"The goat was very well-behaved backstage, though." "Remember those pooping pigeons?" "We had to spike the coffin. It wouldn't stay still."
Comments like those aren't typically heard on the street. But they
come as no surprise to anyone who has spent time creating theater. Live
animals, special effects, and set pieces that migrate are ordinary fare
for thespians and crew who, for the most part, manage not to lose their
poise. At least not in front of the audience. Tantrums, anxiety attacks,
frantic searches for missing props and similar dramas are reserved for
the backstage show.
Concord Players is celebrating 100 years next season, and we're
gathering memories from the people who create the enchantment we call
theater. We're organizing small conversations that we call "centennial
salons." They are in progress this summer and into the fall. We've
already harvested some memorable moments.
Take for example the "shenanigans" that some of our members
remember. During earlier years at 51, there was a loft near the front of
the house. Theater people are nothing if not creative, so a few of them
put it to good use. "We would be trying to shut down the building after
rehearsal, but the young people were up to their shenanigans in the
loft when the lights went out," player Bill Maxwell recalled.
It wasn't just in the loft either. Rumor has it the Munchkin Room
was host to a bit of "hanky panky" on more than a few occasions. And why
not? A big, dark room that is far away from the green room, has lots of
hiding places, and a door that closes is clearly inviting an occasional
Why is it called the Munchkin Room you ask? Because when the Players staged a production of The Wizard of Oz all the children who played munchkins were corralled there to contain their boundless energy.
Another story involves a director who fainted right near the end of
Act I of a comedy being staged by the Players. Performers onstage heard
a loud thump from the house and a murmur from the audience. Then, a
tremulous voice from the dark: "is there a doctor in the house?"
It happened that one of the doctors in the house was performing
onstage at that particular moment, and he was deeply conflicted. Phrases
like "I will according to my ability help the sick" and "primum non
nocere" were invading his thoughts and interfering with his dialogue.
Should he honor his vow to Hippocrates or heed the call of Thespis? The
house lights were still dark. The other actors were delivering their
lines. But someone had called for a doctor. HE was a doctor! The fourth
wall was right there, daring him to break through. But, but, "the show
must go on," right?
In just a few seconds he decided. But just as began to lunge into
the house to bring his healing hands to the crisis, another doctor (and a
few nurses) rose to attend to the director who, happily, just needed a
So much drama in 100 years. Are you curious about that goat? And
what about those pooping pigeons? Well watch this space because we'll be
sharing more stories with you over the next several months. Some are
funny, some are scary, some are poignant, all are worthy of repeating
over and over again.
Do you have a story to tell? If you do, contact Tracy Wall at email@example.com.