Don't Mess With a Sprite...
While audience participation is encouraged during pantomime, sometimes spectators get a little carried away with their moment in the limelight. At a Friday performance of Hickory, Dickory Dock (1989), one slightly inebriated chap was yelling wild and sometimes naughty comments and just wouldn't shut up. Right in the middle of a monologue, Lina Hions in her role as the Sprite stopped, pointed her magic wand at the guy and, in the Sprite's high-pitched and rapid fire delivery, said "Henceforth you are impotent!" Silence reigned supreme.
Kids Say the Darnedest Things...
Robin Hood (1979): Prince John and the Sheriff finally capture Robin and ask the audience, "What should we do to torture him?" Response from one alert kid: "Sing to him."
Little Red Riding Hood (1990): Just as Red Riding Hood finishes singing "I Feel Pretty", a cherubic looking little girl in the front row yells out, "No you're not, you're ugly!"
Babes in the Wood (1991): After a matinee performance, an 11-year-old boy approached the Dame (who was still in costume). "Are you a boy or a girl," he asked. The Dame replied, "Actually I'm a boy." The young lad snapped his fingers and exclaimed, "I knew it, I knew it!" He then asked, "How did you make your tits?"
When Good Things Happen to Bad Props...
Sometimes things just won't break. In Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii (1993), Pat Baker had to throw "objets d'art" that would smash against a wall. They were china figurines bought at a local Dollar Store, they were hideously ugly and they were supposedly quite fragile. But not fragile enough! No matter how hard they were thrown, the just bounced off the walls unbroken. In the end, for the remaining performances, we resorted to figurines made from modelling clay, with "smashing" results!
Quick! What's the Number for 911?
We often use a carbon-dioxide fire extinguisher to produce a whooosh to herald the arrival of a magical character in our pantos. One day, the stage manager had forgotten a cue, and grabbed the first extinguisher that came to hand. He stuck the hose under the curtain and squeezed the handle. Not hearing the appropriate noise, and unable to see the smoke, he squeezed again. And again. Finally, one of the cast ran over and yelled at him to stop. The SM looked out onto the stage to see a pall of white powder hanging over the stage and moving out over the audience--he'd picked the wrong type of fire extinguisher. The entire cast then had to wheeze their way through the closing number of Act I. The sheepish stage manager turned to the director and asked, "Exactly what do I have to do to get fired in this place?"
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