The Hazard of Performing Live

At the beginning of Act 2 during Friday evening’s performance of A Man for All Seasons, the lights dimmed, the curtain rose and Frank Langella stood on stage with Michael Esper, who plays Sir Thomas More’s son-in-law, William Roper. There was a brief pause and then both actors walked off the stage and the curtain came back down. Odd. An announcement was made over the public address, “Ladies and gentleman, we’ll try that again.” Everyone chuckled. We assumed a prop was missing or someone didn’t hit their mark. Four or five minutes passed, Act 2 began and the play unfolded without further interruption.

When the play concluded and the cast was on stage for their curtain call, Frank Langella held up his hands to silence the audience. He apologized for the false start at the beginning of Act 2. (Nobody cared. An apology wasn’t necessary.) He said that just prior to the curtain being raised when he walked out on stage to take his place, he stumbled and fell backwards and hit his head, hard, against a wooden post in the middle of the set. He felt it was better to walk to the wings and allow his daze to lift than to try and fight through it.

Working without a net. There’s nothing like it.

* * *

While waiting for the F train at 34th St. this morning, I saw this written on a steel girder:


A play on words! How fun is that? That little piece of levity is enough to give me a needed smile on the same morning I woke up to find that Benevolent Dictators, Inc. was converted to a holding company last night while I slept.

6 thoughts on “The Hazard of Performing Live

  1. When I spent a lot of time in New York City in the early 80’s every metal post/beam in the subway system and every phone booth in the city (and I mean every one) had the word PRAY scratched into it. Someone really wanted me to pray. But I forgot to, so that’s out the window.A holding company? I won’t even pretend to know what any of that means, because I’m not sure I know what they did before all this hell broke loose to be honest – I’m pretty sure it involved spreadsheets – but on the bright side, at least you still have a job. Hey, wait a minute, are you a federal employee now? Here come more vacation days! 😉

  2. I have only seen one play in NYC and it was an off-Broadway production of Same Time Next Year. Very small theater. You could have touched the performers from the first or even second row. It was really neat.Holding company? I don’t know if that is good or bad but given the circumstances of late I will assume not so great.

  3. mjp: This city was a mess in the 80s. I never bought into the whole “graffiti is art” movement and am glad it’s more of an unusual occurrence rather than the norm.mjp & annie: Guess what? I’m not entirely certain what a holding company is, either! I do know, however, that the market has acted favorably to the news and that’s good enough for me.

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