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This is a question On the stage

Too shy to ever appear on stage myself, I still hung around theatres like a bad smell when I was younger - lighting and set design were what I was good at.

Backstage we'd attempt to sabotage every production - us lighting geeks would wind up the sound man by putting the remote "pause" button for his reel-to-reel tape machine on his chair, so when he sat down it'd start running, ruining his cues. Actors would do scenes out of order to make our lives hell. It was great and I don't know why I don't still do it.

Tell us your stories of life on the stage.

(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 11:02)
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This question is now closed.

Oh.. another quick one...
Local band were playing thier first gig, using my mates sound gear.. they had thier "own engineer" so we just supplied the PA and desk...

I had never actually heard any of thier songs (they only played thier own original stuff) so to me it was just the usual naff "indie rock oasis wannabee" crap...

halfway through the gig, the guitar tech happened to notice that he had been tuning the guitars with a faulty tuner...

funny thing was, nobody noticed :-)
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:31, Reply)
Far too many...... but this one still makes me chortle....
this one is not really 100% stage based, but it does include a stage or two..
The nightclub complex were I worked at the time, had just bought a complete new radio mic system, with 3 sets of backup packs, and had installed a couple of booster relays around the (rather large) hall and bar so as the things would work at fashion shows etc... anyway 1st night all went well, the resident DJ was impressed with the range, and often wandered off into the rest of the building to have a bit of a laugh with it..


one friday night, we started picking up this rather loud bass guitar.. eh? we thought for a minute, and then realised that next door had a live band in, and obviously thier bass guitar radio pack was the same as ours..

we could also hear other other strange noises, but could not place them.. anyway having a couple of frequency options, I thought we would just change to another one, so I sent a waiter next door to ask what frequency the bass player was using, so as we could change ours (nice blokes and all that) The cnut sent the waiter back telling him to "piss off kid" as he thought he was just a snotty "anorak" type..


So.. anyway we all knew of one barmans weekly sessions with one of the waitresses, so we quickly rigged the spare mic up in the room they used. (getting the picture?)

cue 10 minutes later and sounds of a couple madly at it were then transmitted into the pub next door, during the groups set..

In the hall on the other side of our building Our local drama group were putting on a very religious play about some nun who had died recently, and the strange noises we had picked up then, were from thier radio mic...

How were we to know that the boss had lent them our reserve packs?

From that day on, all the equipment was kept in a safe in the office, and had to be signed for, and signed back in again with all frequency's clearly marked..

(more later)
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:25, Reply)
I was married by Johnny Ball.
Yep, the number man and father of the duck faced big eared Zoe, put me through the shame of dragging me up on stage at one of his shows. If that wasn't bad enough he dressed me and an older girl up as atoms. And then married us to show how some chemical reaction or other ocurred. Whilst it was great being married to an older women I was only 11 and got the crap ripped out of me for the rest of the year.

Think of a number my arse!
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:24, Reply)
Flying temples
Can't say I have done much stage work, but I have been crew for a few and sound for enough music gigs.

So anyway, am doing counter-weights scenery for an opera at uni, one scene I have to drop in these 2 massive false tree trunks. On the 3rd night (after it going fine the first two) one of the singers walks off stage at the end of her piece directly under one of the falling trees. She didn't sing again that evening. Opps.

Same show, in the grand finale we had to lift up this massive temple, took two people on counters to lift it cause it needed to go straight up and fast. However just my luck one evening my partner is taken ill and isn't coming. So "Gods gift to counter-weights" steps in to help me. She wasn't. Wrecked the whole scene
I ended up shoving her off the weights and doing it on my own.
Yeah that was a bad evening.

Other useful stuff, when you have a manager that "just need to go talk to erm someone" every time there is heavy lifting to be done, anyone who asks gets told "oh he's just gone for a quick wank" as a fact.
Also comms headsets are for trying to make people that are visible to the audience laugh, esp camera crews.

behold my length and girth
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:24, Reply)
Especially if your drama teacher happens to be a bitch-troll from hell who hates you.

