What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

It’s Curtains for You! April 25, 2016

Hello everyone! It’s Chris here again. I am happy to get to introduce a new segment on lifebeyondexaggeration. Being in theatre, Megan and I hear about and experience a lot of great/terrible/hilarious happenings onstage and off. So Megan has decided it’s time to keep a record of the raucous mischief the theatre gods reap. And we’ll kick it off with “It’s Curtains for You!”

Megan and I are currently doing a production of Funny Girl in Florida. It’s great! The cast is lovely, our Fanny Brice is excellent, and we’re getting to live in Florida! Always a good time.

Despite the occasional bird or two dropping down on the stage, it’s been a fairly smooth run. That is until the day the curtain decided not to open.

You see, there’s this number in the show called “Rat-tat.” It’s a tap dance number full of comedy and Americana. A real crowd-pleaser! My character, Eddy Ryan, begins the number as a rehearsal. I tap dance and sing center stage with two lovely ladies behind me. They help me put on my costume, give me my wooden rifle (for some sensible twirling), and then leave the stage. I finish my solo part of the song and then the curtains open to reveal the ensemble… usually.

On this day, I was dressed onstage, given my rifle, finished my song, did the first bit of group choreography for the number, did a fancy little turn, and noticed that the curtain hadn’t opened on time.

I was a little startled, but I had had this happen to me in a show before. So I danced the next few counts, with the ensemble dancing along, hidden behind the curtain. About ten seconds later, I chanced another glance behind. Still closed.

I can only imagine what the audience were thinking. I was one man onstage, tapping the tap sounds of fifteen people.

The audience actually applauded at one point during the number. I was sure it had to be because the curtain had finally opened, but nope. I guess they had just given in to the humor of the situation.

A few counts later, the curtain finally opened, just in time for me to circle around my partner and begin the rifle twirling section, and the rest of the number went swimmingly… with the exception of all of the actors fighting to keep straight faces for the next two minutes of the song, and losing.


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