Hi, Mr. Ludwig:
My name is Anthony Toohey. Our local theater group, The Stage Hands, is putting on your "Moon Over Buffalo" for our fall dinner show. As the director, let me first say that we absolutely love the show. Rehearsals begin tomorrow evening and we're all very excited.
We have one small problem though. The facility in which we present our dinner shows is a small church guild hall here in our little town of King City(pop: 11,000.) This hall has no orchestra pit, nor does it have any room for George Hay to take a tumble to the floor. The rest of the production crew and I have thrown about a lot of ideas as to how to handle this rather important set piece, but we're struggling. I searched online, but could find no other reference to this sort of problem, leading me to believe all other theater companies are wealthier, or at least luckier, than we.
Have you heard of any other company dealing with such a problem? We would greatly appreciate any suggestions you might offer, up to and including 'helifino." We really want to get this particular event right.
Thanks for taking the time to read this over. Your writing is a delight and it's our pleasure to present yet another wonderful Ken Ludwig show.
King City, CA
I'm thrilled you're doing Moon. I must say, it's dear to my heart. It reminds me of all the wonderful theatre companies I've been a part of.
As for the fall from the stage: I think it's a cinch. As they're doing, say, the last ten or fifteen lines of the scene, have the actors rotate 90 degrees, so that by the end, they're facing into the wings (whatever you have for wings, even if it's just the steps to the side or even an area that's understood to be off-stage). Then have him scream and tumble into the "pit" (simply to the ground) which is now understood to be in that direction. The lines will tell the whole story. You could even add a line to make it clearer: "He fell into the orchestra pit!!" I think the audience will get it totally. And yes, I've seen a number of productions where the problem has been solved this way or other creative ways. Just so the audience understands that he falls and hurts himself. (Indeed, he could fall over a piece of scenery and knock himself out. Then just adjust the line in the later scene.)
Good luck on the production. Please tell the cast I said hi.
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