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Topic: Performing sick... Have you ever?
Message: Posted by: Stef (Jun 1, 2003 06:57PM)
I just wanted to know how many of you have performed sick (and I do not mean a headache). Let me read your fascinating stories and surely funny anecdotes.

Message: Posted by: RiffClown (Jun 2, 2003 12:34PM)
I was out performing in freezing weather while recovering from pneumonia. I constantly use hand sanitizer while performing now since every sick child in the area seems to come through my balloon line. I stay sick much less now that the sanitizer is in use. :light:
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Jun 3, 2003 04:25PM)
I did a stage show (I was the second one of three performers) and I had been pretty run down. As I got ready to go on, I started to get chills and fever. And so I sweated, and felt like I was going to lose my lunch for my entire act. I couldn't focus, I couldn't think, and if I had not videoed it, I wouldn't be able to say what I performed.

Not much of it was worth seeing (In my opinion), although I did like one routine that I changed to shorten it, better than usual. But my audience apparently didn't realize that I normally do better, and they were quite gracious and gave me a great round of applause.

The guy who performed after me, thanked me for not setting the bar too high for him.

He was serious, and I was sick. And I so didn't see the humor in it then. He has seen my act and knows that I get pretty outrageous sometimes. And the audience can get pretty involved with the insanity. But this time, I was too sick to be insane.

I proceeded to pack up, go straight home. Go to bed, and stayed there for two days. And it took another week to get back to normal (Or at least as close to normal as I ever get...).

So now I don't do stage work anymore.... ;)

Message: Posted by: Chrystal (Jun 6, 2003 12:22AM)
ohhh Yes...this recently happened to me.

I was feeling really out of sorts a few days before a show.

I don't want to say "it was only a birthday party" as it was very important to the child having it. I should explain this little girl is disabled. Although she was supposed to be integrated in her school, her former principal had not allowed her in the classroom. Rather, she was banished in the hallway of the school. This year with a new principal she thrived in a classroom setting and made a lot of friends, which brings me back to my story.

She invited her entire class! This was the first time she had a birthday party where she invited the kids and wanted me as the performer. The party was booked weeks in advance.

The day of the show, the room was spinning and I had trouble standing up for more than 5 mins. "I have to do the show, no matter what. It's too important to her," I told myself. In a nutshell I did and it went over really well. However, I thought I was dying before and after the show..ha ha. Turned out I had bacterial pneumonia (whew! I wasn't contagious).

This past weekend, although I was still recovering I had another booking by the Minister of Tourism no less. This one at a huge resort which included being put up in a hotel and lots of $ involved. The thing was, I would not have considered cancelling the birthday party so as to save energy for the larger more prestigious booking. I had to do the shows..and get my mindset prepared. I could always be sick the week after....ah the joys of being a performer. :me:
Message: Posted by: Sean Lough (Jun 6, 2003 11:46AM)
An unspecified number of years ago when I was a child actor I was in a production of Peter Pan (The director was a magician and there were lots of effects in the show, so it kind of fits the board).

Going into tech week, a particularly bad strain of flu started running through the cast, so that by final preview (with audience) most of us were ill.

To make matters worse, the final preview included invited orphans from area homes.

Picture this:

Overture. Opening scene with the Darling Family. Darling children go to sleep. Lights dim. Flying music. Windows open. Peter Pan flies in!

Throws up.

Flys back out.

Curtain comes down.
Message: Posted by: Maestro (Jun 6, 2003 08:50PM)
:rotf: :bawl:
Message: Posted by: markkwan (Jun 10, 2003 02:41PM)
:nose: Great story Chrystal!
Message: Posted by: Chrystal (Jun 12, 2003 12:07AM)
Thanks Mark!

Sean's story was really funny ( Sorry to laugh at someone's misfortune)! But...one of those things that definitely causes one to chuckle.
Message: Posted by: magicman6 (Jun 16, 2003 12:26PM)
I have to agree with Chrystal..Sean's story hasn't made me laugh thus hard in awhile (sorry Sean) :lol:
Message: Posted by: schmitty65 (Jun 23, 2003 08:47PM)
I had to do a show at a church convention and it was the hottest day of the summer. I was wearing my costume and I got really hot and dizzy and started to vomit. It was not fun.
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Jun 26, 2003 05:58PM)
I've never performed while sick, but once while performing Chinese Rice Canisters a child yanked a foil production coil I was producing, and we had a huge unexpected production of realistic-looking blood from my finger.

