Claire Rice’s Enemy’s List: They Can’t All Be Winners

Claire Rice mines the silver lining of someone else’s black cloud.

Sometimes it feels good to sit and ruminate on the failures of shows we didn’t participate in. This is just a fact. This is partly because it feels good to know that we aren’t the only ones who make mistakes. It is also because rehashing our own bad show stories can turn a conversation from jovial to somber. Importantly, stories like these solidify your ideas of what “good” and “well made” actually mean. Yes, in a community as small as ours it can backfire. Honestly, if you sat around bad mouthing Company X all the time, the likelihood of it getting back to Company X is high. When it does get back to them, they have every right to write you off their list and dismiss you. Of course, maybe they are sitting around talking about your shitty production photos, giggling under their breaths at your stiff poses and feeling a small sense of satisfaction that these aren’t their production photos. You never know.


So kids, let’s hit the wayback machine and get ourselves into some trouble. Let’s travel back in time to a place that was full of hope and joy. A time where it when talking about the rent wasn’t a political statement. A time before now, but not too much before.

I had been to this particular established theatre company more than a few times and I’d enjoyed what I saw more often than not. I was excited about this show because it was by a woman and it had a majority female cast. Also, it was a horror play which intrigued me because you don’t see many plays in the “Friday the 13th” vain. It had so much potential. The company was good, the actors were mostly all good, and the script had some interesting moments.

Too bad the set kept falling apart.

The set was supposed to do this neat thing where the main house set split down the middle and moved into the wing space to reveal the second set beneath. It sort of gave you the feeling that under all the sweet suburbia there was a dark underbelly. Or, it would have, if the set didn’t move on and off with any reliability.

At one point, there was a blackout that just seemed to be taking forever. But the intimacy of the theatre revealed it all. One half of the set shakily moved into position. The other half jerked and shook and bumped, but nothing happend. Suddenly the lights snapped up on half a house and half a bloody basement. A stage hand quickly ran off stage. The actress entered and tried to pretend like nothing was wrong, and then the phone rang. But, the phone was on the other side of the house. The side that was now a bloody basement. Calmly she made the only choice she could. She walked over to the phone to pick it up. It was at that point the stagehand re entered and tried to make the moving wall move again. It didn’t. In the middle of the scene the stagehand looked up and, for the briefest of moments, looked right at me. With her eyes she seemed to say “This has all gone terribly wrong. I want to go home now.” But there was no home to be had. No where to go. Suddenly the wall came loose from whatever was stopping it’s progression. It was snapped into place and the house was whole again. The actress on the phone did a wonderful job of just letting all that happen.

Sometimes stuff just doesn’t work. They can’t all be winners.