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June 6, 2011 at 3:07pm

Carv's Weekly Blog: FUBAR

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WHEN IT ALL GOES SOUTH >>>

One of the shows I saw this weekend was Play On! at Olympia Little Theater, in which an amateur company bumbles through the disastrous opening-night performance of a not-so-great production. Tread the boards long enough and you, too, Gentle Reader, may know the joys of a nuclear-grade Pakistani clustermug. I don't mean "an actor went up on his lines" or "we had to cover a missing sound cue;" I mean a "where the hell are we," "oh my God, is there a doctor in the house," "the director is now on suicide watch" category EF5 shitstorm. It's been almost 20 years since my brush with Satan, and I still remember the event all too vividly.

The show was The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, a light whodunit comedy from 1987. Several undergrad friends and I were recruited into a community theater production that wasn't going especially well from day one. The resolution of the play depends entirely on the discovery of a secret notebook. Meanwhile, of course, there's a violent thunderstorm--this is, after all, a mystery, where such things are obligatory--and there's also a slasher on the loose in what's essentially a locked mansion. After a particularly deafening thunderclap, there's a brief blackout. During that blackout, my friend Arlan (aka "the Bull") careened into a table, inadvertently knocking that all-important notebook off the table into deep shadows. Within seconds we were light-years off the map.

I ad-libbed furiously, praying for a miracle. Perhaps a duplicate copy of the notebook might streak from the sky on a stray meteorite. Perhaps its contents would appear magically on a wall like the prophecy at Belshazzar's feast. My friend Marc moseyed to the lip of the stage, rested his chin in his hand, and stared into middle distance in what was self-evidently a state of mental hibernation. The old codger playing an undercover cop staggered onstage, brandished his prop gun at the audience, and bellowed, "Uh-oh, I guess I came out at the wrong scene!"

If you'd asked me at the time, I would have sworn on a stack of First Folios that we were in the weeds for at least 20 minutes. The stage manager said it was more like two. Either way, I can remember everything about that catastrophic meltdown except how we got out of it. Probably, the actress playing Nikki Crandall invoked psychic powers. However we got back in sync, the play concluded without the notebook or further crippling humiliation.

In the lobby after the show, audience members insisted they had no idea anything was wrong. This says little for the critical faculties of audience members, and it may in fact indicate they're born, brazen liars...for which I offer my sincerest gratitude.

Filed under: Arts, Olympia, Theater,

Comments for "Carv's Weekly Blog: FUBAR" (1)

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Jodi said on Jun. 06, 2011 at 4:36pm

Blood Relations.

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