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Giggling at the Ballet? Or other performances!


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With a couple of people mentioning getting the giggles during some over-enthusiastic flower-throwing in Giselle, and technical mishaps during Sleeping Beauty, I thought it would be fun to start a thread on the subject.

 

Who has had a fit of the giggles during a ballet performance?  Or an opera?  Or play?  Concert?  What/who made you laugh?

 

Over to you!

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A few years ago I went to a concert of a local London 'symphony orchestra.'    They were pretty dire, but tried hard.  The conductor was quite unpopular, and took himself way too seriously.  At this concert, someone applauded at the end of the first movement of a symphony, instead of waiting until the end.  The conductor turned around and gave this poor woman such a filthy glare that a few of us started giggling.  He turned back to face the orchestra, but someone's stifled giggle turned into a snort, which made others start.  He then stood there, silently, not moving, and the more he did nothing, the more we giggled.  We could see some of the orchestra trying to avoid even cracking a smile.  It was like being in primary school all over again.  Or like the scene in the film Life of Brian when the Roman soldiers are trying not to laugh.  Eventually the concert started again....but I wish it hadn't!!  :)  

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Final act of Romeo and Juliet at ROH, can't remember when:  Romeo rushing into the crypt still in the jogging pants he had worn in the interval.  I hope I don't mis-remember but I think it was Stuart Cassidy.  Of course he was on stage for the entire act so had to manage the fight with Paris, the heart-rending attempts to revive Juliet and his own suicide while dressed as if for a work-out.  

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I remember the much loved (and rather well endowed)Rita Hunter singing Brunhilde and managing to put her foot through a large artificial rock.The lovely lady kept singing while trying to wrestle her foot out of the scenery to muffled giggles from the audience. The Ring seems to be made for mishaps - on another occasion Siegfried slew the Dragon most dramatically and the audience was treated to the sound of an ambulance siren just outside the theatre.

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Not ballet... but a few years ago I went to see Les Mis with my mum and sister. Without spoiling it for anyone who doesn’t know the story, it gets a bit emotional towards the end and I certainly felt a tear beginning to silently well in my eye. Unfortunately the performance was overwhelming for a patron a few rows in front of us, who burst into tears and started sobbing quite loudly. I did feel for her, but it definitely broke the spell for much of the audience who promptly burst into giggles.

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6 minutes ago, ninamargaret said:

I remember the much loved (and rather well endowed)Rita Hunter singing Brunhilde and managing to put her foot through a large artificial rock.The lovely lady kept singing while trying to wrestle her foot out of the scenery to muffled giggles from the audience.

 

I'm currently picturing Shirley Bassey (Burly Chassis) singing Smoke Gets In Your Eyes... B)

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Remembering back to my student days and the weekly cinema club, held in the main lecture auditorium. During a steamy sex scene there was almost utter silence, until a lone soul exclaimed - booooorrring!

immediate hilarity let alone giggles, though the film suffered somewhat (though I can’t for the life of me remember what it was now) 

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Not during a performance, but years ago me and my mum were invited to a neighbour's very fancy wedding. Not being family, we sat at the back of the church. Just as the vows started, my mum started giggling, and whispered that she couldn't stop. At which point I started too. Our shoulders were going up and down and we were both in fits of laughter; simply for no other reason than trying to stop laughing, and finding it impossible. In the end, we both had to quietly creep out of the church.  We went back in later and afterwards, the bride gave us both a filthy look !

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And I got the giggles years ago at a performance of, I think, Raymonda Act3. The lead make dancer, who is no longer with us and shall be nameless, was somewhat past it, and during his solo executed a series of rather clumsy entrechats jumping about three inches off the ground. I'm afraid I wasn't the only one to get the giggles.

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I was in a performance of The Gondoliers years ago at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival and was standing in the wings with the rest of the ladies’ chorus while the tenor sang “Take a pair of sparkling eyes”. Sometime early in the second verse, there was a power cut, and the stage and auditorium were plunged into darkness. Somehow both singer and orchestra managed to keep going for the few bars until the lights suddenly came back on - perfectly timed to coincide with the line “Growing on the sunny side”. Which of course got a roar of laughter from the audience.

