It’s pretty common to find bats in theatres. It’s perfectly understandable. Most theatres resemble musty dark caves. They’re probably indistinguishable from the real thing by your run-of-the-mill bat. Usually you’ll catch a quick glimpse of them and you’re really not sure if you saw one or not. But sometimes they really make their presence known.
Which brings me to a little incident we had on opening night. The short version of the story is that a bat swooped the stage relentlessly to the point that I had to make a judgement call to pause the show. Stopping a show is not an easy choice to make. The second most important thing you learn in theatre school is The Show Must Go On (the first is Be On Time). There, I just saved you $2,000 in tuition.
We ignored the bat for a good long time but it was taking the audience out of the world of the play. They had stopped paying attention to a word we were saying. The show became about the actors and the bat, not about Barney and Jeanette. Besides which, we were starting to set up the really hard part of the act, the part that makes sense of all the folly that came before. So we took a brief pause, didn’t leave the stage, and the bat left. And then we just launched back right where we stopped. And the rest of the show was fantastic. The focus we got from the audience was intense.
Over to you – Have you ever had to stop a show? Why?