Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A VERY BELATED HAPPY NEW YEAR! -- An Un-YOO-usual Night at the Theatre

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Now that it's half over...

Many apologies for not keeping this blog up-to-date! It would be a daunting task to document everything that has happened since I last wrote in December, and I'm not very good at writing a short, concise "Reader's Digest" version. But I'll do the best I can!

J. and I took possession of our "new" 1976 Airstream travel trailer in February, and we truly enjoy being back in the RV lifestyle after living in gloomy, cold corporate apartments for nine months. I'll try to post a picture of our 23-ft.-long silver baby in a future entry when I can figure out how to do that.

Phantom is in the middle of a four-week run here in St. Louis. We're staying at an RV park right downtown; the only big city in America that we know of that has an RV park in such a central location. (They're usually way out in the 'burbs.) We're only a few blocks from the Fox theatre where the show is playing. My commute is all of seven minutes, which is great.

It's VERY hot and humid here right now; temps are expected to exceed 95 today (with high moisture, being near three big rivers: the Mississippi, Missouri and Merrimac). J. and I are pretty much staying inside our little air-conditioned trailer for the rest of the day.

Last night, something happened at the show which has NEVER happened before.

The marksman, who carries a gun into the pit during Act II accidentally pulled the trigger about thirty seconds early. Or, perhaps there was something wrong with the mixture of powder; sometimes the pyro guys get excited.

No-one -- least of all the conductor, standing right next to him -- was prepared for the unusually LOUD explosion which usually takes place after a series of lines exchanged between the marksman and the actors onstage.

The explosion occured directly next to the conductor's head and stunned him to the point where he sank to his knees on the podium, moaning. The doltish actor didn't know what to do; clearly he was more worried about dropping his lines than anything else. A few seconds of shocked silence followed, then the marksman finally got off the podium while the actors fumbled around for their dialogue, which they eventually locked back onto.

Meanwhile, our conductor stumbled off the podium and croaked out to one of our keyboard players, who's also the assistant conductor to replace him on the podium. None of us knew if the regular conductor was seriously hurt or not.

He sat with his head in his hands for only a few moments, then indicated to the assistant that he was ready to resume conducting, and got back onto the podium.

He seemed okay after that, but everyone in the pit was obviously concerned. After the final chord in the exit music, people asked him how he was, and he said that he was all right.

Whew! Live theatre sure can have its "Special Moments"!

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