I had wanted to do art but the class was full, so was forced to take this bollocks for the next 2 years. As you may be able to tell, I really did hate it (as did everyone else in the class). I hated most of the other subjects but I at least made an effort with them. This one was just not worth it.

For our actual GCSE work, we were required to write and perform our own play. My friend Jin and I were the only 2 left over after everyone got into their groups of 6. Instead we got lumbered with an incredibly thick chavvy girl who couldn't act. She was also rarely in school. At the time, Jin had been chucked out of her house and really couldn't be bothered to come in either, so it was usually me sitting on my own doing absolutely fuck all and being screamed at by the aforementioned bitch-troll.

Performance day comes, the script having been completed and typed up 2 days prior to this, and we have no idea what time we're supposed to be there or what the hell we're going to do. We also perform after a group of A grade students have done their version of Blood Brothers. Needless to say, we fuck it up VERY BADLY and forget to thank the examiner at the end like we were told. We just sat there for 5 minutes pissing ourselves. Luckily, I get the highest grade in the group for bothering to turn up to school in the first place, and I was chuffed to bits with my E. What did annoy me was that Ms Howard (bitch-troll) graded the other 4 groups herself with no examiner and gave one group all B's because she felt sorry for them after they fucked up their lines very badly, and was going to let them re-do their exam a week later. Which is, by the way, highly illegal.

Another time we went to see Billy Liar, and Jin was crying through the first half because Ralf Little was smoking on stage and she hadn't had a fag in 3 hours.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:23, Reply)
re Rob's T-bird story
Reminds me of a Primary school production of Joseph and his Dreamcoat we did.

It was the scene where Joseph is due to come onstage in his 'chariot of gold' and the chorus are singing "Joseph came to Egypt in his chariot of go-o-o-ol-l-l-d".

It was a real anti-climax when he then was visibily pushed onto stage kneeling on a hostess trolley with a squeaky wheel that had been decked out in gold tissue paper.

If you can compare that to the same scene in the big budget West End version, where Joseph comes on stage on a huge Harley Davidson, you can understand why the lad playing Joseph must have felt like a right twat.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:19, Reply)
From the Rear
Whilst at Poly in the 1990s I was sat in a lecture feeling rather alone. The lecture hall was a huge Edwardian Theatre style venue with a large stage and red velvet curtain at one end.
The (slightly boring) lecturer piped up and started talking about Object Based Programming or some such crap and after 10 minutes and as I was falling into a coma, the curtains behind him opened......
... To reveal all my missing colleagues sat in a row diligently taking notes.
The Lecturer took a further 5 minutes to realise anything was amiss .. even with a hundred or so students all laughing.
The sad fact of it was that at 20, I found this highly amusing when I should have frowned, tutted and carried on listening to the Lecturer, such was my downfall.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:19, Reply)
Oooh I remeber another,
We were doing a production of 'Return to the forbidden Planet." Now this was at the point just before the interval where a giant space monster attacks the ship and six foot tentacles have just burst through the portals on our space ship.
At this point me and some others were meant to shooting the giant tentacles with our space guns. Of course we didn't have space guns, so used childrens toy guns which make various odd sounds when fired.
So, all is going well. I'm blasting the space monter and decide to pull once more on the trigger. Cue blackout. Cast Freeze and it should be the end of the first act, except my gun is still finishing off its annoying noise of 'phernnnnnn peu peu peu, kershhhhh' whilst flashing madly in the dark.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:17, Reply)
Too many to mention. Here's a couple:

1. I used to play bass for the band that eventually became The Circus of Horrors. I did a UK tour of every toilet in the country - for no pay, Christ knows what I was thinking of - and on one memorable occasion the paper lids of one of the pyro pots landed on my very-hairsprayed hair, which then caught fire. I played on oblivious, whilst the audienced gawped. "Wot a show - that guy's got his head on fire!"

