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One week down! And by all reports, the show was well received by all who saw it. We even had a quick review by the Kitchener Record, which was lovely to see.
However, in a situation we knew was coming, I had to stand in for Brian. He has a band, d’Archangel, that had gotten a gig in Toronto for Saturday night. I was able to sub in for him, so we decided to run with that.
My biggest personal concern was the fight at the start of act 4. I had done it a couple times during rehearsal, but ultimately, I am no Brian and didn’t want to screw up. I drilled it at home for most of last week, drilled it with the cast for Friday & Saturday and eventually left it to the cast & fight director to see if it was safe. They said it would be fine.
It was. It was slower than they normally do it, but it was good and acting made up for some of the rest.
What I didn’t expect to have to be afraid of was Nick.
Nick & Brian have a scene in the show that involves a plate of food. Petruchio (Nick) tastes the food on the plate that Joseph (Brian) is holding and proclaims it burnt. They have some business to do with the plate of food and Nick & I had gone over it a few times to make sure I knew the cue lines for the various bits.
When we got to the show itself, Nick bit off a piece of the chicken (that was doubling as mutton) and starts to proclaim it as burnt. He realises that he has bit off too much and is having trouble talking. It is entirely within character to spit it out and then continue his line. The decision he makes is to spit it back on the plate (no one eats from it again that scene) and go on.
He misses the plate. Pretty much entirely.
He didn’t miss me. From my eyebrows to my clevage, there was chicken. Fortunately, neither of us wound up giggling (that happened a LOT later). It did mean that much of the rest of the business wound up by the wayside and gratefully, the audience didn’t notice that it was something different.
When I got off stage and into the green room, Nick was there already and looking pretty sheepish. When he explained what happened, I had to smother giggles to make sure the audience didn’t hear us (the show was still going on). I was still fishing chicken out of my cleavage 10 minutes later. Much teasing happened on both sides and I had a new nickname now.
I love live theatre. Stuff like this makes it always a challenge and rarely boring.