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Things to Think About #4: Theater

Because audiences are often small, because no tickets are sold, because sometimes the stage is just the part of the conference room nearest the screen, because standing ovations are few and far between, it can be easy to forget that what you do is theater.

Part of what makes theater exciting is never knowing exactly what’s going to happen during any given performance. Sometime theater can be magic, sometimes not so much

Audience members at a West End play starring Keira Knightley were left baffled when an onstage mishap interrupted a performance.

Stagehands at the Comedy Theatre had to pull down the safety curtain after a chair was crushed as a pillar descended for a new scene in The Children’s Hour on Monday.

. . . .

“Ten or 15 minutes later there was still no announcement but then the curtain went up, there was a different chair and the column had been put back.”

. . . .

A spokeswoman for the play said the chair had been moved slightly off its marked position as cast members exited.

She said: “The nature of live theatre means that occasionally unexpected things happen on stage and need to be sorted as quickly as possible to ensure the smooth running of a show.”

Words to live by.

Getting knocked slightly off your mark (figuratively as well as literally) might get you crushed. Be prepared to get sorted as quickly as possible.

I guess we’re all really lucky that Keira wasn’t sitting in the chair at the time.

Bookmarked: Jackman – Can You Hear Us Now? (TMZ.com)

Jackman – Can You Hear Us Now? (TMZ.com) – “Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were trying to perform their play “A Steady Rain” Wednesday night in NYC — but some nitwit forgot to turn off his mobile phone. Jackman set the dude straight — staying in character all the while. Minutes later, the ring tone echoed through the theater again and Craig’s response was Tony-worthy. Neither actor seemed shaken or stirred.”

[Great example of keeping focused. It’s much harder to stay on track like that in smaller venues, say a conference room.]

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (06/21/09)

FAILBlog: Theater Fail

Theme Park Rangers: Celebrate a Dream Come True nearly washed away

I have never seen a parade disintegrate before my eyes, but that’s what happened in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Thursday when I watched the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade nearly wash away. … The princess float got stuck halfway down Main Street. I don’t know if that was because the street was so flooded or just an unfortunate coincidence, but by the time I squished down there, it was stopped dejectedly, Goofy and Donald’s finale float trapped behind it — and the rest of the parade was no longer in sight, having high-tailed it past the castle and into Frontierland. [Nicely detailed story. Includes photos.]

Webinar Wire — Webinar Public Chat: Be Careful What You Ask For

I just finished attending a webinar that at least by certain measures was an unmitigated disaster.

Backstage at BackstageJobs.com — A final thing about the Tonys and Bret Michaels

In a one-time performance with minimal rehearsal, any scene changes should be watched carefully for anyone out of place, or any scenery endangering anyone.  Awards shows and one-time events never go exactly as planned, which is why they are always more difficult than a show done night after night.  Someone should have been watching, and someone should have stopped the piece.

controlbooth.com — What to do when waiting for a show to start

I check cues, stay on headset to make sure nothing comes up preshow backstage electrics-wise, make sure that no one tries to use the internet on the show control computer that runs sound and sometimes MIDI (this has come so close to having very bad consequences before), and surfing the internet on my laptop which is next to the console.

Dave Paradi’s PowerPoint Blog — PowerPoint Tip: Reformatting a presentation

What should be easy turns into a nightmare with content moving all over the place and hours spent reformatting each slide by hand.