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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.

Last Valentines
I do silly things in the name of charity occasionally. One such thing was agreeing to strip along with all my flatmates in the local student union bar.

We spent the initial part of the evening getting really, really pissed. If you don't care you're doing it then its fine, doubly so if you don't remember it in the morning. To get to the point here are some observations should anyone want to attempt the same.

* Wear underwear, particularly if you don't want to do a full-monty. I forgot, didn't and subsequently didn't take my trousers off (I'm not THAT supportive of charity!).

* Don't bung items of clothing into the audience! I lost a cumberbund to some fat-troll who was later lauding it in the toilets according to a lady-friend. *shudder*

* If you are being sold for charity then being too pissed to stand, let alone manage some sexy dancing is never good. One of my flatmates got the right idea and stripped in under 30 seconds and just leant back on the DJ booth.

I was sold... for three pounds thirty... to a guy. :(
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 16:50, Reply)
I've really pissed off a DJ by sneaking behind his controls and turning the volume up and down...

Ooooh and some cunt pinched my nipple during a beavers(
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 16:49, Reply)
The only time I've been cast -
I was a king in the nativity. And I bloodied another King's nose right in front of all the parents in the middle 'Oh little town of Bethlehem...'

He DID jostle me.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 16:36, Reply)
Various disasters
I have been involved in many a school production, and my music teachers were unusually militant. When I was 8, our school choir performed a lunchtime concert for all the mums and dads; during which one girl fainted, one ran out crying, and my close friend threw up in full view of the audience. To make matters worse, it was a horrible pinky-red colour due to whatever she had been eating for lunch. Strangely, we carried on singing as if nothing had happened. We were a cold, unfeeling lot!

Fast forward 8 or so years, and a few of us from my catholic school had been chosen to take part in a parish production of a musical about the story of Jesus (not the Andrew Lloyd Webber one, one far more boring). The crucifixion scene on one night was very unusual indeed. As the actor playing JC made his way onto the stage with the cross, his cloth got caught and fell off and the audience were treated to the sight of Jesus being crucified in his Y-fronts! My friends on stage playing mourners were laughing so hard, they had to face away from the audience. It must've looked like they were really getting into it! Oh dear...
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 16:24, Reply)
I have more of these than should be real
buut seeing as I'm just about to go and get drunk I'll start with a quick one.

Doing lighting for a pantomime at a local theatre. A young lady I knew was in the show and she used to come up to the lighting box. I fancied the tits off her, (ý was 15 at the time maybe), she used to 'touch' me on the knee. One day she got a little bit too near my special place and I pressed the wrong button. The stage blacked out completely.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 16:23, Reply)
At the age of 10, I played the Son of MacDuff
in The Scottish Play. This was 4 years before I was to star as Macbeth at the Globe. But that' snot important right now.

When I came off stage from my mesmerising performance as Son of MacDuff, I was told that I was very very good. But that I shouldnt really go on with my watch on, and eating sweets. Fackin twats!

Also, mildly related, during my GCSE drama course, I was taught for a while by the man who is now the priest in eastenders, and was in some ITV drama the other week about a scary girl who was trying to kill some woman or other. That is all.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 16:22, Reply)
He's a sinner, candy coated...
As a pre and teen-ager at boarding school I suffered through various mandatory stage productions until I realised I could take control and produce (also write, direct, construct props, etc.) the things myself. Many happy memories, with the RoboCop costume (working gun leg) being a particular highlight.

useful_idiot's mention of Bugsy reminded me of the time when our school chose that as the annual full-school xmas production. It was memorable for a few good reasons.

1. Cast. The actors playing the principal roles (Fat Sam and Dandy Dan especially) resembled the kids from the film, could really act and also hold a tune.

2. Splurge guns. Designed and built by yours truly.

To put on a production of Bugsy, you had to buy the script in book form, which featured the collected wisdom and experience (or lack of) of those responsible for staging previous amateur productions. Imagine my reaction on reading that a fair few schools had such a complete lack of technical talent amongst staff that they opted to replace splurge guns with cream pies or ping-pong ball launchers. The challenge was on.

