Okay, maybe you don’t get the title of this blog entry. Anyone know that old song? … and there was no hanging, either. Just a dark stage and pit.

The opera is about a search for the secret formula for long life.

But the Sydney opera theatre’s aging lighting desk could use a drop of that formula after a malfunction during the opening night last night of The Makropulos Secret, which plunged the stage and orchestra pit into darkness.

Conductor Richard Hickox was forced to stop the show for several minutes until the stage lights returned.

Full article

I’ve been at two performances when the lights have gone out. Once, with San Jose Symphony, Richard Stoltzman played —in the dark and by memory!— Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo, while my husband, who was stage manager at the time, quickly set up stand lights so we could continue the full concert. (I guess we had a generator that provided enough power for stand lights.) Another time the power went out completely while we were playing The Nutcracker. I felt horrible for all that little kids who were so excited to be there. We were sent home and that was that. I can’t even remember if we did a show to replace that one.

I’ve also been at two performances where we had earthquakes. Those were fun. And twice I’ve heard, “Is there a doctor in the house?”


  1. Let’s see, I’ve already mentioned the dancer falling offstage and knocking over my stand during Oklahoma!, and then there was the whip descending into the pit during King and I, and an apple (with a bite out of it) during, I think, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (whichever show it was – Bye Bye Birdie, maybe? – it happened more than once as I recall), and having actors walking through the orchestra and standing on steps between me and the conductor (Joseph and the ATD), and the time my chair got snagged by one of the set pieces (we were backstage) and I found myself being pulled backwards while trying to play scene-change music (My Fair Lady), and the dust (and bugs and such) filtering down from above as the highlanders danced over our heads (Brigadoon), and…

    Well, I’m sure there were times when the stand lights went out, and it seems that usually the on-stage smoke descends into the pit (lovely when one is obliged to take a deep breath).

  2. We’ve had a ton of things fall into the pit (people included). This is why OSJ has a net at the edge of the stage; it’s supposed to catch any objects (it couldn’t possibly hold a person, though). Since we’ve moved into the California we’ve only had feathers and dust descend. Even that drives me nuts, but oh well!

    There have also been two deaths in the hall when I’ve had a show or concert. Those were sad.