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I’m Not an Adrenaline Junkie!

Posted on 2007.04.28 at 11:37
Current Mood: lazylazy
Current Music: Marble Halls - Enya
I got an unappreciated jolt of adrenaline during last night’s performance of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. Let me set the scene for you:

There is a point midway through the wedding reception where there is a wild chase around the room. One man grabs a bottle of vodka from another man and takes off running, with two groomsmen in hot pursuit. Their course is predetermined and several of us have the job of making sure the way is clear so they’re not running into chairs, tables and, more importantly, audience members. As caterer Vinnie Black last night, I was in charge of keeping the area near the bar clear. The chase is very quick so there’s just a key ten seconds or so when the way must be kept clear.

The chase was just beginning when a woman two feet from me suddenly leapt to her feet and began to dart directly into the path of the chasers, of whom she was completely unaware. I put my arm up to stop her and said, “Wait just a moment till they go by.” She tried most earnestly to push my arm away and squirm past, even as the first large actor was rushing by at a high rate of speed, missing us by inches. The woman continued to squirm past, yelling at me, “I have terrible migraine and I have to leave NOW!” I continued to hold her back for another 5 seconds or so, until the last actor had run by, lest she find herself in far worse pain than a migraine. She then dashed away. Now it was the boyfriend’s turn at me.

He got right up in my face. “What’s your f---- problem?” he yelled at me. “You get the hell away from here! Who the f--- do you think you are? You need to BACK OFF!” he continued.

I simply said, “I just saved her from being injured. Do you understand me?” Apparently, he did not.

“You do NOT touch her, G--d-----!” he went on. I repeated my statement that I had just saved her from being injured and added that he ought to thank me for looking out for her safety. His response was a terse, shouted, “F--- you!” plus a reiterated, “You need to back off!”

At that point, I got into HIS face and said, sarcastically, “You’re welcome!” then turned and walked away.

As I learned after the show, he then stormed into the lobby and met up with our business manager, toward whom he reportedly continued his string of obscenities. I was also told that the other people at the table, who apparently knew the guy, apologized to our business manager for his actions. I guess we’ll see if there’s any additional fallout directed my way when I get to the show tonight.

But back to the moment last night. The unfortunate thing about such a confrontation, for me anyway, is that it tends to inject me with a sudden shot of adrenaline, which wouldn’t be such a problem except that less than a minute after the incident occurred, I had to grab a microphone and do Vinnie’s longest monologue of the evening. I have to say it was probably the most difficult monologue I’ve ever performed. My brain was jumping all around, my vital signs were probably all pegged, and I had to stand there telling corny jokes, making announcements, and bantering with Tony, Tina, and my wife Loretta. And looking like I was having a blast doing it. When the monologue was over, my legs began to tremble a bit and I had to go to a corner and sit down for a moment while other show events transpired.

I suppose I don’t really know Ms. Migraine or Mr. Tough Guy well enough to conduct a detailed analysis of their psyches. And I’m well aware that a bad migraine can be a serious and debilitating thing. Having said that, I’m still left with the clear impression that these two deserve one another, and perhaps she loves him more than ever today now that he has defended her honor so nobly.


actuary67 at 2007-04-29 00:00 (UTC) (Link)
I admire you for being able to focus enough to deliver the monologue !

Do suprises like this happen often ? With audience members roaming around, I wouldn't be surprised if you've experienced quite a few distractions during your tenure!
charlesofcamden at 2007-04-29 05:03 (UTC) (Link)
At this point, I've done well over 1,000 performances of this show, and I've seen all sorts of crazy shit. One night, we even had two of our actors go after each other. One of them just kind of snapped, picked up the guy who was pissing him off, threw him onto the middle of a patron table, jumped on top of him, and started beating him. We quickly broke the two of them up, though we had to give away a bunch of free drinks to that table, since the altercation had scattered the table's contents all about. The audience, thankfully, thought it was part of the show! There was another night when two entire tables of people began brawling with one another. We had to get security up there to break up that one. It had been essentially caused by one particular woman who had been trying to insult and piss off everyone and cause an incident all night, and she finally succeeded.
But such incidents are really very much the exception. There is a certain amount of audience particpation that we very much want to elicit. I always tell friends who are coming to see the show that the more they participate, the more fun they'll have. But we prefer to control the parameters of how and when that participation takes place!
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