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  • Writer's pictureSara Gauci

Theatre Stories to Make You Laugh!

Updated: Mar 26, 2020


No doubt, these are not the best of times right now. For anyone.

From a performer’s perspective, personally, I found myself looking through previous production pictures, and obviously, all the memories came rushing back. All the show antics, both onstage and off. All the mistakes and almost mishaps that are never seen by the audience – because of course, theatre magic.


So, I thought, what better way to pass this time when we’re not currently backstage panicking over opening night than to share these thirteen hilarious stories from some of our own theatre artists.

From mishaps during a show, to production week antics, to onstage pranks, to even vomit stories (yes, they happen). I invite you to laugh out loud, share with friends, and spread the laughter with others that miss the theatre right now.



 
Photo by: Justin Mamo

One time as part of "Prank Night', the cast got me really bad. I was playing Prince Charming (disguised as buttons) in a scene opposite Denise Mulholland who was playing Cinderella’s evil stepmother. As part of her costume, She wore this huge wig that was like a tree bark with loads of vines and leaves wrapped around it. During the final show, one of the choruses planned with Denise to hide a small squirrel hand puppet within the wig. Now, because I don’t wear my glasses on stage, I didn’t notice it in the scene, but as she turned around to walk off ... I just died. Completely and uncontrollably laughing with tears pouring down my face.

The cast banded together to say my lines. Because I was just finished.

- Chiara Hyzler




 
Photo by: Jeremy Debattista


At the very end of Fiddler On The Roof (2014) I had a wagon (that was full of stuff since the townspeople were leaving their homes) and we were saying bye to all the sisters and it’s a very heart breaking scene. I go to pick up a bundle or something, and this wagon just toppled over, it unbalanced and completely fell. And it was exactly at the time when my sister (in the show) comes on stage and I had to gasp her name ‘Chava!’ and that’s when it fell. A cast member was backstage, and he just couldn’t stop laughing. He was in the first wing and I could literally see him collapse with laughter after my big mistake. And I was meant to have this really dramatic moment and trying to keep a straight face, so that was really difficult.


- Maxine Aquilina


 


At the Manoel Theatre, I had to exit one side of the stage, and run all the way to the other wing in less than 12-15 seconds to make the next entrance. I had to run through a bunch of children waiting to go on stage.


Unfortunately, I didn't make it in time, and we had made a joke that I got stuck in traffic, trying to find parking for my horse.


- Gianni Selvaggi










Photo By Justin Mamo


 
Photo by: Jeremy Debattista

From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We did the musical "Into The Woods", and we had this huge haunted house as our set. I was playing the Baker’s Wife and my friend was playing Cinderella. The plot revolves very heavily around a cow (as white as milk), a cape (as red as blood), the hair (as yellow as corn), and the slipper (as pure as gold).


Opening night, we have all the reviewers, the nerves are really high, and we’re backstage.

I really have to reiterate how important these shoes are; both for Cinderella who wears them, and for the Baker’s Wife who needs it throughout the show. We cannot find these shoes. Anywhere. It’s literally 5mins to curtain up.

We were panicking, running backstage, looking under every box, under every single thing, for these blessed shoes. 4mins to go. 3mins to go.

My brain is going in overdrive trying to think – How am I going to get through the show, am I going to mime the shoe, are we going to use a red shoe – what the hell are we going to do?!


With seconds to go, we finally find these shoes. Very carefully placed where my friend does all of her quick changes and I honestly could have killed her. I was like ‘You’re joking. Out of everywhere, you didn’t look at the one place where you should have put them?’ All was well. (My friend would never say this was a funny story because it was horrendously scary - for her.)

- Maxine Aquilina



 
Photo by: Justin Mamo

During "Jack and the Beanstalk" (MADC Panto 2018), I was working for the backstage/wardrobe team, and I was in charge of dressing some of the boys.


At a point in the show, there was a quick change where they change out of these cloud-shaped wigs and onesies and into another onesie that looked like a cockroach.

I was changing two boys at once, one of which was short, and the other was significantly much taller. I set them as I usually had in the last 5 shows or so but that day for some reason, we didn't have proper lighting.


So, time for the quick change and the boys come running so I change them as I always had, I took off their previous costumes and put this cockroach costume on. Before they went on stage the taller one of the guys tells me that his costume feels tight but before he can say anything else, he runs onstage.


As they are dancing I can tell that the taller guy's costume is sticking to him more than usual and he is struggling to move, then I realized that the other guy's costume was huge on him - it was just hanging off him.

When they came back to the dressing room the taller guy came running in panting.

He couldn't breathe because it was so tight! We were actually all surprised he didn't rip it.

In the darkness, I must have switched their costumes!

- Nicole Sciberras



 
Photo by: Jeremy Debattista

This one happened recently in "The Importance of Being Earnest" (2020).


I’m in the dressing room (and there was a time in the show where I got used to being in there alone cause everyone else was on stage for example.)

I shared it with two female cast members.

I was chatting to one of them in the room and the ASM on the Tannoy goes ‘2mins to curtain up for act 2"

Act 2 starts with everyone on stage.

"Ok, house to half". And I’m looking at my friend and I tell her ‘I’m never in here with you right now".

And when it clicked, I go - "I'll YOU HAVE TO BE ON STAGE WHY ARE YOU BACKSTAGE’" and she goes - "what, what do you mean?’" I tell her that she starts act 2 on stage. Act 2 is happening now. Literally they’re opening the curtains. "RUN!"

And she gets up, grabs her glasses, "OH MY GOD OH MY WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! YOU SEE MY HEAD I’VE LOST IT!"

