Now this is not a prop heavy show; with our single chair, a mic, and a mic stand, we have it pretty easy. So when anything happens to one of the props it seems much more dramatic to the backstage crew than I'm sure (I hope!) it actually is to the audience. So far the most dramatic thing that has happened is when the mic stand almost fell. Right before Matt starts the Mirror Song he moves the mic stand from downstage left and places it straight upstage while Jeremy, one of the backstage crewmembers, coils up the mic chord offstage. For a few days Matt had been paying less attention to the drop of the mic stand and the crew had nervously been watching as it wobbled precariously on the raked stage. Last Monday Matt placed it a little too far upstage and the corner landed on the light scaffold. Matt was crossing downstage as the mic stand started to topple and Jeremy, who is at this point coiling the chord just off-stage, instinctively reached out on stage and righted the stand. Keep in mind here that this is a one-man show, and Matt works hard to maintain the illusion that there are many characters on stage, when in fact it is just him. To see another person onstage, even if it is just a disembodied arm, materialize from stage left could be seriously disconcerting for an audience. But it happened so fast that Jeremy didn't have time to think about it; it was like catching yourself from a fall. I think he was most surprised by his reaction. Matt said later that he had seen it go down and would have gone back to catch it, but he saw Jeremy go for it and decided to distract the audience instead. I doubt many people noticed it, but we certainly were startled. We have since decided that should this happen again we will just let the mic stand go and watch what Matt does with it. You'll notice when you see the show now that Matt places the stand with intention, so I'm not sure we will ever get to see what would happen. Who knows, though, maybe you could be at the show when the mic stand actually falls.
ZoŽ Chapin is the Assistant Stage Manager for Clay.