Gretl, the youngest of the von Trapp children:

Man: “You were fantastic, sweetie! I bet your parents are so proud of you.”

To the actor who played Rolfe, still in a Nazi costume from his final scene in the show:

Man: “The last time I saw a man wearing that uniform, I shot him!”

The Stagehands Can But Make A Fire (Extinguisher) Of Him…

, , , , , , , | Working | January 20, 2023

In the late 1990s, I worked as a production assistant for a company that did an outdoor Shakespeare show every summer. The year I worked there, the show was “Julius Caesar”.

At one point during the show, while Caesar was giving a speech, several actors onstage held lit lanterns on long poles — none of those fake battery-operated lights but real live fire in the lanterns. Best practices dictated that we have a stagehand standing just offstage with a fire extinguisher the entire time those lanterns were lit.

One night, while this scene was occurring and Caesar was giving his speech, one of the lanterns broke and hit the stage, still lit. The stagehand immediately stepped onstage and shot the lantern with a blast from his fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

There was a moment of stunned silence from everyone: the stagehand, the actors, and the audience. And then Caesar, gravely and sincerely, turned to the stagehand and exclaimed:

Caesar: “Thank you, citizen!”

And he promptly turned back to the audience and returned to his speech without missing another beat. 

It was one of the most masterful recoveries from an onstage problem I’ve ever seen.

Your Director Is So Fired

, , , , , , , , | Learning | December 25, 2022

When I was around second grade, my church put on a Christmas play involving every child in Sunday school, telling the story of Jesus’s birth. I was cast as one of the three wise men, and our role was to stand in front of the mics, look up at the ceiling, and comment on the Star of Bethlehem. In order to prevent us from looking in three different directions, we were told beforehand to look in the direction of the ceiling fan. Unfortunately, I had no idea where the fan was in the nave, especially in the darkened room.

Wise Man #1: “Wow, look at that star!”

Wise Man #2: “That star is shining so bright!”

Me: “What could that star mean?” *Pauses* “Where is that stupid star?”

My mom told me afterward that all the adults around her thought it was adorable, which totally made up for the other kids telling me their parents were recording the play and I blew their big moment.

Some Moms Should (Lip)Stick To The Audience

, , , , , , | Learning | December 6, 2022

I’m a senior in high school. I’ve been in chorus since I was a freshman. We are having our annual Broadway-style revue, and everyone is running around like crazy backstage getting ready. There are several stage moms helping with makeup.

One of my friends warns me that one stage mom in particular is walking around with a tube of lipstick and putting it on the girls that she deems “not made up enough.” I have very sensitive skin, so I do my own makeup with my own products. I have done this every year with no issues.

I come out of the bathroom in full costume with several minutes to spare.

Stage Mom #1: “[My Name], you look so nice.”

Me: “Thank you, Mrs. [Stage Mom #1].”

Stage Mom #1: “What makeup brand do you use?”

Me: “[Brand known for sensitive skin].”

Stage Mom #1: “Really? I didn’t know it could look that nice. I’ll have to check into that for next year!”

I smile and thank her again. She walks off to help another kid with his costume.

I head back to my stuff to grab my water bottle when [Stage Mom #2] walks over with lipstick in hand. I don’t get along with her daughter, so she’s never been nice to me.

Stage Mom #2: “Are you wearing any lipstick?”

Me: “I have my own, thank you!”

Stage Mom #2: “[My Name], that is not enough lipstick.”

Me: “I’m going to add some more right before I go onstage. That way, it’s totally fresh.”

Stage Mom #2: “No, you’ll add some right now.”

She opens the lipstick and attempts to put it on me. I dodge out of the way.

Me: “I have my own!”

I reach into my bag and pull out my lipstick, along with my shimmer gloss.

Me: “I’m all set.”

Stage Mom #2: “No, you need this stuff.”

She comes at me with the lipstick again and I step back.

Me: “I’m not wearing that. One, that’s not my color. Two, I have sensitive skin and I can’t wear that brand. Three, you’ve been using that on everyone. That’s germy.”

Stage Mom #2: “You’re going to look washed out on stage. Stop being disrespectful and let me help you!

She has a smug look on her face as she opens the lipstick again. In one smooth motion, I grab my makeup bag, step back, and bolt for the nearby single-stall bathroom. I lock the door in record time. [Stage Mom #2] bangs on the door.

Me: “Mrs. [Stage Mom #2], I am putting on my lipstick and more gloss.”

Stage Mom #2: “You’ll be sorry! Just wait until [Director] hears how disrespectful you are!”

She stomped off. I added more lip gloss and cautiously slipped out of the bathroom with just a minute to spare. Our number went well, and I did not get in trouble with our director. However, half the girls in the class ended up sick a couple of days later.

This Customer Is Providing Experience

, , , , | Right | November 15, 2022

I work for a theatre company that produces several shows over our season. It’s not uncommon for people to call in to exchange their tickets for a different date, different show, or different location.

Me: “Good afternoon! This is [My Name] at [Company]; how can I assist you?”

Customer: “I’d like to exchange my tickets, please.”

Me: “Can I have the order number, please?”

The customer gives me the order number and I see it was for a performance the previous weekend.

Me: “I’m showing [Show #1] for last Sunday. Did you mean to give the number for [Show #2] in four weeks?”

Customer: “No. That’s the right one. I hated the show and want to exchange it for something else.”

Me: “I’m sorry the show wasn’t to your taste, but I can’t exchange your ticket after you’ve used it.”

Customer: “Yes, you can. If I don’t like a sweater, I exchange it. This is no different.”

Me: “This is very different. You purchased a ticket to an experience; you had that experience. I can’t exchange your tickets. I can ask for a manager to review and be in contact with you.”

The customer hung up. My manager did the review, and it turns out that this person has a history of this type of behaviour. He’d created a new profile on our system so the history wasn’t available to me. He did not get his exchange.