Opening Night Disaster
Dwight McFallon sat in his director’s chair, ready for the last rehearsal before tomorrow night’s production of MacBeth. A twenty-year veteran in theater, McFallon put on hundreds of productions, each one a smashing hit.
Dwight was known to do musicals, but this year he decided to go a different route. A Shakespeare fan, Dwight always wanted to do one of the famed playwright’s plays. For Dwight’s first Shakespearean play, he chose the classic MacBeth.
Dwight wanted everything to go smoothly, that’s why he followed the tradition of referring MacBeth as The Scottish Play. He’d heard countless stories of bad luck that ensued while saying MacBeth in a theater. That’s why Dwight had his actors use other terms instead of MacBeth.
“Alright, ladies and gentlemen.” Dwight looked up at the group of actors on stage. “I want to thank you all for being part of this production. You’ve all done a wonderful job.”
A round of applause erupted from the stage.
“Tomorrow is the big night. I’m sure you are nervous, but I’m positive we’ll give an astounding performance.”
Another round of applause came from the group.
“Now, we’ve got a lot of work to do with our rehearsal, so let’s begin.”
“Mr. McFallon, I have a question.” A blonde girl raised her hand.
“Yes, Tonya.” Dwight choose the young blonde for the role of Lady MacBeth.
“I was wondering why we can’t say Mac…”
“No, don’t,” Dwight yelled as the actors tried to shush Tonya. “I’ve told you it’s bad luck to say that word.”
“I understand, but it’s confusing. We can’t say it during rehearsals, yet it’s okay for opening night. Why is that?”
“That’s just the way the tradition is.” Dwight waved his hands. “We’ve got a lot of work to do so let’s get back to rehearsal.” Dwight walked back to his chair with a giant question mark hanging over his head. Tonya made a good point, one that Dwight never even considered.
Dwight shook the question from his head to concentrate on the play. “Let’s take it from the top.”
Rehearsal went off without a hitch. Dwight praised the cast for their hard work, then told them to be at the theater at six o’clock tomorrow so they could prepare for the show.
After everyone left, Dwight stayed behind in the theater. A happy feeling enveloped him, knowing tomorrow night would be another smashing performance.
Glancing up at a picture of the drama masks, McFallon’s love of the theater showed in every one of his productions. He treated the plays like they were a Broadway show. Audiences and critics loved his work, saying he was one of the best directors and that he should be headlining Broadway.
Dwight knew it was a longshot of him ending up on Broadway, but he couldn’t help but dream.
He snapped out of his daydream, then grabbed his messenger bag. “Tomorrow night, everyone will see a majestic performance of MacBeth.” The slip of the tongue cause Dwight to halt in the aisle. “Crap.”
We’re doomed. I said the forbidden word. MacBeth will be a disaster.
“Wait a minute. It’s a silly superstition.” Dwight tried to calm his frazzled mind. “Nothing bad will happen. All this nonsense is just in my head. Everything will be fine.”
Stepping outside, Dwight breathed in the fresh air to soothe him. As he walked towards his car, a clap of thunder roared in the distance followed by a streak of lightening.
Last night’s events weighed on Dwight’s mind as he drove to the theater. Aside from the storm, nothing bad happened to him. He was beginning to think the MacBeth superstition was stupid. He worked himself into a tizzy for nothing.
Arriving at the theater, Dwight noticed all the cars in the parking lot. Everyone’s here, so this is a good start.
Stepping inside, Dwight was hit with a massive wave of heat. It was already 70 degrees outside, but it felt warmer in the theater.
“Dwight, I’m glad you’re here.” Belinda, his assistant came rushing towards him. “We have an issue.”
He closed his eyes wondering what could have possibly went wrong.
“The air conditioner is broken.”
“The AC is broken, but there’s a repairman working on it as we speak.”
“Thank goodness.” Dwight hoped it’d be fixed in time for the play or else the audience would be uncomfortable in the sweltering heat.
“The guy said he’d try to have it finished before showtime, but he’s not making any promises.”
That did little to elevate Dwight’s mood.
“Just concentrate on the show. We’ve got less than two hours to go.”
“You’re right.” Dwight glanced at his watch. “Gather everyone in here.” Dwight walked onstage and spotted the muddy footprints. “Belinda, get the janitor in here to clean this mess up.”
