Well, tonight was interesting.
About halfway through Act II of Next Fall, we had to stop the show. During the blackout, i heard a little commotion in the audience, but just assumed it was one of the drunken women from the back row. (psst. I’m RIGHT BEHIND YOU. I can HEAR YOU.) I was mistaken. As i brought the lights up for the next scene, i saw someone standing. There was a lot of noise. It sounded like a marching band trying to make their way down the bleachers… which was unfortunate since the very first line of that scene was “Quiet, isn’t it?”. After a few moments, i saw someone else stand and then someone sh0uted, “WE NEED LIGHTS IN HERE!!” I brought up the house lights to see everyone crowding around a seat just a few rows away from me. It was obvious there was a medical emergency underway.
LAST TIME we had a medical emergency during a production, the person was so polite that they saved their fainting until the curtain call. This woman was far more driven by her physical instincts. Another audience member was already dialing 911 and i ran to lobby to find Robert (our marketing director) dialing 911 also. I brought her a bottle of water. You know, just in case someone needed to splash it in her face.
As i approach the area, i’m told there was vomit involved. Great. A man yells out, “Can someone get a towel?!” So i take off full speed backstage to get some cleaning supplies. Not knowing the girth of vomit situation, i opt for everything: towel, washclothes, clorox wipes, and a dust pan… just in case there was scooping involved. When i returned back to the scene of crime, i found that most of the vomit was distributed over the clothing of her friend. Sucks for her… but pretty convenient for me.
The EMTs got there in record time. It must have been a slow night because there were about 6 of them. As it turns out, the woman apparently had a seizure and, although disoriented, she walked to the stretcher and was completely coheerent. So the good news is that she’ll be fine. The bad news is that i now have to clean that remaining vomit while the entire audience watches. I give the cast and crew a 5 minute call as Dennis (the director) announces to the audience that we will resume shortly.
Honestly, the idea of putting on rubber gloves never occurred to me. It’s just vomit. Unless she’s sickly and vomitting blood, it didn’t seem to be much of a danger (I later googled this and i was right), but those drunk women on the back row felt differently. As i rushed to clean the mess, i heard all sorts of judgement being tossed my way. I tried my best to ignore their comments about how unprepared i was and how disgusting it was to touch a stranger’s vomit. In a few moments, i was back in the light booth and attempting to back up this show in a smooth manner. I believe i succeeded.
The work evening may have lasted an extra 30 minutes, but i thought we handled everything just fine…. until i got home to realized i had vomit on my sleeve.