The end of 2011 - and a belated reveal...

With the exception of our dear friend Earnest, who’ll be carrying on into 2012, it’s almost time to close the curtains on our 2011 Season. What a year it’s been – and what fun we’ve had. Looking back, there’s been so many fantastic moments that it’s hard to summarise them in one short post. So instead, we thought we’d share something with you that we’ve been sitting on, almost for a whole year.

One of the challenges we always face is trying to share fun, behind-the-scenes info with you all, without giving the game away. In the same way that the ending of The Sixth Sense wouldn’t be as shocking if you knew Bruce Willis was already dead (oops – too much info?), we don’t want to ruin a great on-stage surprise for you; we want you to experience it – and be shocked by it – in the theatre.

Anyone who’d read the script for A Behanding in Spokane or seen the play in the US would know about the suitcase full of rotting, dismembered hands; but we were betting that most of you didn’t. And so it was that we had one big juicy secret – or a hundred, depending on how you look at it – that we simply couldn’t share with you earlier in the year. Tucked away in the back of our wardrobe department was a hand making factory, where a dedicated team enjoyed countless hours of moulding, distressing and gorification. Anyone who stopped by for morning tea was soon to be put off their bikkies when they caught sight of this lot (those with weak stomachs should look away now).

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Much as we wanted to share the progress, we had to keep it under wraps until we finally flung open the suitcase full of bloody, goop-filled hands in early February. Many of you would have only seen them from a distance, so for those of you who like detail, here – without further ado – is your first close-up look at our dearly behanded…

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Pretty impressive don’t you think? And my, didn’t they make for some fun. In one of our more outrageous scenes in recent years, the hands – with glistening goop attached – were flung backwards and forwards across the stage by our cast members, in a bizarrely literal fist fight. But try as the cast might to contain their enthusiasm to the confines of the stage, the odd hand (or two, or three) found its way into the audience by accident on a couple of occasions. Apologies to anyone that got hit!

That wasn’t the only incident of flying objects in the play that didn’t quite go according to plan each night. You may remember the scene where Toby (Bert LaBonté) attempts to throw shoes at a candle that’s wedged in a drum of patrol, in an attempt to snuff it out before the drum explodes. In the script, Toby misses every time. But it’s actually pretty tricky to intentionally MISS something on every throw – particularly if you do it often enough (think four throws, eight times a week, for five weeks). Bert LaBonté discovered this during one performance, when he did not, in fact, miss, but landed his shoe directly on top of the candle. Since the scene revolved around the candle staying lit, our Assistant Stage Manager was forced to make a cameo appearance that night, armed with her trusty fire-lighter.

On stage accidents – and great, sometimes ridiculous reveals – are just some of the reasons you can’t beat live theatre. We’ll try to share as much of our 2012 Season with you as we can – here on the blog, on Facebook and Twitter, and in our e-news – but there’s some things you just have to experience from your seat. With such a diverse season ahead of us, there’s sure to be many incredible – and spontaneous – moments that you won’t want to miss. We look forward to sharing them with you!

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