Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Deadliest Penguin

Now, getting back to the traumatic... As I said, the first two weeks of rehearsal were smoother than any show I've been involved in. More than a week 'til opening, and everyone had found their characters and were pretty much off book. Then...


The Second Act of The Deadly Penguins was going to be pretty action-packed... a brutal, knock down, drag out fight between Sister Virginia and a Boss Penguin, and a big dance number featuring a chorus line of zombie nuns.

Then, during rehearsal for the big fight scene... Erika took a bad twist off the stairs. Trooper that she is, we went on rehearsing for an hour.


That night, Erika got the bad news... breakage. But the next day, she was back... on crutches, but ready to roll. Of course, that meant some pages had to be tossed (I sorta liked the idea of an ass-kickin' ninja nun on crutches, but reality trumps that kind of thing), and rewrites to bridge the gaps. And reblocking, of course.
Also dropped were the buckets of blood. I miss 'em, but I've seen someone go ass-over-teakettle while just taking a bow in stage blood. I already broke Erika's foot, wasn't gonna up the ante.

This was with four days left before opening night.

But that's what theatre is good for, and we were good for the challenge. And honestly, the second act is a lot stronger for the incident... the dance number was out of nowhere (although admittedly was part of the joke), but didn't add anything. It also led to a better punchline... or two.

So it goes.

Then the day of opening night, Don went under the knife for an emergency operation... Mark McGinnis stepped in with a script and we rolled with a freebie preview. And the next night Don was back on stage in full form. Jeebus.

Fortunately, the glue that hold things together offstage was Assistant Director Cheryl Battles (below, l.). As my left eye started twitching in the hours before opening, things started to get done. Props began to appear where none had been before. I doubt it was the Blue Room poltergoost that took care of it, so I'm sure it was Cheryl and Stage Manager Heather Gomes.

Oh... and that's Sabrina Schloss next to Cheryl, in Little Match Girl gear. No one seems to get the joke (Little Mermaid aside, doesn't anyone remember Hans Christian Anderson anymore?), but it sets up Sabrina's next appearance in the show, set to sing, "The Sun'll come up, Samara". So there's that.

As the Deadliest Penguin says, "Keep watching this, guys... keep watching this, guys!"

Stay tuned, folks... we're about to roll into the feature programming.

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