Amos McCormick
Message: Posted by: Jon Gallagher (Jun 27, 2003 07:34PM)
My daughters were both in a production of "Babes in Toyland" with a local Children's Theatre group. It was summer and the theatre's air conditioning couldn't keep up. The temperature outside was in the 90s and inside the theatre, it was even higher than that.

In one of the last scenes, there are several toys on stage. All of a sudden, there's an out of place CLUNK. One of the kids who was playing a toy soldier and standing at attention just keeled over. Stage hands came out and dragged him or her off just as another toy soldier fell.

In all that night, four kids fainted from the heat. The show went on... but there were plenty of hopping mad parents who gave vocabulary lessons to anyone who looked even remotely in charge.
Message: Posted by: jmm1303 (Aug 1, 2003 11:42AM)
I would hate to vomit in a show
Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (Aug 3, 2003 10:34PM)
Let's not forget... Harry Houdini, according to biographies, did his last three shows of his life with a ruptured appendix. I'd take bacterial pneumonia anyday!

Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Aug 10, 2003 06:59PM)
I performed once at the height of the Flu. My temp was 104. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (Aug 10, 2003 07:22PM)
You'd think that a guy with your demeanor, you'd be used to heat.

Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Aug 10, 2003 09:38PM)
I had diarrea during my performance. I had to cut the show in two parts.
Message: Posted by: EricHenning (Aug 13, 2003 09:14AM)
I actually learned something from being sick once, and perhaps this will help someone else.

First, please understand that I had Crohn's disease for 20+ years and I know very well when I am sick and how serious it is. I spent 15 years in continuous, sit-on-a-tack pain with a constant low-grade fever. So I've probably spent the majority of my magic career performing sick.

However, on this occasion, I was getting over a cold. Have you ever had this? It's that day where you're no longer contagious, in fact, you feel fine, and you KNOW that you're well again - but your voice is gone. Totally absent. No other symptoms. It's like the cold's final practical joke on its way out.

Well, this happened to me on a Sunday when I was working brunch at Clyde's, and I was frantic. I do talking magic, with lots of storytelling, and how in the world could I perform?

Here's what I learned in a nutshell:
1. I got MUCH better responses from my audiences. Looking back, I realize it was because I was gentler in my approach to the tables. I am 6'4" tall, 250 lbs, with dark hair, a dark beard and a loud voice. I sometimes forget that when I am approaching a table, I am standing and my audience is seated, and all this together can be intimidating. My laryngitis evened the playing field, so to speak, and folks felt more comfortable. I now approach tables with more relaxed body language and lower vocal volume.

2. Many of my routines need few, if any, words. I found I was able to get very far into many of my pet routines with no words at all. This also helped focus attention ont he magic, and I got much more applause and laughter. So I have gone back and severely trimmed my scripts.

3. If you simply tell people "My voice is gone," you build rapport very quickly. I think most people have been in that situation. So rather than trying to hide it, I was honest about it. But of course, not being contagious helped!

Hope this helps,

Eric Henning
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Aug 13, 2003 11:11AM)
One event I was hired to do one of those stupid full body, foam suit characters for a pharmaceutical company. You know, the big head and funky body things AND do linking rings while in the suit.

This is a full body suit, made of quarter-inch thick foam rubber. NO body ventilation at all. It's like wearing a diver's wetsuit made of really thick sponge rubber instead of neoprene.

In a word - HOT. In another word - dangerous.

The suit arrived for the show early. Everything was there EXCEPT for the batteries (special ones, of course) for the heads. The heads had a built-in fan so you could BREATHE in the bloody things!

No batteries meant no fans. Starting to get an idea of where this is going?

I put on the suit and the head, which they said would fit me, and the mouth hole jammed into my CHIN! There was NO way that air could get in there as that was the primary vent IN the head!

I did the first 20 minutes, went back stage and opened up the suit. I was beet red and panting, overheated.

When I went back to do the second 20, I started seeing red and getting this funny rushing sound in my ears.

Fortunately, I knew what that meant and beat the oversized costume feet for the backstage area.

I tried to do that next 20 minutes for an hour and almost passed out each time. The client was VERY understanding, thank goodness, but the agent was not.

After repeated calls to her office, during normal business hours, with no response, I finally agreed with the client that it would be an extreme health hazard for me to continue and we agreed that it was okay for me to leave as I had done everything I could to get someone else to come in and wear the suit.

The agent was nowhere to be found, of course.

The next day, the agent ripped me a new one, to which all I could say was, "If they had had the batteries for the fan system inside the head, I probably would have been fine, but it's hard to work in a suit with no air. Sorry."

Needless to say, I have not worked for that agent again.

Frankly, I'm not so sure I WANT to...! ;)

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.