June 25, 2010

Fog: Too Much, Or Lack Thereof?

During my senior year of high school, I decided to try out for the school musical despite the fact that I couldn't sing a note. I landed a role in Grease under one condition: I had to agree to mouth all the words during the songs. It was fun, especially when I got a little too into it and sang out once in a while, ruining everything.

One interesting phenomenon about the musical was a little girl from India named Aartie. Aartie had skipped several grades and looked young for her age, so it was as if a ten-year-old was walking around your high school. Though she auditioned, poor Aartie hadn't been cast in the musical. This didn't stop her from showing up in a poodle skirt to nearly every rehearsal. I'm not sure she quite understood that she wasn't supposed to be there.

Mostly, she would just appear backsage, but every so often during a scene she would kinda drift on stage, stay a while, and then drift back off. It seemed to annoy some people, but I thought it was really something.

That year, drama club decided to blow nearly all its budget for the year on a fog machine for the Teen Angel scene. I loved the idea that every other aspect of the play would have to be super crappy in order for us to afford this one special effect. I was all in favor.

On opening night, everyone was excited, especially for the big fog-and-black-light scene. I watched from backstage as the curtains opened for the big moment. There stood Teen Angel and his background singers, posed and ready to go. But there was no fog. Everyone kinda waited a moment, looking around for any hint of a swirl of white.
None came, so the band struck up the first note and the song began. Finally, Teen Angel sang the final note and the actors exited. Then, as soon as the cast members in the next scene entered the stage and uttered their first lines, a huge burst of fog exploded onto the scene. It enveloped the actors and half the audience. Everyone was squinting and coughing as the actors groped around trying to find one another while delivering lines.

It turned out that Aartie had been backstage in her poodle skirt watching Teen Angel while standing on the fog machine hose. After taking in the number, she had casually walked away, stepped of the hose, and released all the fog that had been building for the past five minutes in a giant, all encompasing puff of whiteness.

And that's how Aartie made it the best high school musical ever.


Anna Jones said...

wow, I haven't read in a while, and I've been missing a lot!

I love this story. SO much.

Glynnis said...

Ha! This is a great story that shows what live theatre is all about. Love it!

Rachel said...

This is one of my all-time favorite Jordie stories - now even better with visuals!

Anonymous said...

I liked the part with the fog.