A Short Anecdote About Being Trapped Onstage.
It’s a Sunday matinee of “Dismay.”
I am onstage in “For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls” giving a long monologue at the end of the play (which is also the end of the show). The show has gone well, despite it being a matinee (Sunday matinees can be a little weird). The monologue goes while, and now I exit.
I get to the exit door, which goes directly into the dark lobby, and it does not open. It is somehow locked.
At this point I don’t know how it happened and I don’t care. I just need to get off the stage so my fellow actors can finish the play and the audience can go home. I quickly decide to aim for the middle exit, which only mildly means I will have to walk through an imaginary wall and traipse through the living room set.
What the audience doesn’t know and only I do know, is that the middle exit is filled with set pieces from the preceding shows. There is only about eight inches of space behind the black back wall that is not occupied.
Silently, I occupy that space.
As I hover in the darkness, I pray inwardly that my behind is not sticking out past the wall, because that would just be embarrassing. I do not hear anything that sounds like unintentional laughter, so I figure I am safe, and I just hang on until curtain call.
The thought occurs to me that my scene partner, who has already exited through that locked lobby door, needs to return for our curtain call. I send out telepathic messages from my perch behind the wall…
“PJ…check the door…”
The lights go dark and the audience begins to clap. I emerge and join the two actors who are already onstage for our curtain call.
PJ does not show up. It’s locked from both sides.