Friday, August 12, 2005

Theater Tales

Working in theater after all these years feels like coming home. I remember all these stories we’ve passed on from generation to generation, stories of backstage and onstage boo-boos, faux pas and blunders. We should really start collecting them into several volumes, just like Pinoy Ghost Stories. Here are four such tales:

A. “They both squint!”

In the play “Beckett”, there was one scene wherein a monk is seen seated on a bench, and the one of the lead characters would refer to him, saying, “See the monk? He squints!”

During one performance as the actors were preparing for that scene, they realized that the actor playing the monk was missing. Frantically, they asked another actor to substitute for the missing actor. When the lights went on, the substitute actor was shocked to find someone seated beside him—the original monk! Apparently he was just waiting all the time at the wings, with the curtains hiding him. That’s why no one was able to spot him earlier.

So when the lead actor turned to refer to the monk, he paused for a second then said, “See the monks? They both squint!”

B. The Stench of the Dead

In another play, a guy playing a corpse farted during a performance. Luckily, the scene involved a noisy crowd so the audience didn’t hear the passing of gas. But the actors nearest to him—they were playing his grieving family—didn’t escape the deadly stench. They ended up gasping in between giggling and mourning.

C. The Wayward Panel

Back in the early 80s, TA would stage plays in a converted classroom, G-306. Because of its small stage space, most set changes were done manually. One time a stage crew brought in a panel for the next scene. Unfortunately, he took too long in setting up the panel; the lights went on before he could leave the stage. He spent the next several minutes behind the panel while the scene played out. What made it worse was that the rest of the cast and crew were in the wings, laughing and pointing at him helplessly trapped onstage.

D. Nun Of The Above

In one performance of “Therese ng Lisieux” one of the extras playing a nun entered the stage during the blackout in-between scenes. When the lights went on, she discovered to her horror that it wasn’t her scene yet; worse, the current scene was an intimate conversation between Therese and her father in her hospital bed. The extra nun pretended to just pray the rosary while slowly inching away from the bed so as to give the father and daughter some space.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Leigh said...

*breathes sigh of relief*

I'm not in any of those stories! Yay!

;-)

9:05 PM  
Blogger slim whale said...

one time, i played Brutus in Shakespeare's julius Caesar. while delivering my passionate speech beside Caesar's corpse, the guy playing caesar suddenly bumped his head on the floor cause his platform broke in two. the audience lost focus and started snickering.

this post made me miss my theater workshop days.

11:53 AM  
Blogger McVie said...

SLIM WHALE: Hay naku, I remember when we did Julius Caesar in high school: after Ceasar is killed, there's a blackout so that the actor could walk off the stage. Unfortunately the lights went on too early, and Ceasar was caught sneaking off the stage. He immediately fell on the ground and pretended to be dead again.

Buti na lang that was a pick-up rehearsals so only the cast and crew witnessed that embarrassing snafu.

12:49 PM  

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