The hero gun was a modular (broke apart as per the film prop, into carrying case) pump-action precision shaving-foam-shooting work of art. Background props were hollow shells over cans of 'ultra blizzard'*. Fat Sam's exploding monstrosity was built by a friend of similar talent - Dan's foam cannon shot shaving foam** in all directions. For final scene on the last night (all-out foam war) he increased the capacity of the firing chambers*** to about 5 litres. Not a good thing. The chaos derived from 30+ cast with guns and pies was increased by liberal quantities of foam sprayed on from backstage by certain helpful crew members. I recall most of the front rows of audience getting plastered with the stuff. Great fun.

That was fifteen years ago. Still have the hero splurge gun. It still works. :)

*non-slippy water-based foam.
**very slippy. Important, that.
***multiple 2-litre soda bottles.

[mod edit: We want a web page with instructions for this. For, erm, well, no reason...]
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 16:05, Reply)
hmmm... Senor Robowasp has provided me with a couple.
Our last gig, MONSTERFEST. I got drunk, covered everything with blue paint, couldn't play my bass in time for a bit, spent most of the gig charging around bellowing, nearly blew up the PA with "Save the Children, for later" (more bellowing). The guys face lit up red as all the warning lights went on.
Our guitarist insisting on us playing a song that nobody else new, and trying to sing, which was a bad idea. Our manager had gone to prison for attempted murder and then killed himself. All this while our drummer was only just managing to play because he'd broken his ribs by calling me a Nazi and hitting me in the face. Cunt.
Oh, and there was the time that our OTHER guitarist got the song that he'd written completely wrong and claimed it was everyone elses fault.
At our first gig our drummer just got drunk and stood in the middle of the pub with his balls out, we'd had to borrow another drummer because ours had broken his kneecap by falling off his bike.
Our drummer was a spacker.
Oh, Senor Robowasp how I miss thee.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:51, Reply)
Picture, if you will...
The image of a short, stocky 3-year-old girl with unfeasably short hair, in a green nylon tutu.

On the end of the second row, gamely a-twirling and a-jumping around, as we tell the Christmas story via the medium of dance.

Except I didn't want to be at the back on the end of the row. I wanted to be in the middle, in the spotlight, visible to all my adoring fans.

So I took the only viable option; during a particularly energetic twirling number, I shoved the girl next to me off the stage, into the wings. And took her place, slightly closer in to the centre of the stage, to take my bow.

When reprimanded for this unseemly behaviour by my mother after the show, being shown the crying little girl surrounded by her family (all shooting me looks of pure hatred), I said "well, she deserved it. Silly little girl".

I uphold that sentiment, to this very day. Silly little twunt.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:50, Reply)
Big Al Fart
I Was with the solent theatre compnay in the late 80's and we did a variety show at the Kings Theatre Portsmouth. We did a few numbers from the show Al Capone Musical "Big Al" soon as the curtain went up we were supposed to break in to song, looking hard as fcuk in our 30's gangster suits. Just as the curtain rose to a packed house, Al Capone did the biggest fart imagineable, and we all attempted to sing the song "Chicago Citty Illinois" through stupid childish giggles.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:44, Reply)
Under Milk Wood
I'm happy to stand on a stage and sing and play instruments, but I'm no actor. With stage production my role has always been either down in the orchestra pit (I used to do a lot of conducting) or doing sound/sound effects.

In my sixth form year I did sound effects for a production of Under Milk Wood, and because some of the effects needed to overlap, I'd created a tape on a 4-track recorder, using different channels for different sounds. My copy of the play was annotated with which sound went where, and what the tape counter should read at that point. The 4-track was hooked up to the PA system, and I was sat up in the organ loft with it to cue up the effects when required. Fine.

Or it would have been, had I not confused the slider for track 2 with the slider for track 3. If you don't know the play, there's a nice wistful few minutes in which Captain Cat is describing the start of the morning in Llareggub. When we got to the bit after he greets Polly Garter there's a stage direction for a cock crow:


That's Polly Garter. [ Softly ] Hullo, Polly, my love. [...]

[ A cock crows ]


Too late, cock, too late.

