Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

May 9, 2011 at 1:06pm


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When actors or crew members improvise a detour around line glitches, missing sound cues, and other onstage mayhem, we call that a "cover." All stage performers know the thrill and relief of clever covering; we've all had to do it, and we're all grateful to have been the beneficiary of inventive salvation in moments of crisis. I saw quite a bit of covering at Amy's View, and for the most part, it worked. I wasn't always sure which lines were dropped or how the actors nudged each other back on track. Would it have been better if they actually knew their lines? Sure, but such is life on the boards.

Then there are those covers every audience member sees--but sometimes, those are the most fun of all.

At Sunday's matinee of A Few Good Men, Tim Shute as the irascible Lt. Col. Jessup and Douglas Lukascik as beleaguered Cmdr. (and medical doctor) Stone were debating a Marine's cause of death. It's a point of high drama in the script, where the heroism or villainy of a character is decided...which made it all the more jarring and amusing when Lukaskic's scrubs began to slide down his hips. They descended as if pulled by hidden strings. Thankfully Thespis he was wearing uniform slacks underneath, but the lack of a breeze on his nether regions kept this development from Lukaskic himself. The audience saw it immediately, of course, and couldn't help giggling. Lukaskic heard the laughter but assumed he'd flubbed a line without hearing himself do it. Shute, on the other hand, saw the problem just as quickly as we did. Dr. Stone's scrubs fell down to his ankles, and now this moment of spine-tingling drama had become a shtick from Barnum & Bailey.

Without breaking character for a nanosecond, Shute bellowed, "Pull your pants up, man! Jesus!" Lukascik hastily redressed himself, stammering, "I apologize for my appearance, sir; it won't happen again." Shute commanded, "I know you're tired and overworked, but get it together!" The audience greeted this obvious but necessary rewrite with spontaneous applause. It was among the best moments of genuine acting in a very fine show, and it reminded me why, no matter how spectacular movies get, live performance will always be just as much fun.

Filed under: Arts, Theater, Olympia,
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