02/25/2007 - 9:21 p.m.

The Whizzer of Chaillot

All of us have heard of the Wizard of Oz. Most of us have heard of the wizard, Harry Potter. Few of us had heard of the Whizzer of Chaillot. Yes, I said whizzer. The boy was not a wizard at all. He was merely a whizzer. But he sure caused excitement.

We were at a college production of "The Madwoman of Chaillot" last night. There were signs that the planets were not really aligned for the production even before it started. For one, the weather was atrocious. There had been an ice storm and ice was everywhere. Branches were down. Much of the town was without power. After the ice had come the rain and there was a lake right in the middle of campus where there usually was grass and sidewalk. We had eaten dinner at the campus snack bar because we had not wanted to drive anywhere.

Second, a cast member was sick and in the hospital. I knew of this problem from the beginning because I was sitting behind the director, one of Kat's favorite professors, when he was told of the illness. They held the beginning of the show as they parsed out the lines to other characters. What I did not know is that they also held up the show for another character to finish vomiting. But the show must go on and start they did.

The first act seemed to go without any obvious hitches, although I did see the lights blink once or twice and I held my breath that they would not go off. The lights stayed on---then.

But intermission, oh, intermission! Recently, at a different play, I was walking up the aisle at intermission and heard a small child say, "Is it halftime, Daddy?" I remember thinking that it could not be halftime without a show. Suffice it to say that the intermission last night had a show.

During the first act, I had noticed a young man across the aisle who appeared to be sleeping. I did not think much of it. I should have. At intermission, the three people sitting in the row in front of me, nearest the aisle, got up and left, leaving their coats behind on their seats. The young man wandered across the aisle and stood there for a moment. I turned to talk to the people next to me, looked back, and saw the young man blankly unzipping his fly and proceeding to behave as though he believed he was at a urinal. "Stop. Stop," commanded FogieKnight firmly but somewhat gently. "This is not a bathroom." "I'm okay," mumbled the kid as FogieKnight started waving and snapping his fingers at him to get him to come to. FogieKnight and two college students (or one alum, I'm not sure), then scurried him up the aisle.

The director, directly in front of me, had turned just as the stream began coming toward him and got all over the coats, the seats, and the floor. He was stunned. He was shocked. He and I went to call security and then he went off to try to help with the coats and the floor and the need of the poor people who owned the coats to have something dry to venture out in the storm in.

I wish I could say that security came, intermission ended, and the play went on. That's almost how it went. Security came and dealt with the young man, I went to the real bathroom, and then the lights went off. Eventually, they came back on and the show went on.

But you can keep your wardrobe malfunctions. For excitement, you can't beat the Whizzer of Chaillot.

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