The sound of the cock crowing, on first night, was, unfortunately, absent... in its place were several seconds' silence, me swearing audibly, and a loud blast of pre-recorded organ music. And an audience in hysterics. To this day I'm still proud of that.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:40, Reply)
My auntie fell asleep during a concert once.
It wouldn't have been so bad, except she was in the orchestra.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:39, Reply)
My band performed at some silly school pop competition recently. We got to the final, but had to pull out as we couldn't reperform our song, as some of our band had gone back to college. Anyway, it was great fun to scare most of the school by playing the song I wrote, in fact, you can hear it here... www.shrykes.com/crap/vfactor.wma
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:38, Reply)
ahh, pissflaps
In reply to novander I played the Arch Angel Gabrielle in my nativity play. He no mortal, he an ARCH angel. And he got to shag Mary. Or something like that. Bit hazy on the details, it was all a very long time ago.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:36, Reply)
Simple (and not very safe) game I used to play when I was tech-ing at school!

Every now and again, there would be someone on stage who wasn't shy of saying something "diva-esque" like "my spotlight isn't focused correctly" or wouldn't stand on their marker on stage and then loudly complain that "the lighting is shit" because they cant stand on a little gaffer tape 'X' or 'T' on stage!

Anyway, usually in rehearsals, though never on preformance, honest, the tech team had a game we would play. It involved putting said "diva" in a full glare of a spot for about 10 seconds (we would blame a mis-cue'd lighting problem) followed by a complete blackout just as they were about to walk off stage / climb some scenery / jump off somthing / run around!

Cue said actor either walking into somthing or someone, or just stopping whilst trying to work out why they couldn't see a thing!

It was funny at the time!
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:35, Reply)
My only appearances
on the stage would be my junior school plays. In my last year there, we did another musical nativity play. I'm sure most of you were in crappy nativity plays at some point. Some of you probably even played Joseph or some other 'major' character. Well, to that I say: FUCK YOU AND YOUR OH-SO-MORTAL ROLES! I WAS GOD! Perhaps it went to my head a little.

the year before we did the tale of Sweeney Todd. I was jealous of my friend steve, 'cause he got his throat cut while I was stuck in the chorus, pretending to play marbles.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:29, Reply)
another one for the boys
just did a fashion show thingmajiggy. It was for hair, but all the models were in high-fashion outfits. I was stage managing (=shouting a lot at prima donnas), and on cans (that would be comms headsets for the uninitiated). Most of the day it's been leggy american models, generally making me feel short, fat and an inadequate example of the lady sex (which I'm not at all, it's just easy to feel that way around mod-ells). The way the stage was set up, the god-box (or production booth as it's less egotistically known) was 90 degrees to the stage/catwalk, meaning sound, lighting and producer could just about see me and anyone next to me thorough the one entrance to the stage with a wall in front, to hide us and allow stage left and right.

So I'm standing there, waiting for the next bunch of models to rock up. One passes me to stand on a step, and I can't help letting out a quiet "f**king hell". The girl who has just walked past me is wearing NOTHING but a gold mesh tunic, and has HUGE breasts. Even I'm trying not to stare, until I get asked "what's wrong?" over cans. "Oh, nothing. You'll see". Once she gets to the step, cans go mental - the lighting guy shouts "good christ!", sound guy starts giggling, the producer asks "who has my camera?". Unfortunately, the camera and VT crew, both in the wrong wing or filming the intro from the audience, have no idea what this noise is about. One of them asks our sound guys what's happened. Sound guy: "there aren't words". Camera: "in one word then". Sound "Magnificent".

Please bear in mind here that I'm the only one who can hear this by the models, and the client standing next to me is beginning to wonder why I seem to be laughing at a naked girl.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:21, Reply)
Maybe the audience thought you had been 'tending' to your flock? (ahem)
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:18, Reply)
Haven't done that in a while.
My own pissings about on stage aren't really notable, aside from the one time I managed to forget to carry any props out for the next scene.

"Shit, someone's stolen my furniture!" covered that.

On the same night as that, however, a couple of other people were putting on a show of "Teachers."

Now, they were shit. But the show itself was fucking great. Why?

Because part of the backdrop, where the 'actors' were getting changed, was a white sheet. With a light behind it.

As two of them got changed, one was on stage soloing some dialogue. Behind him, there was two full minutes of one of his friends standing straight upright, with his belt undone.