Glancing to the left side, Dwight noticed some of the actors huddled against an open door.
“What are you doing?” asked Dwight as he approached the group.
“We’re trying to stay cool.” Alfred, a gray-haired thespian spoke up. “In case, you haven’t noticed it’s about one hundred degrees in here.”
“Yes, yes. I know.”
“We’re just trying to get some fresh air.” Alfred returned to his place near the door.
“Don’t keep that door open, there’s no tell what sorts of bugs we’ll have crawling in here.”
The actors ignored his command and continued fanning themselves.
Realizing it’s a waste arguing, Dwight went to check on the other actors. As he was walking across the stage, all the bulbs burnt out in the overhead lights.
“Stagehand!” Dwight watched as the scrawny man came running.
“Yes, Mr. McFallon.”
“Fix those lights.” Dwight pointed to the ceiling.
The stagehand looked up to see the lightbulbs had burnt out. “I don’t understand. Those are brand new. I put them in three days ago.”
“Fix it, now!”
“Yes, sir.” The stagehand rushed off to find more lightbulbs.
“What else can go wrong today?” Dwight muttered under his breath.
“My dear, it doesn’t look bad.” Dwight tried to console a wailing Tonya, who locked herself in the dressing room.
“I look like a monster,” she screamed.
“It’s not that bad.”
The door flung open and Tonya stepped into the hallway. “Not that bad.” Her voice continued to raise along with her anger. “Look at my nose.”
As much as Dwight didn’t want to, he couldn’t help notice the red spot on Tonya’s nose. Her blemish was due to a sting from a bee. At first, it didn’t seem bad, then all of a sudden it swelled up. Dwight blamed it on the actors who left the stupid door open.
“I’m not going onstage.” Tonya folded her arms across her chest.
“You have to.” Dwight clasped his hands together. “You’re the lead.”
“I’m not going on looking like this.”
Dwight ran his hand through his graying hair. “We’ll take care of it.” Tapping his fingers on his scalp, Dwight came up with an idea. “Belinda get an icepack for Tonya. Also, see if our makeup girl can do anything with Tonya.”
Tonya’s wailing started again.
“Don’t worry, my dear. Belinda will help you.”
Dwight left Tonya in Belinda’s care, while he went to check on everything else.
“Mr. McFallon.” Greg, a young boy came running towards him. “We’ve got a problem.”
“What else is there? I swear I can’t take any more of this.” Dwight was ready to rip out his hair. “It’s Alfred. He’s hurt.”
Dwight followed Greg down the hall to the men’s dressing room, where Alfred was sitting on the floor in pain.
“Alfred, what happened?”
“I slipped on an apple core that some idiot left lying around.” Alfred tossed the core against the wall. “I think I sprained my ankle.”
“How bad is it?” Dwight asked as he and Greg helped Alfred to his feet.
Alfred yelled as he put pressure on his foot.
Dwight and Greg ushered Alfred to the couch.
“Greg, go fetch an icepack, pronto.” Dwight propped Alfred’s foot on a throw pillow. “Don’t you worry, a little rest and you’ll be ready to go.”
“I don’t think I can. You may have to get my understudy.”
“No way! You’re the star of the show. Without you we can’t do Mac…the play.”
A scream rang from the stage. Dwight rushed out to see one of the witches in hysteria.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“It’s nothing.” The brunette witch replied. “We found a little critter in our pot.” The woman pulled out a small turtle. “He’s harmless, he’s not going to hurt anybody.”
“Get that thing away from me,” the blonde witch replied.
“We will, don’t you worry.” Dwight turned his focus back to the brunette. “Do me a favor? Take this little guy outside and set him free. I doubt a theater is a good home for him.”
Dwight let out a puff. That was another crisis averted. Yet, he wondered what else could go wrong.
“Watch out,” a stagehand yelled.
Dwight turned just in time to see the castle scenery collapse. The cast stood aghast at the fallen buildings, yet Dwight was unmoved.
Belinda came rushing out upon hearing the noise. She took a quick glance at the destroyed props before walking to Dwight.
“Mr. McFallon, are you okay?”
Dwight remained silent for a few more minutes before replying, “Next year, we’re doing Romeo and Juliet.”