Author Topic: Our lead role had a heat attack  (Read 714 times)

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abhibeckert

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Our lead role had a heat attack
« on: Feb 19, 2019, 04:53 am »
Weíre two days out from opening night and our lead has had a heart attack today - Iím told the doctors think he will be ok but definitely canít do the show.

We donít have an understudy and are looking for someone willing to pick up a major role where they need to memorise 20 pages of dialog where theyíre doing almost all the talking.

Does anyone have advice to help someone learn the show as quickly as possible?

Iím thinking of wiring up an ear piece so someone can prompt if necessary in the first few shows. Has anyone tried that? I wonder if it would be distracting.

Tempest

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Re: Our lead role had a heat attack
« Reply #1 on: Feb 19, 2019, 11:21 am »
Wow, that's a rough situation! To be honest, you're probably not going to find anyone who can MEMORIZE the role in two days, with no notice.
I would suggest focusing on getting them to memorize their blocking, not lines. Then, make them a hand-held script: about half page size, single sided containing only their scenes, and bound or stapled on the edge, not three-ring. They can keep it in one hand and reference it as necessary. Make an announcement at top of show about the situation, stressing how great it is that X performer could step in with such short notice.
Audiences forgive many things when you let them in on the human issues that get in the way of a perfect performance.
I hope your actor feels better soon!
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

JustinJanke

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Re: Our lead role had a heat attack
« Reply #2 on: Feb 19, 2019, 02:54 pm »
That is mighty high on the "worst possible situation" list. I'm sorry for everything.
Tempest made great suggestions, and I would really consider doing what they said. You can also try to find a somewhat local actor who has done the show before, and see if they could take on the role. See what other theaters near you have done the show before. Nothing is ideal in your situation, but it really couldn't hurt to have someone who is already familiar with the show come on board.
You have my thoughts and prayers, as does the actor.

abhibeckert

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Re: Our lead role had a heat attack
« Reply #3 on: Feb 19, 2019, 08:14 pm »
Thanks for the advice. It's a niche play written relatively recently, so no chance of finding someone who's done it before. And everyone involved in the show is either unsuitable or unavailable for the entire run. Our prompt and voice/accent coach would have been perfect for example, but he will be out of town starting in a few days.

We spent an hour brainstorming names and making phone calls last night, and found someone experienced who could drive in immediately to do a full run of the show, script in hand while everyone else ran it as a full dress, rehearsal ran until midnight and was very exhausting, but went far better than I ever could have expected.

I think this is going to work.

Thanks for the advice on making a script for reading on stage - that will work well I think.
« Last Edit: Feb 19, 2019, 08:16 pm by abhibeckert »

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VSM

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Re: Our lead role had a heat attack
« Reply #4 on: Feb 19, 2019, 08:33 pm »
SO VERY GLAD last night went well...
Best Wishes and keep up the compliments and thanks to the ENTIRE cast...
Ordo ab chao

loebtmc

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Re: Our lead role had a heat attack
« Reply #5 on: Feb 22, 2019, 01:41 am »
...and crew

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Michelle R. Wood

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Re: Our lead role had a heat attack
« Reply #6 on: Feb 27, 2019, 01:17 pm »
Congrats on surviving some major craziness, and break legs with your run (and best wishes for your actor's recovery). I'm constantly amazed at how willing audianes are to accept a script in hand: if the actor is professional about it, the performance really can shine through despite the obvious prop. Hope you have time to recover from this misadventure and that the rest of the run is smooth sailing.
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." -- Thomas Edison (Harper's Magazine, 1932)

abhibeckert

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Re: Our lead role had a heat attack
« Reply #7 on: Mar 03, 2019, 05:26 pm »
We had closing night on the weekend... I'm exhausted.

Generally things went better than I expected, the biggest issue being some jokes that were never quite on point, however the main issue was a lot of social tension in the greenroom - I think largely caused by the added level of stress.

Thanks for the support and best wishes.  :)
« Last Edit: Mar 03, 2019, 05:29 pm by abhibeckert »

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Tempest

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Re: Our lead role had a heat attack
« Reply #8 on: Mar 04, 2019, 12:35 pm »
I'm so glad that things went well, considering the circumstances! And, now, you have a WONDERFUL example to give in job interviews about how you handle stressful situations!
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

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