Silhouetted. His belt stuck out quite far forwards. Matters weren't helped when the other friend bent over facing away from him to pick something up.

The poor sod on stage couldn't understand why the audience were wetting themselves laughing.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:15, Reply)
About 3 years...
...ago one of the members of the theatre group, that I was a member of, wrote a rather good play which was a sort of Monty Python meets Carry-On with added music.

Anyway, it was the final night of the 3rd tour...we were in Trowbridge (*shudders*) and due to a slight problem with the advertising we had attracted a grand total of 8 people.

I was bored and just wanted to wrap and get to the pub...it occured to me that there was absolutely fuck all the director could do to me so at an opportune moment I bounced across the rear of the stage singing the badger/mushroom/snake song as loud as I could whilst imitating the badgers' dancey action.

The audience thought it was part of the show...the rest of the company adlibbed then carried on and the incident was never mentioned again.

That may have been the first live performance of weebl's work :)
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:14, Reply)
on my knees
It was in a talent quest at high school, i was playing air-guitar, miming to Europe's "the final countdown" while a group of girls danced around on stage, in a sort of anti-war dance-music fest..


at one point i was meant to run across the
stage and slide on my knees to the front of the stage, pulling my best guitar-solo face.

I managed to slide right across the stage and off the end into the terrified front row of year 7's


Maybe this should have gone in last weeks question, but everyone who saw it said it looked pretty cool.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:09, Reply)
I was 7 or so, it was the school nativity play, and I was a shepherd. Myself and the other two shepherds are waiting backstage to go on and sing a song. I'm wearing the costume my mother has spent hours crafting. Then I suddenly decide I need a pee, so I go to the bathroom. When I return, the shepherds are onstage singing, so I run up there and join in for the last 2 bars of the song. I had no idea how odd it must have looked when a third shepherd suddenly bounded onto the stage with his smock tucked up into his belt and his flies undone.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 15:00, Reply)
Oh God, nasty flashback.
Year 6, the theme of the play is the 60s and 70s. Got on stage to sing 'Little boxes on the hillside'. Forgot the song, forgot the dance, forgot to collect the props in the first place. In fact, just stood behind a cardboard box painted yellow, while my mate (who's standing next to me) laughs.

Then sat in full visibility (and earshot) of the audience singing made up words to all the other songs, laughing at all the other peoples performances hysterically and hitting the person next to me.

Finished the night off with a Mexican wave. Me being the only Mexican.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:46, Reply)
Same band as before, 2 posts down)
We were doing a gig in Bristol at a large venue, the name escapes me for now, but I had been drinking lots of beer before the gig and half way through the set I found myself busting for a slash. I nipped off the side of the stage and could not find a loo or anything come to that as it was pitch black. Eventually I found a push bar door, and opened it. I presumed it would lead to a back alley where I could take a piss, but it was just, what seemed an empty room. I was now desperate so I flicked out the snake and took a long long piss. I eventually found my way back to the stage some 10 mins later and continued playing. A few puzzled looks from the other guys in the band, but carried on regardless. At the end of the gig, I discovered that I had pissed in the power room, and had managed to fuse the lights. Not just in the room but the whole auditorium, stage et al. They had managed to fix the problem, and they had all gone back on just before I had returned, so I was totally oblivious to this. Cor, you should have heard the kerfuffle I caused afted we got off. I just kept quiet and sympathised with the stage crew who were cursing the 'dirty bastard' that had pissed in the power room.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:46, Reply)
I still remember all my lines
Junior year in high school (yikes! almost 20 years ago already!). "The Crucible." I had more stage time than the main character, I played Hopkins, the bailiff in the courtroom. Remember him? C'mon, you've got to remember him!

My entire script: "The deputy governor has arrived, sir."