2. Depping for a mate's band, I got to headline the Marquee club at the height of its glory. I had a brand new effects unit for my bass, and the energetic singer kept jumping on the pedals by mistake. But everything still sounded fine to us.

It wasn't until we heard the playbacks that we realised that I'd played almost the whole gig with the digital delay turned on, resulting in out-of-time bass noises bonging away over everything. We couldn't hear it because the bass didn't go through the foldbacks.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:16, Reply)
When I was about seven,
I got the part of "Snowflake number 6" in my first school Winter Spectacular. This involved all of 30 seconds in the limelight, prancing across the stage in a tutu made of tissue paper (the budget didn't stretch to real costumes, obviously.)

I tripped while exiting stage-left, got my foot caught in a table that made up part of the set, and as I felt myself fall off the stage, I grabbed the closest thing to me: the curtain. Which then completely collapsed.

The table, the curtain and me fell in one big, messy heap, right on top of an old, wheelchair-bound audience member.

It was a long time before I went on stage again.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:15, Reply)
I was on stage with my brass band
I was not paying attention really and it was our last concert as that particular group before we all went our seperate ways

my name gets called out for showing most improvement and being 'the mad bastard in the corner' so I get smacked on my back by my friend sat next to me, so up I stand with my tuba, and then I lose balance, and fall off the back of the stage.

(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:13, Reply)
Dib dib fucking dob...
I was 11 years old and one of Baden Powell's finest female recruits. I was starring in The Gang Show...

I had my very first period on stage in front of 500 people whilst singing 'Bare Necessities' from the Jungle Book dressed as a cave girl.

My therapy bill is astronomical.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:10, Reply)
In a primary school production
written by our teacher (who I'm beginning to think must have been somewhat fond of chemical enjoyment) I played the roles both of the mother of the 3 little pigs, and then later, of the butcher who comes along once they've all been horribly murdered, in order to turn them in to tasty dinners.

Thinking about it, that play was a touch strange, to say the least.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:10, Reply)
O K L A H O M A Oklahoma
I was in a production of Oklahoma at the Guild hall theatre. The chaging rooms were right down at the bottom of the building and you had to climb four flights of stairs to reach the stage door. Now in frilly frocks and cowgirl boots this was quite a tedious task. One evening of the production we had finished the first act and were chatting during the fifteen minute interval when all of a sudden we hear the opening music for the second act. They had forgot to give us our cue.
In a state of panick the whole cast suddenly jumped up and attempted to climb the stairs to the stage before the curtain opened. Screams of "Get out of my way!" and "I'm on before all you!" echoed up the stairs and at one point a certain farmer did actually grab my hair and attempt to throw me out of the way!

Aah the joys of show business.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:06, Reply)
I just remembered this one and it's splendid (though not technically on a stage)
right, not me but me dad. I would have never worked this one.

Colonel Qadaffi was hosting the Africa National Congress. So far on this job, he'd been nothing but bonkers,as you'd expect. He even demanded live footage of his daughter being bombed. Insane.

Anyway, the show involved a huge projection onto a waterfall opposite a citadel. Just as all the dignataries have sat down and the show's about to begin, in Back to the Future stylee, two parts of a cable unclip. Right where Mr Doolally himself is sitting. My friend steps up tot he job, only he's wearing shorts. Now, you can't be showing your western infidel knees in front of Mr Qadaffi. So my friend somehow manages to convince a large, AK47 carrying guard to give him his trousers. He then, due to the fact the dignitaries are all on a balcony overlooking a crowd, has to crawl through Quadaffi's legs to put the two parts together again, just in time for the show to start.

Completely true.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:53, Reply)
Well, being a fabulous drama student, there are of course many wonderful stories I could tell you darhling....

