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Lights Out Performance

Posted on 2007.06.19 at 23:33
Current Mood: lazylazy
Current Music: In the Dark - Nina Simone
Saturday’s performance of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding was supposed to begin at 7:00 p.m., with the pre-show beginning at 6:30. All was going well until about 5:30, when our lights suddenly went out. A look out our back door into the parking structure showed that those lights were out as well. A bit of quick reconnaissance told us that electricity appeared to be out for the entire Piper’s Alley complex, which includes a movie theater, Second City, and various other businesses. Well, there was one exception – the Starbucks on the main floor still had power, which our costumer attributed to their pact with Satan. Since she works for Starbucks when she isn’t at the show, I will take her word for it.

Fortunately for us, there are some emergency lights here and there in the facility that automatically kick in when the power goes out. So we could see our way around, but there was no way we could have given a performance under those conditions, since we would have been missing a few critical elements, including microphones, power for the DJ’s equipment, and – oh yeah – food!

We busied ourselves doing such prep as we could, all the while hoping that power would be restored. Well, most of us anyway. A few cast members immediately began to hope and plan for what they might do with a suddenly open Saturday night if we were canceled.

At about 6:30, an hour after the initial blackout, we still had no power. It was at about that time that a security guard showed up to speak with Janice, our Operations Manager. I’m told that the gist of his message was this – that we were free to wait as long as we wished for power to be restored, and we were free to cajole our audience to wait with us, BUT if we kept them there until it was dark out, we would then inherit the liability for any of them being injured from falling in the darkness. Fortunately for us, we’re in mid-June when the days are near their longest, but if power didn’t come back, we were still going to have to think about ushering people out if it got to be around 8:00 or so.

All of this theoretical talk was rendered academic at about 7:20, when the lights suddenly came back on. Most of the audience had stuck it out with us and the show began about 45 minutes later than scheduled.

* * *

I did make one strategic change to the show that night. I was playing Father Mark. Normally, the chapel service begins with Father Mark spreading out his arms and intoning, “O Heavenly Father, we are gathered here today…” But on Saturday, I began it like this: “We will begin tonight with a reading from the book of Genesis, chapter one, verse three, ‘And God Said, Let There Be Light. O Heavenly Father…’”

I did not ask for permission to do this. The only thing that asking for permission would have accomplished is that someone would have had the opportunity to stop me. But since nobody told me I couldn’t say this, I felt it within my right to do so!


(Anonymous) at 2007-06-26 22:25 (UTC) (Link)

Light out!

I remember when this happened a couple years ago about the same time. However, we were going on tour the next morning. The show started an hour late, and some of us had to be back at the theatre by 7AM to go to Oregon. That line was brilliant then and still is today.
charlesofcamden at 2007-06-26 23:33 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Light out!

Thank you! Little did I imagine that I might ever need to use that line a second time. Frankly, it would be fine by me if I never needed to use it again!
So now I'm curious -- who are you? My blog service doesn't record email addresses. I'd like to know!
(Anonymous) at 2007-06-28 07:45 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Light out!

Hey there, this is Heather W. I'm not the above anonymous poster, but I was SM-ing that night the lights went out the last time. I distinctly recall, because I was missing a second call-back for a show I wanted to do so that I could be at TnT SM-ing. What a nightmare!
charlesofcamden at 2007-06-28 22:46 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Light out!

That's right! You were there that night! That one was actually worse than the one we just had because it wasn't all that hot out this time. But I remember it was a real scorcher two years ago, and we were starting to feel it in the Coliseum. I also remember that Marisa felt extremely fortunate because she had JUST stepped off the elevator in the parking structure when the power went out. Whee!
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