Thank you! Thank you! Enjoy the buffet! Here all week!
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:42, Reply)
I've been playing in bands for around 35 years
One of my first bands was a Bristol based rock outfit called Axe. We were supporting Staus Quo and Chicken Shack at the Weston Super-Mare back in the early 70's. The fashion in those days were loon pants. Brightly coloured cotton flared jeans with 2 or 3 big buttons for the fly. We were half way though our set when I was passed a piece of paper from a girl which read, "Your cock is hanging out". I smiled and continued playing only to discover she was right. Oh dear.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:38, Reply)
If you want blood . . . .
One of our English classrooms at school had it's own stage and in 5th year we had to make our own play. I can't remember the story-line of the play my friends and I wrote, but I do remember a bit where we had Action Men parachuting, with torches waving as searchlights (to Iron Maiden's Where Eagles Dare), a musical number sang to the tune of the 1812 overture, but mainly I remember the end where everyone died horribly. We placed big bags of tomato puree under our costumes to burst on cue, covering the audience and classroom in sweet red gore.
Can't remember if we got a good mark or not either.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:36, Reply)
I was playing Levi in our primary schools' production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour dreamcoat (we got the real coat from the west end show!). Our 'stage' was the back of our school hall, which had stairs leading down from class rooms on both sides, which met in the middle. The first 4 brothers (I was 3rd, according to the song) had to leap from behind the draped bannister.

Anyway - opening night. I jumped off stage right on cue, shouting 'my' name as I was supposed to. Just as I finished, the next brother (who was actually this little-on-the-large-side girl from my year) jumped from the other side of the stairs - right onto my foot.

Managed to keep on going, my thespian integrity remained intact. I was limping a little though.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:35, Reply)
Might as well repost my reply to last week's qotw

Feel I should also regale you with a tale of drama class in year 9. Now, no-one else in the class was particularly interested in it, s they spent the whole time mucking about, much to my chagrin (much like music and art classes, come to think of it). A few weeks before Christmas, we were given the task of performing our own version of a pantomime, and put into groups of about six. Sods law dictated I got put into a group with four of the worst blokes in the class, but thankfully also with my mate Julie. We decided on Cinderella, with Julie playing the lead, reworking the story so that she was picked on because she was Scottish (the best bit of typecasting ever).

I spent the next week feverishly writing and re-writing the script, and printed out copies for each character, with their lines and cues highlighted in different colours. I cast myself as one of the ugly sisters, which again was somewhat inspired on account of my being more than a little overweight at the time and not exactly the most sought after girl in school - it also gave me the opportunity to camp it up to the extreme, and I must confess I did give myself some of the best lines. I tried to make the rest of the script as easy as possible for the others to learn. That's all they had to do. Learn the script. I provided props, costumes, did their make-up and such (the other ugly sister looked very nice in his bright red lipstick and eyeliner beauty spot)

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, only Julie learnt her lines, and the rest of them stood there while I whispered cues at them. We just about managed to hold it together until this one scene where myself and the other ugly sister were sitting there bitching about Cinders, while filing our nails and so on. I was on stage alone. I gestured to the other ugly sister in the wings, who stood there and stared gormlessly at me. I ad-libbed the whole thing by myself, playing it for all the laughs I could get, and held the thing together as best I could.

I could feel my stomach churning as the teacher scribbled in her mark book and questioned us. "Who wrote the script?", "I did, miss". "Whose idea was the bit about...", "Mine, miss". She sat there in silence for what seemed like an eternity while she decided our grades. "I really hope you're taking drama at GCSE next year". I got an A. I was dead chuffed.

Of course, I still never got into the college productions on account of my not being able to carry a tune in a wheelbarrow. After that I got the confidence up to go and audition for Tallulah in Bugsy Malone, and was so bad they wouldn't even put me in the chorus.

Bloody hell, that was long. Sorry!
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:35, Reply)
White Blocks
I act quite a lot at college. We have a small theatre where the set often comprises of just White Blocks (TM).

White blocks are surprisingly difficult to see in a blackout let me tell you. I had just finished a scene in a particularly dire play, the final one in fact. Move to leave the stage.

Steady steady I walk. I'm sure there is a white block around here, must avoid---

Ouch. My right knee hurts.

But no fear, I can be a Smooth and Professional Actor and just lift my left leg over the whole block. No one will be any the wiser, thought I.

Sadly the block had other ideas and seemed somehow to grow an extra few inches. Left leg clips block. I go flying to the ground, shouting 'Fuck' at the top of my voice to the silent auditorium.

Still, got the only laugh of the night. So not all bad then.
(, Fri 2 Dec 2005, 14:32, Reply)

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