But the one that really sticks out? I was 10, a bit chubby and rubbish, but had been cast as Mary in the nativity play - every little girls dream. My sister was the infants school Mary as well, so we were both well chuffed.

Imagine, if you will, the therapy-inducing, crushing childhood HORROR and DESPARE when, two weeks before the play, I'm told "you're too quiet to be Mary" and am promptly replaced by Ellie Parsons, smarmy child-model type, my rival for teachers pet, who all the boys liked.

I mean - are school nativity plays really about the fine caliber of the acting? I still marvel at how they could have been so cruel.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:47, Reply)
Shit T-bird
I was in a school production of Grease, I played Doody and had a couple of solo songs to sing. It was great fun, and I was a minor school celebrity for a week with younger girls following me around and giggling. (I think they liked me, thinking on it now maybe they were just giggling at me.)

Anyways. Anyone who knows the film knows there's a scene where Danny reveals the Greased Lightening car. A souped-up t-bird that makes everyone swoon and break into song.

Well. We're a school production. We didn't quite have the budget for that.

So the wood-work teacher knocked one up. It's quite difficult to describe it's splendor, I wish I had a photo for you, but I'll try.

First off, it was made of wood, painted with matt-white house paint. It didn't have the sleek lines of a T-bird, but was angular and boxy. With visible screws where the joins were.

It also wasn't very big. If someone attempted to sit in it, the effect was much like Noddy in his noddy car.

Now, imagine this "car" being pushed on stage and the cast having to deliver lines like, "oooh! what a fantastic motor" and then perform a song with lyrics like , "You know that I ain't braggin', she's a real pussy wagon - greased lightnin'"

It effectively turned the scene into a huge piss-take, with every line sounding like sarcasm.

It brought the house down. People ROARED.

Frankly I think our version was better than the film.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:47, Reply)
Don't trust the mics, and be on the look out for fat nuns.
I was playing guitar with a band in a rather posh Hotel/Castle in Wales. When I arrived at the venue, the bands sound engineer excitedly told me that he'd picked up a radio pack for the guitar, so that I could bounce around stage like a loon, with no fear of tripping over cables, or unplugging myself.

During the gig, all was going well. I was running about the stage, jumping off the drum riser, generally enjoying myself, and the guitar sounded good. Third song in, and I've got a solo. So, cool as ice, the lights fade, I walk out to the front of the stage, turn my guitar up full and...

CHHKK "S.P on a Taxi from Bodelwyddan to Rhyl" CHHKK, blasts out of the speakers.

By the time the laughter had died down, I'd thrown away the radio pack, and was happy to trip up over cables from then on.

The incident always reminds me of another when I was in the orchestra at a production of "The sound of music". On the third night the theatre erupted with laughter, after a rather portly mother superior advised Maria on taking her vows of "Poverty, chastity and obesity".

So anytime I drop a clanger on stage now, I always feel a little bit like a fat nun.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:43, Reply)
My father the hero...
As if holidaying at Butlins wasn't bad enough, I remember my younger brother and I dragging our parents to the on-site "cabaret" bar for an evening's entertainment.

We were sitting quite close to the stage when one of the redcoats appeared to recruit schmucks for a Tarzan competition... As it was explained, this would involve various humiliating activities including the jungle call, a belly roll, scrambling under a net and wrestling imaginary tigers before rescuing the beautiful Jane (for the record, she must've been about 18 stone with peroxide hair and missing teeth) from a fate worse than death (weightwatchers, probably).

This could also come under the shame topic, as my brother and I proceeded to heckle the redcoat and loudly volunteer our petrified father - who is a painfully shy man - for this sordid task in the name of a cheap laugh. Even my mother looked worried as the redcoat practically dragged my dad off his chair away from his precious pint and onto the stage where I'm sure he endured the longest and most agonising 5 minutes of his life... Still, earned him a cheer at the end!

