What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Slithery Situation January 18, 2017

Filed under: Animal Antics — meganorussell @ 8:00 pm
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Once upon a time we found a rat outside our theatre. It was a harrowing and tragic tale, and we thought that our wildlife encounters were over. But alas, they were not.

The next day, we were on a break. I was sitting in the theatre, hanging out when one of the girls came in to tell the stage manager that there was a little snake that may have gotten into the lobby. Naturally, we all ran to see it.

Sure enough, there was a little black and yellow snake curled up right inside the door. The little bugger had crept through the crack and wanted to make himself at home. The Stage Manager sighed and got ready to get the snake. Unfortunately, none of us were knew if Mr. Snakey Pants was venomous or not.

Note from the Blogger’s husband: This is one of my biggest pet peeves. So many people use so many words interchangeably that are not synonymous. Further and farther, for instance (which have been used incorrectly so many times that they are now accepted as being synonyms). To be clear, something is venomous if it is capable of injecting the poison/venom into you. Something that is poisonous must be either ingested or touched. In short, venomous fangs vs. poisonous skin. That is all.

Since we were between shows, there were some boxes piled right up by the door. Of course that was where the snake darted toward. And not knowing if he was a murdery dude, we couldn’t reach in to get him. The Stage Manager found a broom handle while I grabbed some sheets of Styrofoam and made a snake wall. (more…)


A Rocky Rat January 11, 2017

Filed under: Animal Antics — meganorussell @ 6:00 pm
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For the past week, I’ve been working out on an island in southwest Florida. It’s gorgeous, it’s amazing, it has a ton of animals. The island is filled with swampy-type critters and sanctuaries for said critters. And we’ve met a few new… friends.

Our lovely director has a kind heart, and when she was coming into the theatre, she found a tiny critter in destress. Naturally, we had to help this rat. Yep: rat. It was a cute rat, mind you. Walking shakily in circles, not really noticing all of us creeping closer to it. The poor little dude was eating a rock. A rat eating a rock. Naturally, we named him Rocky.

Our young, but incredibly apt, Stage Manager called the island’s animal rescue folks, and they said to load poor Rocky into a box and drive him over.

I wish I could say I was one of the ones putting the disoriented rat into the box, but really I just ran and found a box. (more…)


And Blackout… Go! July 11, 2015

So that one time when someone who clearly didn’t understand my technological limitations made me a stage manager/light board operator, I nearly killed everyone in the theatre, including the audience.

I mean, I know I often joke about how theatre patrons are so ancient that we’re working in Jesus’ waiting room, but I don’t want to be the one to push the old folks over the edge and into Jesus’ arms.

Anyway, I was running the lighting board and had been told specifically not to touch anything on the big scary board but “Go” and in case of emergency “Back.” Fine. Two buttons, not that big a deal. One afternoon we were wrapping up intermission, the patrons were all still milling about in the house, I touched the button to go to the get your butts back in your seats cue. And all the lights go out.

I don’t mean on stage or a few on the walls. ALL the lights in the building went out! Not the power, just the lights! That’s not even supposed to be a thing! I wasn’t even theoretically supposed to have that power! Well naturally I pressed “Go.” But that didn’t do anything. We were still in the dark! The old people were starting panic. And the last thing you want is a bunch of people with osteoporosis stumbling in mass in the dark! (more…)


The Lazy Light July 8, 2015

Remember that time they made me a Stage Manager and the lights refused to work? No? That’s okay. I do.

I was stage managing at a theatre where the Stage Manager also ran the light board. I am in no way qualified to be a Stage Manager or to operate a light board. But I was an intern, and they said jump. So I jumped my happy little butt into the lighting booth, script in hand to run the show. Really, all I had to do was press “Go” whenever the lights were supposed to change. The problem was if anything went wrong, I was screwed! I didn’t know how to fix anything!

We had one fancy light that could move. It was preprogrammed to travel its light beam across the stage, so as long as the actors stuck to their blocking, they would be in light.

But the fancy light started getting a little off. I put it in my report, but I don’t think anyone believed me. Because the light started drifting down so the two actresses in the show had to move further toward the edge of the stage to be in the light. I reported the broken light again, saying that I was really, really sure something was wrong with it.

Still nothing. (more…)


Tech Is Fun (Or Lies My Director Told Me) March 23, 2015

Today begins the first day of tech rehearsal for my current production, and of course the mantra “Tech is fun” went flying through the cast. For those of you not in theatre, Tech rehearsal is when, after days of hard work, the actors forget everything they have ever been told as set pieces come flying at them, headdresses cover their eyes, choreography changes, and their playing space is reduced by half. None of those things are fun.

I understand that the purpose of saying “tech is fun” is to try and make it seem less like a twelve-hour death slog with stage lights. But until they let me carry a glass of wine and a box of cookies on stage, I will never think tech is fun. It’s a necessary evil. It’s a part of my job, but it’s never ever fun.

The worst tech I have ever experienced was when I was an intern at a theatre company. We had giant sliders to hang, and when we went to put them up, we found out they were almost two hundred pounds heavier than they were supposed to be! (more…)