Author Topic: Understudy Put in From Hell  (Read 4117 times)

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Understudy Put in From Hell
« on: Sep 25, 2007, 08:59 am »

Understudy replacement hell.

So, we had to put on an understudy - last minute, of course.  This is for one of the main leads... Henry in Lion in Winter.  Our understudy is fairly ready (as well as I could get him, when he could only be at one of 2 rehearsals).  So, I call an emergency put in at 11 am. The show is at 3:00pm that day.  Unfortunately, our Eleanor lives in BFE, and it takes her over an hour and a half to get into the city.  Also, the space we are renting won't let us in until 1:00pm.  Well, we sweet talk our way in at 12:30, and actors slowly arrive.  We barrel through scene sections as actors arrive from thier various locations.  During this rehearsal, 2 curtain tie backs pull out from the walls, the sound system freaks out, the understudy catches the front edge of the stair facing and rips a 2 1/2 foot chunk off the stage, and the smallest thing, we lose 6 spike marks, which are all glow taped for the actors to find thier spikes for the 7 scene shifts in the play.  (Did I mention that I have no assistant or light board op.... ??)

Even with all this, we open the house a meager 15 minutes late, and  start 15 min. late.  The CD player dies after SQ 4, the board op and I come up with Plans A - D.  One of these plans (plan C) requires the prop master to run a discman to the theatre at intermission, and to take apart 2 cables to make one (probably very unsafe) replacement.

So, intermission arrives, I do the scene shift, check in with my U/S, who is freaking out a bit, and come to the booth... we've killed the intermission music to solve the CD problem.  End up with plan D, which is using a tape deck adapter for your car to play the CD.  So, we get this fantastic hiss over the speakers any time we standby for a cue. This makes our intermission (count with me kids ) 24 minutes long.

So, we start act II late, holding our breath, and watching the audience wince everytime the hiss starts.  Meanwhile, we finish splicing cable during act II, and come up with a solution for the following week.  (While my understudy pours fake brandy all over another actor).  2 pages before the last cue sequence of the show.... the discman dies.  We (thank god) had 2 sets of AA batteries, because OF COURSE the first set didn't work, and we held the discman sideways (it was the only way it would work).  The sound op and I had a moment of actually disucssing leaning our heads out of the booth window and humming the final cue, just to get through it all.

I need a drink. :)