Take A Step Back…
We have a fantastic production of PETER PAN on stage. Come see it!
But let’s take a step back to DAMN YANKEES and see what the devil has to say…
Mr. Applegate’s Shtick Exshplained
by the devilish Stephen Turner
Our production of Damn Yankees was by far the most fun I’ve ever had on a stage in my life. This is because there were many points in my track where I was allowed to go ‘off-script’. Some of them happened every show, and some of them happened only when certain circumstances occured. When asked what I would write if I were to write a blog about the The Candlelight, the different permutations of my show came to mind. Few people were able to see EVERY performance of Damn Yankees, so there was plenty about this production fans of the Candlelight may have missed.
If one came to see the show early in the run, they would have missed the repeated line gag Pat (Old Joe) and I inserted halfway through. My previous line to this cue was “I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t want to have those damn Yankees win”. Pat’s next line, was, “You can say that again.” Early on in the run I would have just said, “It’s a deal?” which is the next line, but later on you would have heard me say, “I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t want to have those Damn Yankees win” a second time. It’s a repeat of the same joke we used in Guys and Dolls a year ago: “Haha, with them dice, he cannot make a pass to save his soul,” “What did you just say?” …you get the picture.
The second off-script moment in my show would occur if there was an error in my second cigarette trick. Now, without fail I would be able to produce a cigarette. However, I failed several times trying to get the flash of light to happen. If this occured on the first cigarette trick in the first scene, I would ignore it. I still was able to produce a cigarette, and people in the audience didn’t know that they missed a flash of light. However, I’d have to go off-script if it happened with the second trick. My previous line is, “The only thing that’s absolutely effortless is the cigarette trick” If the flash didn’t go off initially, I would say, “Well, not abslutely effortless…” Sometimes after that the flash would go off and we’d go on with the scene, however, most of the time it didn’t. Later on in the run, I would add, “Ah, here it is!” and give a wink to the audience with the cigarette in my mouth. I produced the cigarette, after all, just not the flash. Once during this bit I lit my face on fire for a brief second. It singed off the edges of my eyebrows and produced a horrible stink. Kudos to Chance (Young Joe) for keeping a straight face during all of it. Luckily my face didn’t stay on fire, or I wouldn’t be writing this blog.
Near the end of the run Barb (Meg) and I came up with some shtick that we never used near the end of the run. There’s a part where she answers the door and I flash a badge and say, “I’m from City Hall”. Her response is, “From where?” and I then say, “City Hall, just serving official notice in the neighborhood”. The bit would have been fairly simple. I flash my badge upside-down and say, “I’m from HALL CITY”, she responds with, “From where?” I look at the badge, notice it’s upside-down, flip it, and say, “City Hall….” We thought of it too late to put it in the show.
My “Whatever Lola Wants” dance actually never changed from the start of the run to the end of it. I only mention it here because it was always my best laugh in the show. Sometimes the best bits are the ones that are not in any way spontaneous.
Now we come to the song. The song was always the same up to the point at which I would step into the audience. And then it was what I thought to myself as “play time”. Usually after “Was anybody happy” I would point at someone and say, “Don’t smile at me”. However, if there were a special group in the audience (perhaps from Torrington, Wyoming) I would say something like, “And was there anybody living…in Torrington?” After that I would shift my gaze slowly to where the group was sitting. After the main song was over I would scan for children and if I found one I would say, “I love children…for breakfast” . Then as I got on the bannister I would say, “Excuse me while I get more comfortable” Then I would turn around to the folks in A and say, “You folks get my good side”. Then I would say, “Don’t touch me” as if somebody decided to. This bit developed because people actually would touch me if I didn’t say it. Then I would do the wet fingers sizzling on the butt bit. I would start the ‘lounge’ reprise and then my next bit was sneaking behind somebody, usually an older woman on “Electric Chair”. I would sometimes feign shock at her reaction on my own part there and then I’d say, “Most people found it shocking” This is where a number of things could happen. I could say, “I love it when they jump/scream” I could say, “It’s too bad I only scared you half to death….let’s see what happens when I do it again”. I could then say, “It was good for me, was it good/bad for you?” This was where a tree would occur. If they answered I would say, “Don’t talk to me” completing the trilogy. If they didn’t, I’d say, “This is the interactive part, you know.” If they then talked I’d say, “Shut up” (Sadly, this permutation only occured once) If they didn’t I would stare at them for a second until I got a laugh, and then I’d drink their water. Also, near the end of the run I made up the ‘young lady’ routine. If the woman was young I’d say, “You look like a nice young lady, I may have a job opening for you. The pay’s great, the location’s hell.” I tried several failed bits also at this point that I won’t repeat here; perhaps you got to see one of them. I liked sitting on laps but didn’t do it much. Once in this position I made a deal with a woman that I’d go on with the song and stop bothering her in exchange for her water glass. I also would have loved to do an eating their dessert bit, but nobody ever had any dessert left over. That’s a credit to our desserts at the Candlelight, I think.
My hairography that I used for the end of the show was rarely consistent. Sometimes I had too few chemicals in my hair to make proper horns, sometimes too many. Mid-run my hair was too long to stand up straight no matter what chemicals I’d use. Once I used some chemical that I could only describe as ‘Gorilla Glue for hair’. It worked, but I couldn’t do anything with my hair afterwards. That’s when I decided to cut it shorter so it would behave better.
That’s pretty much it. The rest of my show was scripted. I suppose we went off-script when the fire alarm sounded during my first scene with Lola on opening weekend. That was fun. I have a list of flubs that people (mostly me) made throughout the run that is too long to share here. Perhaps I’ll write another blog.