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News From The Kingdom Of Wisdom

January 20th, 2005

Last night saw the opening night of The Phantom Tollbooth, or rather, the preview performance, a sort of final dress with an audience who only paid half-price for tickets.

While I did not break a leg, as the theatre saying goes, I did stub my toe very hard during the final battle with the Demons of Ignorance, and it’s still sore this afternoon. I guess that’s one of the risks of being a wartime leader.

Click on the photo for a larger image!

The show went well, though it was not without incident. During an early scene in “The Doldrums,” several of the Lethargians (shapeless blobs realized in true Doctor Who fashion by sticking an actor in a gray sack and zipping it closed) got disoriented when it was time to exit. Two of them rolled off the apron into the audience, and the third rolled into Milo’s bedroom on far stage left. There he sat for about a minute, thinking he was safely offstage, until he realized that he was up against Milo’s pile of pillows, and that the large, boxlike object was not the outhouse we keep in the wings until Act Two, but rather the tollbooth itself! In a panic, he rolled off the edge of the stage and exited through a side door. No one was hurt, though the director nearly died laughing during intermission. Too bad no one was videotaping!

Later, during my big scene as the Mathemagician, there’s a gag involving the largest number (a very tall three) and the longest number (a very wide eight). My minions are supposed to tote each across the stage in succession, but they couldn’t find the eight and therefore turned the three on its side and brought it back across. I covered the gaffe with a quip: “Here it is. It looks surprisingly like the other one.”

This second photo features the majority of the cast as seen in the final scene. Note the poor Dodecahedron on the far left, who is 1) not exactly even on all sides, and 2) inexplicably wearing a beret.

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