People always ask us has anything ever gone wrong in a show? The answer is OF COURSE! If you perform hundreds of shows a year, something is bound to happen. Most of the time, however, our audience is never aware that we’ve narrowly avoided a disaster. Kyle has been performing professionally for almost 20 years, and I have only been with him for the last five but I can think of several examples of things going wrong. You can always count on technology to fail, and during some of our routines the camera has failed, his microphone stops without warning, and we’ve been left in complete darkness onstage because the lights have gone out. Just recently a stagehand messed up his very first cue in the show where I was supposed to magically appear onstage. His mistake took away the possibility for my grand entrance, and I was forced to just dance onstage, make up the choreography as I go, killing time until the next cue.
Another example is when a prop was pushed too close to the mid-stage curtain, and as the curtain came up it caught the prop and brought it up in the air with it. The prop fell back to the stage and literally broke in half in front of the audience. That same trouble making illusion has a latch on the bottom of it and at the end of the effect I step out to take my bow. I’m barefooted and wearing fishnets and on another night my fishnets got caught onto the latch, and as I walked downstage I dragged the prop with me until my tights finally ripped free. How graceful!
You name it, it’s happened. We’ve had drunk people wander onstage, costume malfunctions, and Kyle and I both have even had serious injuries during the show but because we didn’t stop, the audience was never aware.
The funniest example that I can think of was when Kyle borrowed a woman’s ring and made it disappear, only to reappear inside of a locked box on the other side of the stage. The lady walked across the stage and attempted to unlock the box, but instead she broke the key in the lock, preventing any of us from getting to her ring. (See, we told you that box is really locked!) She was confused as she went back to her seat empty handed, but with the help of some strong stagehands and a hack saw we got the ring out of the box. We even made it magically reappear later on in the show!
Not all mistakes end so well though, we’ve had an illusion tip over onstage before and show the audience more than they planned on seeing. Fortunately though, Kyle’s a pro and he had the audience laughing at his candor, and we even got a standing ovation. An experienced performer will be able to handle anything that happens onstage, and ultimately the audience will appreciate him or her even more when they see that they can handle themselves under pressure. That’s the beauty of live theater, it’s real, there are no retakes or edits, and the most amazing feat we’ll ever perform is creating the illusion of a perfect show.