Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Think Fast for TWW 81

[Three Word Wednesday gives us funny, remember, theatre. Those words evoked this memory.]

I was in the Junior Class Play when I was in high school. We performed George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, and we did quite well (in spite of the male lead giving us panics that he wouldn't have his lines learned in time). But the next year, we were looking for something much lighter. We chose a play called No More Homework by John Henderson, a fluffy piece set in a high school.

I should say that my high school class of about 125 kids had very few who were interested in theater. We had to recruit. And when we ran out of people to fill the cast, we tapped one or two people from the junior class. And for the crew, we pulled from other classes too. My brother was a sophomore and he was helping to run our sound effects.

The play was quite entertaining and we were having a lot of fun in rehearsals. Our dress rehearsal didn't go smoothly, but we took that as a good omen (you know, "bad dress rehearsal, good performance"). The dress rehearsal wasn't a disaster, so we mixed cautious optimism with our jitters for the opening night.

The room in which most of the action takes place is the "school office" where the officers of the Student Body organization are filling in for the principal, vice principle, and secretary, all of whom have been called away or fallen ill. I played the part of the Student Body President, and so was the Principal-for-the-day.

As I remember it, there was a point where I was supposed to walk to the doorway. On my way out, a phone was supposed to ring and my parting line was, "Answer that, will you, Shalimar?" Then "Shalimar" complains about my being so high-handed and the conversation continues from there. So there we were on opening night, at that scene, and I walk to the doorway. I pause, waiting for the phone to ring. And I wait. No phone. No ring. No reason to say anything.

So I have some choices, but I have to think fast. I can:
1) stand there looking stupid until my brother plays the phone noise;
2) walk out and leave the others with no way to gracefully move into the next conversation;
3) make something up.

I don't remember consciously thinking about those things, but my brain must have been whirring at supersonic speeds. I turned in the doorway and announce, "IF the phone rings, answer it, will you, Shalimar?" I then exited to see the pale face of our faculty advisor beaming at me. Two steps later I heard the phone ring. What a relief!

I'm sure I gave my brother a hard time (and I vaguely remember him grinning while I did). I'm pretty sure he thought the whole thing was funny. But on our second (and final) night the timing of the phone ringing was absolutely perfect.


pia said...

siblings might take until the second act or second night but eventually they come through

Must have wanted to kill him :0

sister AE said...

Hi, pia. I certainly was angry with him, but now it makes for a good story, no?

tumblewords said...

Oh, this is a great story - great!

sister AE said...

thanks, sue.

anthonynorth said...

Good ad lib. Often wins the day :-)

Maria said...

Stage actors all over the globe should be bowing to you right now....

sister AE said...

Hi, Maria. But of course!

gautami tripathy said...

Siblings are crazy. But I love mine!

It made a great read!


slow demise

TC said...

all you need is one night of perfect timing, right? :)

sister AE said...

Hi, Guatami. Thanks.

Hello, TC. You got it!

Greyscale Territory said...

Perfect timing is so elusive, but sometimes fun can be had being a little imperfect!


sister AE said...

Hi, Gemma. I'm just glad that the rush of panicked adrenaline seemed to give me a little "extra" time!

Clare said...

I really enjoyed reading this!! And you were quick on your feet with adding the "if" to the line about the phone ringing -- well done.
p.s. I tagged you to do a 10 x 10 meme, if you want -- 10 verses about yourself (any number of lines per verse is fine), then tag 10 other people to do their own. See my 4/14/08 post to see what I came up with.

sister AE said...

Hi, Clare. Thanks. As for the meme, I did a "10 verses on me" back in February:

so I'm going to skip this, but I'm coming to read yours.