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6 hours ago, AnneMarriott said:

Final act of Romeo and Juliet at ROH, can't remember when:  Romeo rushing into the crypt still in the jogging pants he had worn in the interval.  I hope I don't mis-remember but I think it was Stuart Cassidy.  Of course he was on stage for the entire act so had to manage the fight with Paris, the heart-rending attempts to revive Juliet and his own suicide while dressed as if for a work-out.  

 

It was indeed Cass, and his debut, I think: I remember reading about it in an interview with him a few years afterwards.  I seem to remember he said at least it was just a plain grey pair rather than a stripey one!

 

5 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I'm currently picturing Shirley Bassey (Burly Chassis) singing Smoke Gets In Your Eyes... B)

 

Me too :)

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A couple of giggles from the BRB. When they were doing Slaughter On Tenth Avenue in the Lowry, the gangster can't just sneak into a box during the performance like in other theatres, but has to occupy the front of the balcony while the audience are coming in. One had a little joke with the orchestra, saying "That's a nice violin case, I've got one just like it" and "Play the theme from The Godfather".

 

I also have a little giggle during The Nutcracker, especially the Arabian. When I hear it, I immediately think "I saw Holmes, what was that?" which comes from Spike Jones version. Also during the Chinese, with "Light your fireclacker, bang up Clistmas".

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I remember a Romeo performance at Stuttgart which was kind of doomed - at first AD Reid Anderson stood in front of the curtain and said "everybody's fine, but we have a harp problem", because the harp player was not there. Then everything went fine until Juliet's bier, which in Cranko's version is lowered from a balcony down in her grave, got stuck, then toppled, and she slid down and had to stand up - it is dark of course, but you can see the white dress, so the "dead" Juliet moved and everybody giggled. After the performance,  one of the flower throwers overdid it and fell in the orchestra pit - nobody was injured, neither Juliet not the flower thrower, but wow, what an exciting evening.

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I too remember Stuart Cassidy's jogging pants debut in the tomb scene from R&J. He got full marks for carrying on regardless, but I wonder what was said after the performance?

I used to giggle at the dear pussy-cats in "Beauty" and at the 4 Cygnets in "Swan Lake". Now I am more likely to let out an anguished scream.

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My wife has a tale or two from her time with the RB Touring Company.  One that seems to fit here concerns a performance of The Two Pigeons in Norwich.  The curtain began to go up and action on stage had begun; the curtain jammed and still the feet could be seen doing Fred's steps to the music.  Frantic efforts got the curtain to rise, but only in discrete stages, and it was apparently some time before the full panoply was revealed.

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Just remembered that performance of Fille a few years ago when the pony (can't remember his name) came on a little too far downstage; and so with every step he took, the backcloth came with him... Even the dancers were laughing.

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1 hour ago, Jillykins said:

End of Les Patineurs many years ago during spectacular pirouettes at the end the dancers shoe flew into the audience! Brian Shaw springs to mind but my memory is very unreliable. There was much laughing and applause. 

I wonder how many rehearsals it took to perfect that.

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I think Peregrine had a few accidents in the last run of Fille and the sweeper upper was on overtime.  I also recall the non appearance of the Nutcracker sleigh at the end of Act 1, Clara, Hans Peter and Drosselmeier having to walk.

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A  Bayadere many years ago- sets and costumes a bit the worse for wear- and an exotic jungle scene was inhabited by animals represented by stuffed toys with smiley faces that looked like the cast of Winnie the Pooh...the way they peeped through the foliage was just too much- you could feel the row of seats shaking with audience laughter

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53 minutes ago, bridiem said:

Just remembered that performance of Fille a few years ago when the pony (can't remember his name) came on a little too far downstage; and so with every step he took, the backcloth came with him... Even the dancers were laughing.

 

Oops! Meant upstage. (And he did upstage the dancers, in fact.)

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7 hours ago, JohnS said:

I think Peregrine had a few accidents in the last run of Fille and the sweeper upper was on overtime.  I also recall the non appearance of the Nutcracker sleigh at the end of Act 1, Clara, Hans Peter and Drosselmeier having to walk.

 

Last season? I was at that one. I don’t recall much laughter though - I assume a lot of your average Nutcracker audience don’t know it’s meant to be there.

 

I remember having a good giggle one night in the last (2013) run of ROH Bayadère when Nikiya died of natural causes after the snake visibly dropped out of the basket at the beginning of her solo. It was Marquez replacing Cojocaru, I think.

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