A Dialogue: On Being the Only Person in the Theatre Able to Find Her Ass with Both Hands
Setting: Backstage during a thoroughly disastrous tech week at a local production of a Recent-Tony Award-Winning-But-Very-Technically-Demanding-Show, for which yours truly is running lights and calling cues. (Even though it’s the stage manager’s job to call cues and I am scrambling to keep up with over 300 board and 100 spot cues, because the stage manager can’t be relied on to scratch her ass or wind her butt.) (I also wound up being fight choreographer even though I’m totally unqualified, because I’m the only one on the production crew who’d ever done stage combat, and the director’s ingenious blocking of “just improvise” was resulting in people flailing around getting hurt. Gosh, fight directors are actually necessary for shows with two separate riots and a one beating to death on stage? Imagine that!)
**Totally Incompetent Stage Manager (Who Only Got the Job Because She’s Married to the Director And Who Won’t Give Me a Proper Fight Call) **: Ok, we have a big problem here – someone broke into the theatre, and a bunch of our props are missing.
Me: Oh, shit! What all did they get?
TISM: Box of cracker jacks, a few flags, two of the billy clubs, and the gun.
(Musical interlude: One of these things does not belong here…)
Me: The WHAT? There’s a GUN in this show? When? Why have we not rehearsed with it then - we open tomorrow! Why do we not have a weapons master? This is a public school - we can’t leave fucking firearms about!!! Even if it’s an inert prop gun, we shouldn’t be leaving it here - you don’t leave weapon props lying around! Where’s the props mistress, I’m gonna kick her ASS! Arrgh!
TISM: Calm down, it’s only a starter pistol.
Me: !!! And that’s better than us coming into a public school and losing aprop gun because…? It’s worse! It’s a projectile weapon, you idiot!
TISM: …but it fires blanks.
Me: A gun firing blanks at point blank range can still be very dangerous - Jesus, doesn’t anybody around here know anything about firearms? I don’t know jack shit, and if I’m the most educated person in the room, we have really screwed the pooch.
TISM: I don’t see why you’re so upset…
Me: ::uses hand to close hanging jaw:: Because, we’re going to have to tell the school administration about this - the only people who could have gotten in here are the summer school students.
TISM: Well, we don’t have to tell them what went missing if it’d get us in trouble…
Me: So, let me get this straight: You brought a firearm into a public school and left it unattended. It gets stolen in circumstances that suggest a summer school student has it, a student who has no problem with breaking and entering or theft … and you don’t think we should tell the school that one of their delinquent students is now packing, even though by doing so you are putting all the other students and teachers at risk. Can I ask you a question?
TISM: What’s that?
Me: What are you gonna do for an encore, eat a baby?
Random Stagehand: Hey, it’s ok, we found a bunch of the missing props.
Me & TISM: Thank god!
RS: Well, everything but the gun.
RS: But it’s okay, I asked [ Idjit Props Mistress ], and she said J— brought it in to use, but it’s not a starter pistol.
RS: It’s a real gun, but it’s been disabled so it won’t fire.
Me: … ::gulps air like a fish::
TISM: Oh, that’s okay then.
Me: How in the name of Ted Nugent’s fanclub is this possibly in any form okay?
TISM: Well, it’s not a working gun.
Me: And the person it’s being POINTED AT will know this, how, exactly?
(Enter Idjit Props Mistress and J—)
Me: J—, what’s this I hear about you bringing a real fucking gun in to use in the show?
IPM: ::Wails:: I can’t believe it’s gone, it looked so good - so realistic!
Me: ::Glare:: J—, I’m waiting for an explaination here - you brought a real gun into this theatre?
J—: What? Why on earth would I do something so stupid! I brought in a prop gun.
TISM: Oh, good, then we don’t have to tell anyone!
(Exit Stage Left, pursued by bear.)