Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wasting away in Margaritaville

At a Jimmy Buffett concert in Dallas.

Monday, April 07, 2008

When dreambars become nightmares

Saturday was opening night of Doubt at the Zachary Scott. This isn’t a review of the play because I didn’t get to see it (but I hear it was good). Instead, I volunteered, which Doug and I do most opening nights. This one will stay in the memory for a long time, beating out the night the homeless guy wandered into the opening night party and started partaking of the free champagne.

The reason this opening party is memorable is because it was self catered, but not by choice. A normal opening night has volunteers running the bar before the show and at intermission, taking tickets, playing ushers, selling shirts, etc. After intermission, the volunteers help set up for the party, setting up tables, popping the cork on the champagne (Doug’s job), pouring the glasses. The food and all the goodies are set out by the caterer. Only this time, there was no caterer.

The show was short, 90 minutes and no intermission. At 8:30, the house managers were worried. By 9, they were in a panic. By 9:05 they were at Schlotzsky’s, buying goodies and sending someone to Whole Foods. We had just finished pouring 150 glasses of champagne when the first volunteer came back with brownies and lemon bars from Schlotzsky’s. Working in the semi-dark, as quietly as possible so no noise could be heard in the theatre, we unwrapped the baked goods, cutting them in fourths, just to make sure everything was bite-sized and there was enough to go around. “Who here is good at making this try look pretty?” someone asked. We all just shook our heads.

Then the head house manager came back, carrying full trays of lemon bars and dreambars. He had bought out the restaurant. In the kitchen we were frantically cutting and prepping, as the show was about to be over. “Dara’s good at cutting,” someone said and handed me a knife. I had an ooyie-gooyie, crunchy, sticky mess in front of me. One platter filled, then another, out to the table they go. Make sure the powers of be know what’s going on – the staff talking over the walkie-talkie. Where’s the meat and cheeses from Whole Foods? No matter, it’s 9:30, the show is over, the audience leaves the theatre and comes to the party. We are still in the kitchen, cutting, waiting for the rest of the goodies to arrive. I have dreambar goo on the front of my shirt. Someone walks into the kitchen, upset, wondering how the caterer forgot. The head house manager swears he tried to get through to absolutely everyone he could think of to ask. The girl goes on. Maybe it’s not my place, but I said it doesn’t matter whose fault it is now, they can worry about it later, but right now we have to focus on making the party a success.

Luckily, it was a success. None of the patrons ever knew about the catering mishap. The audience grabbed a glass of champagne and some sweets and went back into the theatre for a talk-back session. The Whole Foods stuff arrived, so there was an assortment of fruit, veggies, cheese and meat when the talk back was over. The volunteers manned the party like normal – pour wine & champagne, picking up glasses, etc. All in all, a good night and a good party, but not one any of us will want to relive in the near future.