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Half-Time Half-Wit

, , , , | Related | August 18, 2020

I am ushering for the school play of “Into The Woods.” The end of the first act is notorious for being taken as the ending of the whole show. A father and his young son come up to me.

Father: “Is it half-time now?” 

Half-time is for sports; at plays, musicals, and operas, this is called intermission.

Me: “Uh… yes, it’s intermission, sir.” 

Father: “Okay.” *Turns to son* “It’s half-time!” 

Me: “…”

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A Harmless Necessary Cat

, , , | Right | August 5, 2020

I am performing in a free outdoor production of Shakespeare. The performance space is on someone’s property. The director is greeting the audience as they arrive. A woman approaches holding an animal carrier.

Director: “Hi! Welcome to the show!”

Woman: “Thanks. I’m a neighbor and I just had to see the show.”

Director: “What’s in the carrier?”

Woman: “My cat! Want to see?”

Director: “Aw, sure!”

The woman takes the cat out of the carrier. It is a Maine coon, easily over twenty-five pounds.

Woman: “He’s very curious. He’ll probably wander out on the stage!”

The director laughs, thinking the woman is joking. She is not. The cat wanders onstage during the show, sticking its but in the faces of actors who are crouching on the ground and generally interfering with the show. At some point, the cat decides I’m his “favorite,” and he comes up to me and meows plaintively when I won’t pet him. I have to duck behind a tree to hide my laughter. At intermission, I send the director a text message.

My Text: “Tell woman to take cat home! It’s getting dark and he could get hurt in battle scene!”

The director told the woman to take the cat home.

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Credit For Effort!

, , , | Working | May 28, 2020

I have a friend who, despite identifying as female, dresses entirely in men’s clothing and is often mistaken for a guy. She has a very feminine name, as well.

We are walking through the bag and pocket check at a theater. My friend empties her pockets, begins to drop some quarters, and walks off without noticing.

Security Guard: “He’s dropping quarters everywhere!”

The guard takes a closer look at my friend.

Security Guard:She’s dropping quarters everywhere!”

The guard looks at her yet again, this time very confused.

Security Guard:They’re dropping quarters everywhere!”

He looks at me, desperate. I decide to help the poor guy.

Me: “Hey, [Friend]!”

The guard has a sudden spark of recognition.

Security Guard: “OH! [Friend]! [Friend]!”

She finally notices what’s going on and turns around to find me laughing like a maniac and the security guard looking at the both of us with a very sheepish expression.

Friend: “What?”

Me: “You dropped your quarters.”

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Theater Lovers, Avert Your Eyes!

, , , , , , , | Friendly | May 22, 2020

Some years ago, a friend and I had tickets to see The Scarlet Pimpernel on Broadway. We went with one of those bus tours and got to the theater early so we could take our seats and be comfortable.  

And then two things happened.

Incident one:

About ten minutes from the opening curtain, two gentlemen came to our aisle and began to argue with the women sitting next to us in the aisle. The women were in their seats and the men wanted them to get out. They debated the point — all of them leaning over us and getting tenser and more irritable as the debate went on — for several minutes until an usher was called over.

The usher looked at the men’s tickets and said, “You are correct. Those would be your seats… if you were coming to see The Scarlet Pimpernel. Unfortunately, your tickets are for The Lion King which is at the New Amsterdam theater.”

The men argued a few more seconds and then finally took off running. My friend and I and the ladies beside us couldn’t help but wonder out loud how you can see the name “Minskoff” and read “New Amsterdam” or read the name of the musical and mistake it for another.

We all settled back in. A loud buzz of voices started up behind us. Everyone in the theater looked back to the balconies where a large group of high school students was taking their seats. No problem. Schools bring kids to the theater all the time. They usually quiet down as soon as the play starts.

Not these kids.

The theater probably did themselves a disservice when they announced that “This performance has been selected to be taped for airing on PBS later this year. We ask the audience to please be on their best behavior.”

Almost immediately, the kids in the balcony started shouting random words and screaming at each other, and their teachers did nothing to stop them.

As the play began, it was almost impossible to hear the actors’ words or enjoy the music as the kids in the back continued to sing loudly — other songs, not the songs in the play — and shout out suggestions to the actors during quiet periods.

At one point in the performance, the characters gathered to quietly plan a coup and, even though we were sitting in the ninth row, we could not hear a word they said. Suddenly, at that point, the cast all stood up from their positions, went to the front of the stage, and said “SSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” The audience joined in and we all waited until the kids were silent before the play resumed.

I took a quick look back at the balcony: two ushers were up there speaking with the teachers. Before the act was over, the balcony had been cleared and the rest of the play took place without incident.

I am sure the kids were screaming in hopes of seeing the play on TV and hearing themselves ruining the experience for everyone else. I have to wonder what kind of pea-brained little snot thinks that’s an appropriate thing to do. More to the point, I wonder why the teachers didn’t think it was their responsibility to shut the class up.

This story is part of our Musical Theater Roundup!

Read the next Musical Theater Roundup story!

Read the Musical Theater Roundup!

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The Husband Trick: Find Someone Else To Take The Blame

, , , , | Right | April 3, 2020

(I’m an usher, working an event that is at intermission.)

Customer: “Where is the nearest liquor store?”

Me: “Um, I’m not sure. I’m not 21 yet, so I’ve never been.”

Customer: “But you have to know where it is.”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t have any idea.”

(The customer goes back into the venue. Five minutes later, he comes out again on the phone.)

Customer: “Here, it’s my wife on the phone. Tell her where the liquor store is, or she’ll yell at you!”

(I still have no idea where the liquor store is!)

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