(Dad, I'm so, so sorry...)
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:42, Reply)
Year 9
It was decided we'd do Andorra - an interesting thing about the war...
I don't think much more could have gone wrong...
1) We sold 15 tickets for two nights. thats 8 people the first night and 7 the next. All friends and relations only there through guilt.
2) First night, one of my mates has a nose bleed just before she's about to go on - cue director rushing about acting like she's dying and someone else going on in her place with the script.
3) The one person that HAD to do their line for te scene to make sense didn't come on either time, so we had to ad lib the entire scene outside a pub...five minutes of "Lovely weather..." and a rant about how if you're in a pub you should order a proper drink not water.
4) Someone decided silk would make an excellent blindfold...except it got cut too small to be tyed round our heads, so we had to use it like hoods - but it slips...we spent the entire scene fighting with these things and pretending to be terrified while we were in hysterical laughter...

Oh - and one of the techies was up the on the tower fixing the lights and someone decided to turn the one he was working on on - cue a trip to hospital and a second degree burn on his lower jaw...
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:36, Reply)
Back in the old days at Beavers, we put on a nativity play. Much to my dismay and total fear I played a sheep and had to stand at the front dressed as mutton and sing. I didn't, I just stood there and cried.

And wet myself.

Another time watching a pantomime I barged about 10 kids out the way to get up on stage and speak to Santa about what I wanted for Christmas. I didn't wet myself! Bonus!
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:35, Reply)
when i was a wee lass
i was in some ballet show where i had to dress up as a rabbit with bunny ears etc. and then i pissed myself on stage. i dont know what happened, i was very small. so there i was, standing in a puddle of my own urine. embarrassing enough i'd have thought. but no, my dear mother was videoing the production. instead of switching the camera off, she zoomed in on me and you can hear her laughing on the tape! she still thinks its funny to get it out at christmas and other family occasions. ho ho.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:35, Reply)
loads, coz i'm still sort of doing it
earliest cock-up: 6 or 7yrs, a sugar plum fairy. I HATED girly things back then, so decided to deliberately sabotage my section by suddenly stopping mid-dance and creating a domino effect with the other little girls (and boy, poor sod).

next cock-up: 8 yrs, being cast as a valkerie. I was the smallest, skinniest little thing. The irony was not lost on the audiences, who laughed every time I was on.

then: 16yrs old, backstage. Watching slowly over two months as the popular pretty girl cast in the main lead began getting fatter. Quite how is beyond me, but she went size 8 to 16 in 8 weeks. My friend was playing her husband and a scene involved wheeling her out in a wheelbarrow. He said it was appropriate but didn't help - she weighed a ton. Also, that was the play in which someone's kid in the audience was heard to ask "mummy, what's a prostitute?". It was a bad choice of play.

These days, I work in event production. I can't possibly list the things that have happened to me or the stuff I've done/hidden from the clients. I will say these though:
1. If you barbeque a sound deck after it's been drenched, it will work. Before exploding, obviously.
2. Allowing a speaker to find the on/off switch on a mic is out of the question. Oh, how I do enjoy running up on stage and turning mics on.
3. Cans are sanity-protectors.
4. Celebrities - the ones who look attractive on tv are usually orange, wearing too much make-up and really quite old. The ones you think will be a pain in the arse usually are lovely and generally better looking.
5. Fire is perfectly acceptable, as long as no-one knows. As is flooding. Falling stuff is usually a problem.

Special mention - my brother's debut was playing a wall. no, really.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:25, Reply)
sooooo many of these
always because stupid people make stupid mistakes and bugger things up for me and the band - for example cue the three of us walking on stage in a school infront of 1500 kids and the microphones not comming on or the bloody backing tracks.
We were stood there like chumps after bursting through a screen and all that was on stage apart from us was a defunct old piano. Sooo Dave from the band runs over and digs through crap and starts playing this old piano and we sing a song thats not finished improvising the chords on an out of tune piano.
We thought we were sunk when the song had finished but after a what seemed like a life time the croud erupted in cheers and they loved us (god only knows why) and then the backing tracks and mics kicked in.

odd and scary but good
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:19, Reply)
Not on the stage as such...
...but up a lighting tower at a convention in Blackpool in 1992.

