On my list of the top ten ways to get yourself fired as an actor, there are some things that you would expect. Showing up to work drunk or high is a good way to get the axe. Telling another actor what to do will get you the sack pretty darn quick. But the only time I’ve come close to getting fired at intermission was the time I almost killed an audience member.
I wasn’t trying to maim her, it just sort of happened. I work at a dinner theatre, and sometimes the servers accidentally leave things on the stage. One day I was doing a show where during the opening number I had to pull a giant set piece that weighed more than me out to the tiny little side stage. This was a death defying maneuver at the best of times. The set piece was almost as wide as the side stage, so fitting myself on there with the giant-actor-eater was rough. And I was singing in a dress and heels at the time.
One day, I was hauling the set piece while singing about spending a rich people weekend in the country, when I saw something dark on the floor of the side stage. I thought it was a puddle, so when I got there I stepped very carefully, making sure not to slip. But the whole puddle spun wildly out from under my foot and soared into the audience. It was a tray! A tray that turned into a Frisbee of death and impending unemployment as it pegged an audience member right in the face!
I saw the tray hit the poor woman right in the face, but what was I supposed to do? I only had four counts to make it to center stage! I ran back to my spot and finished the number. As soon as I got backstage, I went to find the Stage Manager.
“I think I’m getting fired at intermission. There was a tray, and I might have killed a patron,” was all I had time for before I had to run to my dressing room to change.
Luckily, the Stage Manager blamed the servers for leaving the tray on the stage and not me for kicking it at the patron. Though, I sincerely doubt if the poor tray casualty ever returned to the theatre.