I've been meaning to write about this since Tuesday, but this is the first spot of free time I've had since.
Remember that scene in Pulp Fiction where the man hiding in the bathroom unloads a revolver on everybody's favorite hitmen, Jules and Vincent? I'll refresh your memory via still shots.
No, I did not get shot at, but with that in mind, I will delve into my story.
For the non-theatre literate:
proscenium (pro-sê´nê-em, pre-) noun
1. The area of a modern theater that is located between the curtain and the orchestra.
2. The stage of an ancient theater, located between the background and the orchestra.
It is not an uncommon practice to build a false proscenium for a show to make it aesthetically pleasing. If you've seen the musical Wicked, the false proscenium is what the dragon is mounted on.
For the FCCJ summer musical that I am stage managing, Beauty and the Beast, there was a false proscenium built, painted and hung. During rehearsal on Tuesday, it was hanging about 7 feet off of the ground at its lowest point and roughly 25 feet at its highest point. At about 8:20 PM after a loud crack, it came crashing down, breaking into hundreds of pieces. That's about 750 pounds of lumber hurtling towards a stage populated by about thirty children.
The worst injury sustained was a splinter in my friend Kate's finger while cleaning up the debris.
This all happened no more than eight feet from where I was sitting, recording blocking. Pieces of wood reached the table I was sitting at. And yet, of the forty people present there, nobody was hurt due to the slight (but ever so important) design flaw in the false proscenium.
I feel like I should be feeling like Jules right now; that is, like I just witnessed a miracle through divine intervention. If it had broken about thirty seconds earlier, our dance choreographer would, in all likeliness, be in the hospital. One minute earlier, it would have had one of the leads. Three minutes earlier, an assortment of kids. And yet every cast member happened to be upstage enough to stand clear while the false proscenium plummeted.
But I feel more like Vincent; I feel like the only thing I've seen is just dumb luck. I just witnessed a freak occurrence. I'm sure there are people who were there who thought it was an act of God, but I didn't feel a thing. Maybe it's just the years of cynicism, I don't know.
But still, in the words of Jules: "We should be fucking dead, man."