Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Fast Change

I have always worked well under pressure. 

Until that stinkin' fast change. 

I have one verse of "76 Trombones" to accomplish my mission. Mission Impossible. 

For most people. 

Unless they're stinkin' Process Improvement Geniuses, like me.  Yes. That makes me a PIG.

First I need to climb down 3 steps on stage - in pitch black. Without tripping over my toga. Then I have to merge into a crowd of other actors, who are also rushing offstage (not unlike a Black Friday Frenzy.) 

After bursting free of the mob, I must race to where I've set my costume, remove my toga and put on a 45 pound marching band jacket. I have to roll down my marching band pants which have been cleverly hidden beneath my toga, replace the ivy on my head with a marching band helmet, grab my French Horn and run back to the wings of the theatre for the curtain call. 

Before the second verse begins. 

On my first attempt I missed my bow altogether (which is a real tragedy for someone like me)

So I conducted a postmortem process analysis and determined that if I stealthily made my way down the stairs before the lights went out, and pre-set my French Horn adjacent to my band jacket, I could shave 17 seconds off the process. 

The second attempt was more successful, in that I did make it on stage for the bow. 

However, the silver chain on my hat was resting on my nose, and my band jacket was completely unsnapped. In fact, had it not been for my French Horn, I would have had a Janet Jackson moment.

 More process improvements were in order. 

The next day I removed my toga belt onstage, and, at the risk of causing permanent emotional scarring on my cast mates, I began to disrobe while running through the wings. I also abandoned any attempt at fastening my jacket (since the French Horn had been relatively effective at hiding the girls).

Except the director made an announcement that all helmets had to be secured in place. WHAT?  And the jackets had to be fastened. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

And perhaps I should bake a batch of cookies during the fast change while I'm at it. 

All was going well on the third attempt until I realized I'd forgotten to grab my French Horn. As I reached down to get it, my helmet fell off, taking my wig with it.  

My wig was also an issue on the fourth attempt; it catapulted off my head as I removed my toga... which led me to increase the size of the neck opening on the toga.  

Tonight was opening night. I was nervous, but confident. 

My French Horn and uniform awaited my arrival. I stealthily climbed down the stairs, and untied my toga belt. As the lights went down I bolted into the wings, pulling my toga over my shoulders. It slipped over my head without incident. I removed the ivy, rolled down my band pants, slipped into my jacket, strapped on the helmet, picked up my instrument and ran to the wings.

 With 2.5 seconds to spare. 

"Wait!" I said. "Let me take those cookies out of the oven."

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