The heating was on the fritz so it was astoundingly hot at ground level, let alone on the tower, which was just under the ceiling. Of course, the reason for being up the tower was to manhandle a 2000W spotlight, which didn't add to the coolness. Couple this with the fact that the frame of the bastard thing was live, and you'd better not touch it and the scaffold tower at the same time. Finally, we were up there for about 4 hours straight. Hell.

Luckily, the FOH manager kept handing us pints of cold drinks. Usually, a single pint is enough to stimulate my spastic bladder, but this time the liquid sizzled straight out of my pores so I managed to stay aloft the whole time.

I volunteered again the next year, daft sod that I am.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:19, Reply)
The Footcracker
When I was 5, my kindergarten class put on a small version of The Nutcracker for Christmas. I got to be Clara.

I thought the boy who played the Nutcracker Prince was cute. I tried to flirt with him every time we were together. But this was a five-year-old's notion of flirting.

So, the big production comes around, parents are all crowded in watching proudly. In one scene we have to dance together. I intentionally stomp on his feet. Several times. The times when we have to lift our arms up and I twirl under, I bring his arm down as hard as I can.

Everyone laughs and I giggle to myself and the poor Nutcracker Prince hops around in pain.
So romantic. I still have the videotape.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:11, Reply)
This SHOULD be a good question for me as I used to work on the technical crew at my secondary school. It was great, we used to miss lessons and stuff to go and light people up and play music at them.

We had so many laughs but for most of them you would probably have to have been there. . . I'll relate back to this post when I can think of a good story.

I'm sure this will keep you all in suspense.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:10, Reply)
Far too many
I'll think of more over the week
the one that immediately springs to mind is that we were working on the London Mayor elections coverage and managed to convince the guy putting the results on the big screen that he had spelled 'Yes' wrong.
To give credit to him we had all been awake for 40+ hours and it was probably the 50th time he had typed 'Yes' that hour.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:10, Reply)
"I didn't learn the lines and it caused dental problems"
I was a member of a youth theatre group as a teenager.

I wasn't much of an actor - mainly it was a way of getting out of the house and meeting girls and being allowed to smoke.

We put on a production of Macbeth and I er... didn't learn my lines properly.

It was one of the most horrific experiences of my young life: being on stage and not knowing the bloody words.

People acted round me and I occasionally pipped in with made up rubbish like, "Very good sirrah."

Let's just say I wasn't very popular and I wasn't asked by the group to go back on stage, and they put me on lights for the next production.

As a coda. A few months later I visited the dentist with tooth-ache and he said, "Have you been having nightmares?" and I said yeah, "I've been dreaming about being on stage and not knowing what to do." He said, "You need to relax. You've been grinding your teeth in your sleep."
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:07, Reply)
Who will buy my sweet red roses?
Two blooms for a pen-ny....

That one line, repeated a few times was my one on-stage bit in our primary school production of 'Oliver!'. I was the rose selling girl, for the uninitiated or non-titlereaders.

Rehearsals, for 6 weeks, and I sang beautifully (no really, lovely voice before I started on the fags). First night I lost my voice, but gamely croaked out my lines to over 100 parents trying not to laugh.

One person actually burst out laughing, whilst taking the piss our of my forlorn 10 year old efforts. The leader of our local young Christian group, who came to us weekly to explain the joys of being nice to one another.

Needless to say I didn't put my full effort into the 'sign language' songs they made us sing after that. (I call it 'sign language' because I refuse to believe doing pumping arm motions like an olympic sprinter will convey to the aurally challenged that I mean 'athlete'. For that I have my sign saying 'Shit Band')
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 13:04, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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