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Bloopers, Blunders, and Boners
Herewith a new section, reminiscences of some of our funnier moments onstage. Please send contributions of your favorite mistakes and mishaps to the editor.
One of my all-time favorite stage mishaps occurred in 1979 when San Francisco Opera mounted a production of Thea Musgrave's Mary Queen Of Scots as the Curran Theater as part of its Spring Opera Theater series. Musgrave was conducting the orchestra in the final dress rehearsal before a guest audience.
In a castle bedchamber on stage Queen Mary and Bothwell were concluding a romantic duet in bed together. The transformation into the outdoor mob scene that followed the bedroom scene was to be accomplished without bringing in the curtain. At the end of the duet the tapestries and bedroom trappings were to be flown out, and the couple were to be wheeled offstage still lying on their bed while the new backdrop was lowered into place. To keep the action alive during the scene transition, a mob of angry townspeople (the chorus) was to run onstage from upstage right, screaming and waving weapons, cross the back of the stage, and exit upstage left. Then, once the transition from bedroom to town square was complete, the chorus mob was to reenter from stage left into the town square where they would stage a revolt against Queen Mary.