We all arrived to the theatre in the pouring rain. If it rains in Saratoga everything is fine, there's a roof, but at the Theatro Roma, you are out in the elements. So we all bunkered down in our metal sheds (our dressing room were literally metal shipping containers. You have yet to experience the true fear of a lightning storm until you spend one sitting in a metal box.) and waited to see what was going to happen.
Even though the crew covered the stage with plastic to keep it dry, it got soaked as they carlessly removed it, dumping the water right back on to the stage. We all watched as the crew tried to dry the stage with wads of paper towels wrapped around poles, not a very effective tool.
At around 9:30, before our 10pm performance, the promoter's assistant came and told us that the show was 100% cancelled, but that we would have to wait until 10:15 to leave, so that they could tell the audience to go home without seeing us skipping off to an early dinner.
We were all elated. Not only did we get the night off, but we would still be getting paid. Take that 'Act of god' clause. Oh, but that's when the shit went down...
Our promoter, let's call her Alessandra F. (I know people Google themselves, and I'd love to get a giant stack of cash again some day) finally arrives on the scene and is not thrilled that her assistant has cancelled without her.
"Wendy! Why aren't you in make-up?"
"We were told the show's off. The stage is wet."
"No,No. I once danced Romeo and Juliet with a puddle on the stage. If you stepped in it, you could get splashed."
Well that stage she wanted us to dance on was soaked. I mean SOAKED.
Things got weird as the leaders of each dancing group tried to decide how dangerous it would be to actually dance. The head of the Wayne McGregor group basically said "Fuck off, We're out of here."
I guess we came up short in the balls department, because we were forced to got out in front of the audience and test out how bad the stage was. As if we could go out there and say "Nope, Sorry that your tickets aren't refundable. Smell ya later." So it was said, You WILL dance.
To the credit of the crew, they were able to get the stage rather dry, but since most of the night was spent trying to figure out weather or not we would dance, none of us had warmed up and we were pretty emotionally drained.
On went our costumes, the ladies refused to wear point shoes and fussed about trying to find flat shoes. We all figured that we should just take it easy. Well, by the time the lights came up, so did the humidity. What started out as a freshly dried stage became a sopping wet skating rink. You could see the pools forming before your very eyes. And then, the falling began.
You could not for the life of you keep you feet beneath you. It was impossible. Normally you wish people "merde" before they leave the wings, but now we were all saying "be careful", "look out for the giant lake that is forming out near quarter", "Quick! Go get some mother-fucking sandbags!"
I've never seen so many people fall in one ballet. And it would just come out of no where. Usually you can see a fall coming seconds before gravity take it sweet revenge, but this was mother nature with a snipper riffle. Step step BAM. You're down bitch. How does it feel? I could see people in the audience wincing as we bobbled about. This was the NASCAR of the art world. A brilliantly performed snuff film.
I was feeling pretty lucky towards the end of the ballet, I had only a minor slip, but my ass had yet to touch the stage. Then the finale began. All of the men enter in giant circle around the ladies, we do a couple of jumps and the run to our partners, and WHAM! Right in front of me, Sean is on his face. I reach down and pick him up to his feet, check that he's okay, he is, and we continued. Sean was the icing on our cake. Enough falling. Sean and I smile at each other as we start our little dance together, and Oh Shit, my turn to bite it. I can't remember the last time I've fallen on stage, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't followed by an audience of Italians cheering. They cheered and cheered. They too had seen enough falling. They finally realized what we were risking for their pleasure. We had given them more than they had purchased. We fucking gave them dance to the highest degree. We could have pulled diva and walked off, but we were more committed to that performance and to each other that we ever had in the past. Did the rain make us better dancers, I doubt it, but the amount of extra care that I required took us to a higher plane.
We all came away mostly unhurt, and with an amazing story that we are sure no one will be able to truly grasp. Oh, and Rebecca didn't fall.