And I’m there like "IWA GO SHUT UP AND GO!’"

She runs straight to the stage and makes it right on time. Everyone panicking “Where is she? Where is she??” They managed.

- Maxine Aquilina


 
Photo by: Jacob Sammut

This is what I like to call a ‘Panto Magic Moment’ During FM’s "Sleeping Beauty Panto" (2018) I played one of the henchmen ‘Korr’ with my friend Karen, who played ‘Zjoni’ – Get it? (Korr u Zjoni hehe).

We had a scene early on where we had to put on two barrels that were made to look like massive Chinese kettles. They were very uncomfortable… Anyhow, we used to wait backstage to get a small run-up to get on the stage (since the revolve elevated the stage a bit, we needed some space as the barrels were massive)

One fine day, someone decided to stay in the wings a little bit longer… I attempted to get onto the stage, lost my footing because of the limited space, I fell face first and broke the handle of kettle. At this moment I look to the opposite side of the stage and see our Set Builder Colin look at me and say ‘Bugger’ (he didn’t say bugger, but I can’t repeat what he said :P) He grabbed a drill, ran backstage to get to my side (15secs before my cue to enter!!) He lifts me up, screws in the handle in two jabs and we make it perfectly in time for our entrance as if nothing ever happened. It was a great moment.

- Rambert Attard



 

We were backstage in the middle of a long technical rehearsal for panto a few years back. We decided to order food, and as I was doing so, I decided to imitate (as I do) one of my friends (let’s call her Mandy) - by putting on her accent over the phone while ordering pizza. As I got off the phone, I hear a very angry director shouting: "Can you please stop talking, Mandy, your microphone is on!"

- Antonella Mifsud











 
Photo by: Justin Mamo

In the last FM Panto (The Little Mermaid), my flying friend Plum decided to leave me hanging in my fish costume in between shows, suspended 7m in the air, inviting all the cast to come and take photos and mock me.

Because I was a fish, it was not comfortable at all and I had no way to maneuver.

He also turned off the lights as everyone walked away…

- Chiara Hyzler















 

(Writer’s Note – I was there for this one. I must say it was hilarious. Sorry Chiara!)


So, Malcolm Galea and I, have worked together a number of times - and with each production, backstage pranks would ensue.

From "The History Boys" and hiding each other's flip-flops, to "Much Ado about Nothing" when Malcolm randomly lifted me upside down while in an argument with his character - but the best prank that I’ve ever pulled on Malcolm was in the play "The Price of One". We had just moved into the theatre and there were torsos of mannequins just laying around. (Don’t ask)

While I was on stage, Malcolm thought it would be funny to take the ugliest mannequin (with a bald head and fluffy mustache) and proceed to dress him up in my scarf, jacket, and glasses - for me to surprisingly find waiting for me in my dressing room. The next day, it was payback time.


I arrived at the theatre early, took the mannequin and placed him within the bathroom closest to Malcolm's dressing room. I then taped a newspaper to the mannequin’s hands and placed him sitting upright, waiting for his victim. I tried my best as much as possible to leave the other cubicles closed, hoping Malcolm would walk right into my trap. I heard him arriving, with his usual "Aw dude" - and dropped his stuff in his dressing room. He started walking towards the cubicles - and he walked right into it.

Malcolm recoiled as he opened the door and thought he had just walked onto one of the theatre's workers casually reading his newspaper and going about his business. Malcolm let out this 'Sorry, sorry!' Which I can still hear even as I’m writing this out.

- Andre Agius



 

I was having a heated argument - sorry - discussion with a co-director.

And me, thinking I’m unstoppable (and, of course, right) stupidly missed a metal pole standing very close to my arm and hit my arm really hard.

I totally lost my cool but kept on trying to make my point. My colleague was quick to argue back with: ‘are you okay?’ and I was quick to answer, ‘I’m fine... but it really hurts’. And I walked away (the wonderful co-director followed the argument up with a lovely iced coffee which made it all better).

- Antonella Mifsud








 
Photo by: Jacob Sammut

This was during "We Will Rock You" last October. We were warming up 2 hours before the show and one of my close friends, Tezara, grabs me whilst I’m warming up and says "Madoff, Ram, I need you".

At this point, I thought something bad happened and I panicked…. She leads me to the toilet and as soon as I enter I see brown chunks everywhere (yes brown chunks… a la Jackson Pollock)

This is when she tells me "I couldn’t contain it, it just went everywhere".

I thought - "what in the hell did she eat? I mean what the hell?"

Then she points towards the sink and I see a protein bottle with the contents of it splattered all over the sink.

Then it dawned on me and I told her "Ahhhhh the shake exploded! I thought you just shat all over the place". We looked at each other and ugly laughed for 15 mins!

- Rambert Attard



 
Photo by: Mattia Scicluna

During A "Princess and the Pea" Panto (MADC, 2011), I had a really bad migraine and I had a headdress on – a really big headdress with a lot of feathers and stuff on it.

While I was on stage with this headdress on and singing and dancing, I felt this rush of VOM, and I flew off the stage and vomited in the bucket that was holding the set up…

- Tezara Saliba








 
Photo by: Justin Mamo

This is less funny and sadder as I and the entire cast got food poisoning on stage from some rice we ate before the show (prepared by our director).

We did the entire show sitting down with people walking off at random points to vomit and come back on.

At a point there was a line along the lines of "When will this be over?’"and someone from the audience (Chris Gatt) shouted "That’s what I’d like to know!!" because we ran the show into 3hrs!

- Chiara Hyzler












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