My experiences writing, directing and producing Christian musicals for kids through adults.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Failed gunshots and other live theatre mishaps

In the show that Randy is in, And Then There Were None (at Driftwood Players, go see it!), a gun has to fire. I won't say how many times. It's a real gun that uses blanks and they have a gun master to keep watch over it. But if it fails to fire, he can hardly leap onto the stage to fix it. That's up to the actors to deal with - and deal with it they have.

The worst time was Saturday night when it failed to fire each time. When someone is charging at you and you have a gun in your hand and it fails to fire, what do you do? You can't rewrite the play and have the wrong person die. You can't say "bang" -- this is a moment of high tension and drama, not a cartoon. One actor proved resourceful and chose to conk the other person on the head with an ashtray. None of the actors blanked and it worked out.

Ominously enough, in the theatre lobby is a sign that reads, "Warning! There may be gunfire during this performance." For this show, new emphasis on "may".

Addendum note: they have a new gun.


  1. Hilarious! Now, I don't want to go and see the play. A plain ol' shooting death wouldn't nearly be as exciting as death by ashtray.

  2. Here's my other favorite stage mishap story.
    Eight years ago when we put on our Star Trek parody show, we went on tour, and one of the stages we performed on was very hot. The kids were fanning themselves backstage, and make-up melting.

    Spock had a scene in which McCoy was berating him in more than his usual cantankerous way -- and his ear fell off! The 12 year-old who was playing Spock held his ear in his hand, began stroking it, and said to McCoy, "Why are you being mean to me? Can't you see my ear just fell off?" The audience roared. They all thought it was scripted!

  3. The gun has been working nicely since we got a new gun. Much better than the one performance where someone had to grab it (the old gun) onstage and all the cartridges fell out. Onstage. Oh dear.